Frog or Toad? How Can You Tell?

Frog or Toad? How Can You Tell? lesson plan

What is that hopping creature? Learn about these two fascinating amphibians while comparing and contrasting their attributes.

  • 1.

    What are the differences between frogs and toads? How are they the same? Different? Work in two teams to find out more. One team researches frogs while the other investigates toads. Use Crayola Colored Pencils to take notes and make sketches about what you learn. Look closely at photographs (or, if possible, real frogs and real toads) to see physical features. Find out about their internal body structures, habitats, life cycles, breeding habits, and how they eat, move, and survive.

  • 2.

    Turn your research into a list of words and phrases describing your amphibian. Use Crayola Dry-Erase Markers to make a colorful list on a dry- erase board. Write the name of your amphibian at the top of your list.

  • 3.

    Next use dry-erase markers to make a duplicate list of the same attributes, but this time write the name of the other team’s amphibian at the top of the list.

  • 4.

    Now trade lists. The frog team will work with the toad team’s "frog" list of toad attributes. And the toad team will work with the frog team’s "toad" list of frog attributes. First erase all of the things on the list that you know for sure do not apply to your animal. Your team might have to do additional research to find out whether an attribute is or is not true about your amphibian. Make changes to the words and phrases on the list so it more accurately describes your amphibian.

  • 5.

    When both teams finish "correcting" the lists of attributes, compare all of the lists. What do frogs and toads have in common? What differences do you notice? What surprised you?


  • LA: Read with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension.
  • LA: Read and comprehend informational texts, including history/social studies, science, and technical texts, at the high end of the grade level text complexity band independently and proficiently.
  • LA: Participate in collaborative conversations with diverse partners about grade level topics and texts with peers and adults in small and larger groups.
  • LA: Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases based on grade 5 reading and content, choosing flexibly from a range of strategies.
  • LA: Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development and organization are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
  • LA: Report on a topic or text, tell a story, or recount an experience with appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details, speaking clearly at an understandable pace.
  • SCI: Construct an argument that plants and animals have internal and external structures that function to support survival, growth, behavior, and reproduction.
  • SCI: Construct an argument with evidence that in a particular habitat some organisms can survive well, some survive less well, and some cannot survive at all.
  • VA: Select and use the qualities of structures and functions of art to improve communication of ideas.


  • Students may repeat this activity in small groups, comparing other similar animals such as alligators and crocodiles; butterflies and moths; birds and bats; hippopotamuses and rhinoceroses; or cheetahs, leopards, and jaguars.
  • Invite a local expert on the environment to visit with the class to discuss changing habitats, especially amphibian habitats in the region. Encourage students to pose questions focused on human impact and how they can help with improving amphibian habitats.
  • Encourage students to investigate a species of frog that is currently on the endangered species list. Students trace the history of the frog's demise, looking at shifts in habitats, food sources, mating, etc. Create a 3-D model of the species using Crayola Model Magic. Organize research into a one-paragraph summary. Display the 3-D model and writing in the classroom for student viewing.
  • Students collaborate to create frog-friendly posters that provide simple steps humans can take to ensure the survival of these amphibians. Encourage students to be creating in their poster writing, formulating a catchy phrase to attract attention.