Wednesday, March 14, 2018

The Rest of the Reptiles ... and Amphibians

Lesson 11 of Apologia's Exploring Creation with Zoology 3: Land Animals of the Sixth Day by Jeannie Fulbright is entitled, "The Rest of the Reptiles ... and Amphibians."  We had a lot of fun with this one!  Bear with me as this post is long.
Before we dive into the new stuff, let me share some things we have done in the past with the critters from this lesson.  I like to include these ideas for any of you with younger siblings or to give you extra ideas in your own study.  I have included the links to these posts, too.

Years ago, when we were in the "Forest Friends" program at the Louise Kreher Forest Ecology Preserve in Auburn, Alabama, we studied turtles and made these little rock turtles.  Using heavy glue, a large stone, Popsicle sticks, googly eyes, and paint, we put it all together to make a sweet, little tortoise.  I think we had ours on the back doorstep for a while.  (That link can be found at
We also have done a book study before of Roald Dahl's The Enormous Crocodile.  This is a hilarious read and Maggie loves it!  (The following 8 photos and more instructions can be found at our post at visit it.  There are plenty of more suggestions there for studying these interesting reptiles.)
For this study, we had a great time writing about the enormous crocodile's clever tricks with this fun writing prompt.  Put together, we were able to construct our own enormous crocodile.
Then, we used a grow-your-own critter to make another "enormous crocodile."  First, we measured him as a baby.
Into the water he went!
After some time, we measured him again.
Before long, we had another enormous crocodile!
Finally with this book study, we made a little paper croc from a free printable we found online.  Here is a regular-sized croc face ...
... and an enormous one!
We have also studied frogs extensively.  In our Five in a Row (FIAR) book study of Andy and the Circus, we studied the life cycle of frogs (at  The following three photos are from that study.
Another time, we did a little frog study with some friends (at and made a frog craft and had a super cute frog snack.  
We made "Froggy Fly Traps" using green paper plates , a stapler, colored foam pieces, and glue.  Once done, you could stick your hand into the center (the top jaw) and under the bottom jaw and open and close the frog's mouth.
We made little flies out of paper clips and black crepe paper.
Opening and closing our frogs' jaws, we were able to catch the paperclip flies.  Fun!
For a fun snack, I had made these little green apple frogs with green grapes for feet, and cream cheese and M&Ms eyes.  Placed on another green plate, cut to look like a lily pad, it was a neat treat!
Numerous times, my adventurous husband has brought home amphibians for Maggie to observe and care for.  I have gotten used to this.  I posted about one of those times at
We didn't keep these guys.  We only observed them and then put them back in the creek where they were found.
But we have kept plenty of tadpoles, releasing them when their legs grew in.  This little tank has seen it all!
Another awesome book study we did with our Five in a Row (FIAR) series was The Salamander Room by Anne Mazer.  (That post can be found at
With that study, we made this awesome "Salamander" acrostic poem ...
... (I just love her drawing!) ...
... as well as little salamander biscuits for lunch.  (There's a hot dog hidden in there!)
They turned out so cute!
Served on a green plate, it made for a fun lunch!
We then made salt dough salamanders for a habitat diorama we decided to put together.  Here are our salamanders, freshly painted and drying.
While they dried, Maggie and her Daddy worked on their habitat.  Spanish moss and glue sure make for messy fingers!
Once done, she was so proud of her salamander habitat!
It's still on one of our classroom shelves today!
And the last photo from that post shows this sweet, little tiger salamander we observed at the Flint Riverquarium in Albany, Georgia.  Isn't he cute??
So, now onto the new stuff!

Day 1

After reading in our text about orders Testudines (the turtles, tortoises, and terrapins) and Crocodilia (the alligators, caimans, gavials, and crocodiles),  we colored the pages in our notebooking journal.
While Maggie colored, she watched the second episode of the Life series (by BBC Earth) on Netflix, entitled, "Reptiles and Amphibians" (48 minutes long).  She loves these shows!

