HOP TO IT!
Students will learn how a frog's strong back legs allow it to
hop long distances. Segments from two ITV programs will be used to help
students become interested in imitating the jumping behaviors of frogs.
The students will estimate the distances they can jump with two different
movements. They will jump and measure the actual distances to determine
which kind of jumping resulted in longer jumps. The students will use this
information to make second estimates and jumps. This information, as well
as their personal reactions to the comfort and ease of each type of jump,
will help students determine which kind of jumping is best for them. Although
this lesson could stand alone, it would fit nicely as the opening activity
in a science study about frogs or within a unit on measurement. This lesson
can be completed in one day.
Reading Rainbow #415: My Little Island
The Magic School Bus #105: The Magic School Bus Hops Home
Students will be able to:
- estimate the distance they will travel with two different types of
- measure the distance of the two different types of jumps using nonstandard
measurements (such as linking cubes, especially for younger students) or
standard measurements (centimeters, in most cases).
- use the information gathered from the first set of two jumps to estimate
the distance they will travel with a second round of jumps.
- use the information they have gathered to draw a conclusion about
the best type of jumping for them.
Texas Assessment of Academic Skills (TAAS), Grades K-4:
- Demonstrate an understanding of measurement concepts using metric
and customary units.
- Demonstrate an understanding of probability and statistics.
- Estimate solutions to a problem situation.
- Acquire scientific data and/or information.
- Interpret scientific data and/or information.
- Make inferences, form generalized statements, and/or make predictions
using scientific data and/or information.
if using nonstandard measure:
- diagram of a hopping frog
if using standard measure:
- linking cubes
- large paper clips
- crayons or straws
- tape measures or meter sticks
- a recording sheet
- pencil or crayon
- front legs
- back legs
Tell students that in this activity they will be moving like a certain animal
and measuring to see how well they do at moving like this animal. Ask the
students to guess what animal they will be moving like. After several students
have had the opportunity to guess, tell them that LeVar Burton was out on
a search for one of these animals in the Reading Rainbow program about the
book "My Little Island". Tell students that they should watch
carefully to determine what animal LeVar was looking for and where he would
find this animal.
Background information: Frogs are amphibians. They have backbones and their
skeletons are inside their bodies. Frogs are cold-blooded, so their body
temperature stays the same as the air or water around them. Frogs usually
have moist skin. A frog has a large mouth with a long sticky tongue that
shoots out quickly to catch prey like insects. Frogs lay eggs in the water
which hatch into tadpoles. Tadpoles go through metamorphosis, which is a
series of changes to the size, shape, and appearance of it body. Frogs have
four appendages. The two front legs are short and weak. Each front leg has
four toes and is used for balance and to land after a jump. The two back
legs are long and well developed. Each back leg has five toes and many frogs
have webbed back feet used for swimming. A frog rests with its back legs
folded so it can hop quickly to catch prey or to escape from predators.
(Information about frogs adapted from Victor, E. (1975) Science for the
Elementary School, Third Ed., New York: Macmillan Publishing, p. 524-525.)
In this lesson, it is important that students learn how to jump safely and
use this information during the jumping activity to prevent injuries. Demonstrate
and explain the appropriate ways to jump carefully to the students.
Frog jump: The student will squat, with hands on the floor in front of the
feet. The student will jump a short distance and land on the hands and feet
simultaneously. The hands and arms absorb part of the landing impact to
prevent excessive strain on the knees. The students should be frequently
encouraged to consider personal estimates and actual measures in order to
discourage aspects of competition in jumping.
Standing jump: The student will bend legs at knees, jump by taking off with
both feet, swing arms forward upon takeoff, and will land on both feet.
The arms help with an upswing and the movement of the body combined with
the force of the feet helps lift the weight. A jumper lands lightly on the
balls of the feet with the knees bent. (Information adapted from Dauer,
V. P. & Pangrazi. (1989). Dynamic Physical Education For Elementary
School Children. New York: Macmillan, p. 281, 282, 448.)
Segments from two ITV programs are used in this lesson. Reading Rainbow
is used as an anticipatory set to create interest in frogs. The Magic School
Bus segment is used to help students focus on how frogs can jump. Since
one of the purposes of using the first video is to discover the animal and
what it can do, there are no pre-viewing activities.
CUE the Reading Rainbow video to the point after the
book reading segment and LeVar has been to a market to examine fruits and
vegetables on sale there. BEGIN the video as LeVar says, "Some
of the fruit here is pretty wild. But it's not only the wild life here on
Monserrat. Meet me tonight up in the mountains and I'll show you what I
mean." PAUSE after LeVar says, "Ssh! We're out here trying
to catch mountain chickens. You gotta be quick. But they're usually quicker."
