RTPI President Helps Lincoln Students Learn More About Frogs

Lincoln Elementary School third grade students have been learning about “freaky frogs” as part of their English Language Arts module. As a special treat, Twan Leenders, President of the Roger Tory Peterson Institute and a parent of a Lincoln third grader, Madeline, visited all third grade classrooms to give them a larger insight on frogs.

Mr. Leenders is a biologist who studies endangered plants and amphibians. He is very familiar with Poison Dart Frogs, one of the types of frogs third graders have been studying. Mr. Leenders has five different poison dart frogs living in his home, which he brought in to show the class. The reason teachers chose to discuss poison dart frogs is because an entire unit in the module focuses on this particular frog. Mr. Leenders also talked about where the poison on the frog comes from, where they live, and why they are so brightly colored.  Additionally, he talked about a local frog, the Wood Frog, and the unique adaptations of this particular frog and how scientists are still seeking answers to questions about this frog’s adaptation. Lastly, he talked to the classes about how clean air and clean water is vital for frogs to survive. He pointed out that if frogs are limited in areas, it could be a sign of pollution in that particular area.

“The students were so excited to see real life poison dart frogs up close,” said third grade teacher Mrs. Stronz.  “The students were so engaged and excited. It was especially thrilling to see them make connections from what we have learned in the texts to what Mr. Leenders was sharing in his presentation.”

For the past month and a half, third grade students have been learning about unique frogs and how these frogs, all over the world, adapt in order to survive in their habitat as part of their ELA module. Students have learned not only about how frogs adapt physically, but also how they adapt behaviorally. The module really teaches students how to become an “expert” on certain topics. It exposes students to a variety of informational texts to read closely, because experts use different resources when asking and answering questions about specific topics. 

“It is important to have someone like Mr. Leenders come into the classroom because he is an expert on frogs,” said Mrs. Stronz. “He is a biologist who wants to learn why certain types of amphibians are endangered. On a daily basis, he questions why frogs do certain things. This is what we have been encouraging our third graders to do. We want them to question things, then seek the answers, through research, to their questions. He studies the types of frogs specific to what the students have been studying and researching. It is also beneficial because he studies frogs right here in our own community, in addition to studying frogs around the world. Students enjoyed hearing about frogs that could be living in their own backyard.”

posted on 01/07/2015 - filed under: Academics, Common Core, Elementary School, Parents, Spotlight, Students, teachers