Day 2

We started Day 2 of this study reading Mossy by Jan Brett.
Then we filled out the first page of the "Fascinating Facts," about reptiles, in our notebooking journal.  From there, we continued reading in our textbook, about crocodilians.
There is so much good children's literature out there about crocodiles!  We enjoyed a few, including "The Crocodile's Toothache" poem by Shel Silverstein (below) ...
... "The Crocodile" poem out of Roald Dahl's Dirty Beasts ...
 ... Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile by Bernard Waber ...
... and Lovable Lyle, also by Bernard Waber.
After the stories, we read more in the text (getting into amphibians) and called it a day.

Day 3

We started Day 3 by reading Zoobooks: Alligators & Crocodiles (from July/August 2016) ...
... Would you rather be a Pollywog? All About Pond Life by Bonnie Worth ...
... and Fantastic Frogs by Penelope Arlon.
Later, after some reading from the text, we completed the tree frog picture out of our Paint by Sticker: Kids: Zoo Animals sticker book.
These go in our journal, too.

Day 4

To start off Day 4 of our study of this lesson, we read about glass frogs in the August 2015 issue of Ranger Rick magazine.  We were amazed to learn that there are over 150 species of glass frogs!
We then read about giant salamanders in the March 2015 issue of Ranger Rick, the world's largest amphibians, which can grow to nearly five feet in length!  We learned that the large males are called "den masters"  because they guard the den of eggs females lay until they hatch, about three months.
After our reading, we completed the "Fascinating Facts" for amphibians in our journal ...
 ... as well as the Venn diagram, comparing and contrasting reptiles and amphibians.
 Next, we mapped our critters from Lesson 11 onto our world map (which I'm surprised hasn't fallen off the wall yet - LOL!) ...
... and added some tracks for these animals into our notebooking journal.
For a field trip to accompany this lesson, we decided to check out the reptiles and amphibians at Oxbow Meadows on Fort Benning, Georgia.  (Their website is at
Typically when we have visited a place like this for a field trip, I have given Maggie a scavenger hunt sheet to complete, but I decided to give her something a bit different this time, something more challenging.  I asked her to pick five species we saw at Oxbow Meadows and do the following:
  1. Take its picture;
  2. Write its common name;
  3. Write its scientific name;
  4. Write a description of that animal;
  5. Write about its breeding patterns; and
  6. Write about its habitat.
She would provide this information on the following sheets I made on my computer.  (Click on the images themselves to see them larger.)
We were ready to see some reptiles and amphibians!
 The first one we spotted was this handsome American bullfrog!
 And here is a critter from Lesson 10!
 Their common snapping turtle was very shy, hiding behind his poster.
I was able to snap a picture of his snout ...
 ... and his rearend!  😂
 They also had green tree frogs ...
 ... and a three-toed box turtle, who was not feeling too social.
 This guy was ready for his candid, though!
 And this proud fellow kept hissing and growling at us!  He was funny.
After Mags made her five species picks, she used our Audubon field guide to finish her report.
My little researcher!  💓
She did a great job on this.

Day 5

It was time to continue documenting in our journal all that we had learned about these animals.
 I encourage you to jazz up your pages with fun stickers!  Maggie loves this!

Day 6

On our last day studying this lesson, we finished our journal activities.
I love the minibooks!
Finally, we wrapped by completing the review questions for Lesson 11 from CurrClick.  These review pages always get added to our journal, too.
Many of the animals we learned about in Lesson 11 we saw at our field trip to the Flint Riverquarium in Albany, Georgia that we visited for Lesson 10.  If you are near it, it might be a great place to see some of these testudines, crocodilians, and amphibians!  Here are some of those pictures again.
Next to a sleeping alligator snapping turtle!
Maggie is convinced now after these two lessons that she wants to be a herpetologist!  I just love how she treasures these lessons!  Next up?  Lesson 12, "Dinosaurs."  Check back sometime next week for that post.  Until then, hang tight!

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