Mystery of the Malformed Frogs Lesson Plan

Grade Levels: 5 - 12


Students will develop an understanding of how students and volunteers can make scientific observations that can aid conservation.



  1. Have your students read the account of the Minnesota New Country School project by Ryan Fisher, Mystery of the Malformed Frogs. Ask your students what they would have done if they had found that half of the frogs in a local pond were malformed. Would they have reported their results to anyone? If so, to whom? How might they know when their observations are important enough to report to a government agency or scientist?

  2. Explain to the students that any population will have some malformed animals, and the number of malformed individuals will vary from one population to another. Ask your students how they might go about determining whether the malformations found at the Minnesota pond were a random event or an event that needed to be investigated.

  3. Students may want to further explore the Minnesota New Country School Frog Project website, which includes an interactive page for monitoring herp malformations.
Excerpted from Hands-On Herpetology.

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