Illinois Natural History Survey - University of Illinois

Frog Metamorphosis: A Change For the Better


Objective: to introduce students to the concept of metamorphosis as practiced by frogs.

Materials: Multiple copies of Frog Metamorphosis, scissors, colored pencils or crayons, transparent tape, thread, and straws.

Vocabulary: metamorphosis, tadpole, membrane

Comments: One of the most familiar phenomena in nature is the metamorphosis of a tadpole to an adult frog. This installment of The Naturalist's Apprentice is for younger students and will allow them to explore the ephemeral world of the frog. Each spring marks an annual ritual -- male frogs sitting and singing around ponds and lakes, hoping to attract a mate. The apparent sudden appearance of long strands of jelly-like eggs in most bodies of quiet water attests to their success. Tadpoles soon break out of the jelly-like membrane of the eggs and become free-living, feeding mostly on algae and other vegetable matter in the water. A gradual yet remarkable change now begins. Hindlegs appear first, soon followed by miniature front legs. As the tadpole and its legs grow larger, its tail decreases in size. Soon, on a warm spring or early summer day, the change is nearly complete and an adult frog appears on the shore. It will spend the summer growing strong and fat, preparing for its participation in the next year's "rite of spring."


1. Introduce the activity with observations from Species Spotlight and the comments section above.

2. Distribute copies of Frog Metamorphosis. Students color the life stages of the frog, cut out each stage and fold to make a complete animal. Suggestions for coloring are provided on the sheet. The fold will give the various life stages a three-dimensional look.

3. Students use the completed cutouts to make a mobile to display the frog's life cycle. Below is a suggested design for your frog mobile.


Frog Metamorphosis

 Color and cut out the different stages of a frog's life cycle. The egg has a brown center, the tadpoles are greenish brown with reddish-black markings. The adult frog is green with a yellow stripe down its side. Its eyes are red. After cutting out the mobile parts, fold them along the dotted lines.


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Subject: INHSPUB-2144
Last Modified 3/19/96

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