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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.
ITV Series
Reading Rainbow #415: My Little Island
The Magic School Bus #105: The Magic School Bus Hops Home
Learning Objectives
Students will be able to:
Per class:
if using nonstandard measure:
if using standard measure:
Per student:
Pre-Viewing Activities

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.)
Focus Viewing

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.

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 video.
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, backyard, pond)
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)
Post-Viewing Activities
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 is so?
Action Plan
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 change this?
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.


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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