Sunday, August 24, 2008

Metamorphosis Lesson

Since the garden needs to drain for awhile - a long while, we needed to find another nature outlet to occupy the boys. Farmer B spent most of the evening yesterday digging a trench from the corner of our front yard between the two septic drainfield humps and out to our front ditch. It's surprising how fast the water is flowing through this small trench and it's really helping to lower the water level around the house. Farmer B has a sore back and blisters on his hands as a reward for doing this…and once again, I got tired just watching him. Our big fantasy is that we can walk through our back yard instead of wading though it. How your priorities can change overnight.

With all of the rain, we've got more frogs than you can imagine. And this newly-dug ditch is now home to an entire army of tadpoles. We thought it would be fun to give the boys some buckets and see if they could catch a few. Afterall, gathering buckets of tadpoles is a rite of passage for kids. You'd be hard pressed to find an adult who didn't spend at least one afternoon in their youth dipping a bucket in some nasty water to fish out a tadpole or two. So it was our turn to take the plunge. There is something about gross brown storm runoff water that doesn't appeal to me, but the boys didn't seem to mind. The boys had a good time getting dirty, as all kids do, and we now have two overflowing buckets filled with murky brown water and tadpoles. Jace always manages to find a spot that's just slightly deeper than the top of his wellies. That's a special knack of his. He was less interested in getting tadpoles than he was dumping out water over and over again.
Aidan was very serious about his catching technique. He preferred the sneak approach and then he'd slam his bucket in the water and scream "Take that, tadpoles!" Somehow he caught a small fish in his bucket too, which we cannot figure out. How we ended up with a fish swimming in our front yard storm water runoff is a mystery. There's not even a lake or river next to the house that would explain the fish. I guess it just really did rain that much.
Hopefully we'll keep some of these little guys for awhile and see if they sprout legs. We'll let them go when they get bigger to live out their froggy lives in the great outdoors. That is, if they ARE frogs. I've been reading up on tadpoles and it turns out that these might be toad tadpoles. If indeed they are toads, we can have some more residents for our Space Toad House. I read that toad tadpoles are usually small and black and frog tadpoles are larger not black. These all appear small and black, but I guess we'll have a better clue when they start to grow.
Since we're always trying to sneak learning in wherever we can, we found some great online resources for learning about tadpoles and the metamorphosis process. We'll be using all these this week with the boys while we talk about our new tadpoles.

Grow-a-Frog Learning Guide - This is a 20-page teacher's manual all about frogs and their life cycle. This is a homeschooling mom's dream lesson plan guide.

Tadpole to Frog cut-out transformation activity - Color in the parts, cut them out and you can act out the metamorphosis with your very own paper frog. Aidan colored in our frog and I cut him out. We didn't have the special clips it suggested for the frog parts, so we're just taping them on as we go. So far our frog only has a tail since we have tadpoles, but we'll soon add rear legs when they become froglets, then front legs, then we'll rip off the tail.

How to raise toads for organic gardening - How to catch a toad and make him happy in your garden.

All About Frogs - Including kids activities and coloring pages.

Frog Life Cycle coloring page - Love this!

Something Froggy- Online frog guide. This is really well done and has two different books depending on the age group of the child.

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