Ask, "Where is LeVar?" (in the mountains, a place with lots of
trees, dark) Ask, "What is LeVar looking for?" (mountain chickens)
Ask, "What do you think mountain chickens are?" (Students may
make various guesses such as birds or chickens.)
Tell students to watch the next segment to see if they find a mountain chicken.
RESUME the video to continue as LeVar and his guide are prowling
in the dark. PAUSE as the hand reaches down before it picks up the
frog. Ask, "Do you think they found something?" (yes) Ask, "What
might he have found?" (a mountain chicken, a frog, others) Ask, "Why
might it be hard to spot the mountain chicken?" (too dark, animal is
camouflaged, its color makes it hard to see)
Tell students to watch the next segment to see what he caught. RESUME
video and PAUSE where guide picks up frog and says, "LeVar,
I got one. Come, you see it." Ask, "What did he catch?" (a
mountain chicken, a frog)Tell students to watch the next segment to see
if the frog is really a mountain chicken. RESUME video to continue
through the examination of the frog's back. PAUSE where LeVar says,
"One of the reasons they're so difficult to catch." Ask, "Is
it a mountain chicken? (yes) Why do you think they call it that? (it lives
in the mountains, people like to eat frogs' legs, some people say it tastes
like chicken) [Note: These points are not discussed in the video, so the
teacher may need to discuss these ideas with the students.]
Ask, "What is special about this frog?" (the eyes look fluorescent-
they glow, the mouth can expand like a balloon to make sounds, the color
of its back makes it hard to see)
Tell students the frog's legs help it to do something special. Tell students
to watch the next segment to see what else is special about its legs. RESUME
the video. PAUSE after LeVar says, "Stay right there, you guy."
Ask, "What are the frog's legs like? (long, strong, funny toes) What
can the frog do? (jump far) How can the frog jump far? (strong legs push
him) How did LeVar say the frog felt? (slippery) Why do you think the frog
felt slippery? (he was wet, rain, frogs like to be wet) What did LeVar say
the toes look like?" (twigs from a tree)
Tell students that LeVar is going to put the frog down. Ask, "What
do you think the frog will do?" (jump, hop away) Tell students to watch
the next segment to see what the frog will do. RESUME the video.
STOP the video where LeVar puts the frog on the ground and says,
"There you go, guy." and the frog sits on the ground. Ask, "What
did the frog do? (sat on the ground) Why do you think he didn't hop away?
(he was scared, he was trying to hide)
What do you think of when someone mentions frogs? Jumping, of course. But
how far can a frog jump? Tell students to think about how far frogs can
jump as they watch a segment of The Magic School Bus Hops Home. EJECT
the Reading Rainbow video and INSERT The Magic School Bus
Tell students to watch the first segment to see what the problem is. BEGIN
The Magic School Bus video with the first appearance of the Magic School
Bus. PAUSE after the bus shrinks and the cat first appears. Ask,
"What is the problem? (the frog is missing) How will they find the
missing frog? (by acting like a frog) What does the bus do? (turns into
a frog, it shrinks, gets smaller) How big is the bus when it shrinks?"
(about the size of a frog)
Tell students to watch to see how they will know where to go. RESUME
video to continue as bus hops. PAUSEwhere Ralphie says, "Ms.
Frizzle, do we have to hop?" Ask, "What did the bus hop over?
(a fence) Do you think a frog could hop over a fence like that? (yes) Where
might Bella the frog have gone? (to find food) What kind of food did they
say Bella would like? (bugs) Where might they go to find bugs?" (outside,
FAST FORWARD until the cat begins to stalk the bus. Tell students
to watch the next segment to see where the bus goes. RESUME video
and continue as the bus jumps into a tree. PAUSE as Carlos says,
"It's just a little mishap." Ask, "Where did the bus hop?
(into a tree) Do you think a frog could really hop that far?" (It's
pretty high, but some frogs live in trees.)
FAST FORWARD past the jump out of the tree, past the fast moving
water, past the heron and STOP the video where the beavers build
a dam. Tell students to watch the next segment to see if Bella is there.
RESUME video and continue as it shows the heron stalking the frog.
PAUSE when the empty lily pad is shown and the children call, "Wanda!"
Ask, "Where was Bella? (in a beaver pond) Why was she there? (slow
moving water, food) Why did the frog disappear? (a heron was coming) What
did the heron want? (to eat the frog) How did the frog get away from the
heron?" (it hopped away)Tell students to watch the next segment to
see if Bella and Wanda are OK. RESUME video. STOP the video
after Ms. Frizzle says, "They're all part of the same food chain."
Ask, "Why is the beaver pond a good place for Bella the frog to live?
