Science - 4th Grade
Standard 5 Objective 4
This activity will help students compare and contrast the behavior and structure of amphibians and reptiles of Utah.
Amphibians are a group of cold-blooded animals that include frogs, toads, newts and salamanders. They typically spend part of their life in water, part on land. They are distinct from reptiles in that their eggs must be laid in moist conditions and that their soft moist skins have no scales. The skin is slippery because there are special glands that produce mucus. This helps keep the very thin skin from losing too much water. This is one adaptation that allows amphibians to live even in very dry deserts. The larvae usually live in the water while the adults live on the land and are generally four-legged and carnivorous.
Reptiles, on the other hand, have dry, scaly skin. They breathe through their lungs. They are also cold-blooded. Most reptiles lay eggs, although certain snakes and lizards keep the eggs in their bodies until the young hatch. They are born live. Most reptiles live by eating other animals.
17 different kinds of amphibians can be found in Utah. There are eight toads, eight frogs (two which are not native) and only one salamander. When it comes to reptiles, however, the list is long! For a specific list of reptiles found in Utah, go to the website listed in resources.
This objective lesson is to help students compare and contrast the behavior and structure of amphibians and reptiles of Utah. Help students learn all about these vertebrates while narrowing their focus to the species found in Utah. The Division of Wildlife Resources website will be an important resource for them to access, both from information as well as colorful pictures of all these animals. The question chart activity will also reinforce Language Arts standards having children organize and report information.
1. Use science process and thinking skills
2. Manifest scientific attitudes and interests
4. Communicate effectively using science language and reasoning
Invitation to Learn
Construct a web using the two kinds of animals. Web the characteristics that class members name for each group. (At the end of the activity, add those characteristics that students discovered during their research which were not included.)
Structure and Summary of Behavior Questions List
Fine Arts/Visual Arts-
Homework and Family Connections
Have students find out if any family members have had experiences with either amphibians or reptiles, good or bad. What did they learn from these? Review the guidelines for behavior when finding one of these animals. Many students try to catch lizards and bring them home to keep as "pets." Encourage all students to enjoy such animals where they are and then leave them there. Discuss the importance of keeping a safe distance from snakes.