Sunday, June 2, 2013

Frog Lady

My students and I have decided to raise frogs as part of our life cycle unit. Instead of doing the easy thing and buying 2 dwarf frogs that stay little and you feed once a week. NO. I thought it would be more fun to order an entire Life Cycle kit from a company called Grow-A-Frog. After a ton of research I realized you cannot just go into a pond and pick out some tadpoles and watch them morph and then throw them back into nature. Apparently that can cause a whole lot of chaos in the frog ecosystem.  So instead Grow-A-Frogs are completely aquatic frogs and never have to be released in nature. You raise them in an aquarium much like fish.

While all that is fine and dandy, I have never been much of a nature girl. In fact, I purposely stay out of lake water because snakes might be there. I avoid nature and amphibians at all costs.  So the thought of raising frogs was actually quite scary to me.  But, I knew my students would love to see the tadpoles morph into froglets.

The Life Cycle kit includes each stage of the metamorphosis. So we received 4 tadpoles (they are clear so you can see their hearts beating, very cool!), 2 tadpoles with hind legs, 2 tadpoles with 4 legs and 2 baby frogs or "froglets."

They happened to arrive on a day that our entire school was on a field trip. Luckily someone in the office signed for them and brought them safely to my classroom. But, when I got back to school I was a little underprepared for what to do with all of these living things.

They came with very specific instructions and the kit included everything we would need to raise them form habitats to food.  But, they can only live in spring water, not tap. Fortunately I had read about that and had 2 gallons of spring water on hand to set up their new homes. Isabella "helped" me get them all set up after school. It took us over an hour! I only made one mistake. I accidentally put a tadpole with only hind legs in with a tadpole with four limbs. This is apparently a no-no. So I recruited a teacher that was still in the building to help me transfer them to the right tanks. I was too nervous to try on my own, fearing it would leap out and die!

Once everyone was set up, I fed them and left.

The next morning there was a buzz of excitement in the room when my students arrived!
They couldn't wait to see the frogs and names them and feed them.  We did a lot of observation. We read books about frogs, we wore about frogs. It is turning out to be a wonderful Unit of study! and so much fun!

It has been over a week now and we are becoming quite attached to the little ones.
They arrived in our classroom 3 days before Memorial Day weekend. I felt concerned to leave them unattended for a long weekend so I packed all 10 up and took them home.
By the end of the weekend, my living room smelled a bit "swampy."  But, my children and I had grown to really care for these frogs.  And 2 tapeless had completed their morph into froglets! So I returned to school with 4 baby frogs instead of 2!

Junie is the one in front, Francesca is the smaller one.
They really are so very cute! My students, my own kids and even ex-Hubby have had a turn naming our little ones.  Our original froglets are Francesca and Junie. They are my favorite. Junie is turning out to be quite a chubby one, love her! She is super active and keeps us entertained with her swimming and jumping. And she loves her food!
The newly morphed ones are Robin and Kermit.  The ones with only hind legs are Cutie Face and Prickles.  Our tadpoles are George and Sweetie.

It is really hard not to love them. The tadpoles are little boring, but the froglets are very entertaining. Although my co-teacher may disagree! She thinks this project is a bit nutty. And she really does not love the fact that you should recycle the dirty frog poop water, so I water  our classroom plants with it! Poor Ms. E, she did not sign up for tending to swamp creatures. Thankfully she is  a very good natured person and she is trying really hard to appreciate this endeavor!

I really can't believe how much I am enjoying this. I thought I would be prettified to touch them. Especially since I am afraid of the 2 fish we have at home and almost never change their water.  But, the frog habitats come with covers so to clean their water is very simple. I just pour it out the holes on top and do not have to lift the frog into separate containers. So simple and alleviates the fear of the frogs jumping out at me.

They require a bit of upkeep.  The tadpoles eat only once per day. But, the froglets need to eat twice a day. And all the tanks need a 1/4  water change every few days. And they get very stinky!
A weekend feels like a long time to leave them alone, especially when it is so hot out. So I brought them home again this weekend. And I spent part of yesterday afternoon at the pet store chatting with a staff member that raises frogs. He started off with a Grow-A-Frog and still has it 5 years later. He said they are fairly easy to raise, but do get pretty big. Apparently very soon, they will need a 10 gallon tank to live in.

I found a video on you tube of a guy feeding his frog and it is huge! It freaked out my kids, now they don't want to me keep the frogs at our house.

 I have read that Grow-A-Frogs, which are actually African Clawed Frogs, can live anywhere from 5-25 years! So you see the dilemma of raising 10 tadpoles, that means eventually we will have 10 frogs.

Well...I had to enlist the help of other teachers in my building.

My daughter's Pre-K class took 2 of the tadpoles, our 2nd Grade took 2 with hind legs and our 3rd Grade will eventually receive 2 froglets.  Fortunately, we have awesome teachers at our school!
They are excited about this project and willing to adopt baby frogs.

Raising anything that lives truly takes a village.


  1. That is so amazingly cool! I love how now the whole school is involved. You must update on those cute little guys. I would love to see more pics of them as they grow. What fun for your students and your kids. You're an awesome teacher for putting all that thought and effort into it. =D

  2. Thanks Jo-Anne, we are having a lot of fun watching these little frogs grow! I have to figure out a way to get better pics of them, the flash is ruining the ones i have been taking. But, i will definitely post more soon :)