(It has food, slow moving water to swim in and lay eggs in, and space to
hop.) What would the frog like to eat? (bugs) What did the frog do to catch
a bug?" (hopped)
Could we really shrink to be as little as a frog? No, it's not
possible. But we can imagine that we can hop like a frog. They will see
if they can jump better on four legs like a frog or on two legs like a person.
Explain to the students that they will hop or jump in two different ways.
One way will be more like the way a frog hops. Describe and model how to
do a frog jump. (See explanation in background information section.) Then
describe and model how to do a standing jump like a person might do. (See
explanation in background information section.) Which way do the students
think will make a longer jump? It is beneficial for students to have some
points of reference about the measurements they will be using in the activity.
For younger students, nonstandard measurement with materials such as linking
cubes or large paper clips is an appropriate measurement tool. Show the
students the materials they will use. About how long is one unit? About
how long are ten units? Let students compare 1 unit, 10 units, and 100 units
to things they know, such as parts of their bodies. A similar process should
be followed if using standard measurements. Ask students to examine the
tape measure and find a part of their hand which is about one centimeter.
The width of a pinky, for example, is usually about one centimeter. Now
ask students to use their hands to estimate the length of 10 centimeters.
Young students may find they can open their fingers just a bit to get a
hand spread which will match 10 centimeters on the tape measure. Then ask
students to estimate and check on 100 centimeters on the tape measure. Children
may relate this to the span of both arms stretched wide or to the length
of a table or desk. Now that the students have some general ideas about
the length of 1, 10, and 100 centimeters, they are ready to estimate. Each
student should use a recording sheet (see attachment) to write an estimate
for the distance he or she will travel with one frog jump and with one long
jump. You may wish to use an overhead transparency of the recording sheet
to demonstrate to students how to write their estimates. Emphasize that
estimates are only guesses at this point and that we are not concerned about
correctness. You might have the students write their estimates with crayons
to discourage them from wanting to change the estimates after they do the
actual jumping. After all students have made estimates for the distance
they will go with each jump, the group is ready to begin. Identify the starting
line and have each student do the frog jump. After jumping, each student
should write the distance under "actual distance". Then have each
student do the long jump and write the distance under "actual distance".
When the actual distances are written on the recording sheet, the differences
between the estimates and the actual measurements need to be determined.
Calculators may be used for this. Students should now be asked to reflect
upon their experiences in doing the activity the first time. Allow for about
two minutes to reflect quietly. Ask students to use the information they
found to make a second round of estimates on the bottom half of the recording
sheet. After each of the members of the group has written estimates, the
group is ready to complete the activity a second time with a new round of
jumping and finding the differences between estimates and actual distances.
Ask students to put a star by the kind of jump which took them farther.
Then ask the students to put a happy face by the kind of jump which was
easier. Have the students use this information to determine which type of
jump was best for them. Make a graph of the choices made by the students.
Which type of jump was chosen more often? Ask students why they think this
The students can use the Internet to access the Froggy Page
at Yale University through http://www.cs.yale.edu/homes/sjl/froggy.html.
Have the students use telecommunications to communicate the results of their
jumping experiment and encourage others to try and send their results.Have
students research to determine if any types of frogs are on the endangered
species list. Why would these frogs be endangered? What can people do to
Science: Bullfrogs eat bugs and herons eat bullfrogs. Frogs
are part of a food chain. Have students research and create a picture to
show the food chain mentioned briefly in The Magic School Bus Hops Home.
Writing: Create a word web to tell about frogs. Ask students to think of
things they know about frogs. This information could come from the video
or from their own knowledge and experiences. You may wish to collect the
information about frogs by writing a web such as this on the blackboard
or on a chart. This information can be used by students to write about frogs.
Mathematics: Have the students use a bar graph to compare the actual results
of their best of each of the two types of jumps. Ask students to examine
the graphs to help them make judgments about these two types of jumping.
What other kinds of jumps might children make? Have the students determine
another kind of jump and estimate, jump, record, graph, and compare these
results to those from the first two types. What does this new information
help us to understand about jumping?
Health: Jumping can be good exercise. Have students experiment with other
types of jumps, such as the long jump or the triple jump. Which kind of
jump helps students jump farther?
Click here to view the
worksheet associated with this lesson.
NOTE TO TEACHER
For the english learner: The student who is learning English as a Second Language
will benefit from the active demonstration and practice of vocabulary in
the lesson. As the students participate in the activity, be sure to emphasize
the words which tell what they are doing, such as squat, jump, hop, and
land. Also be sure to emphasize the names of the parts of the body used
for jumping, including hands, arms, feet, knees, and legs. These words may
be printed on word cards to help the student connect the spoken word with
the written word. Students will have the opportunity to use mathematical
vocabulary, such as estimate, distance
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