Iowa Amphibians and Authentic Data

Amphibian Week 2023 is May 7-13, 2023! Learn more about ways to celebrate Amphibian Week from Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation! Read on for ways to learn about frogs and toads in Iowa.

There are a wide variety and number of amphibians that make Iowa their home. Many of these animals are secretive and come out only at night and may not be easily observable. Amphibians found in Iowa include frogs, toads, salamanders, and newts.

Amphibians are cold-blooded, which does not mean that their blood is actually cold. Cold-blooded animals are animals that do not generate their own body heat but rather rely on the ambient temperature surrounding them (air, water, soil, etc) to regulate their body temperature. The warming weather in the spring brings these temperature-dependent herps out of their winter hibernation. (Read How do frogs survive Winter? Why don’t they freeze to death? from Scientific American) As the calm waters warm, listen for frogs and toads to sing! The month of May is a great time to learn about frogs and toads!

Frogs and Toads, Iowa Authentic Data, and Iowa Science Phenomena

With the adoption of the new NGSS-aligned Iowa Science Standards in 2015, a shift to using local and relevant data was the new way of science teaching. ICEC and Iowa PBS created resources for educators to explore authentic Iowa data.

In 2019, biologists with natural resource organizations partnered with ICEC to gather authentic data and resources for Iowa educators. Frog and toad data are the focus of the middle school grade band!

This video is an overview of the Iowa Authentic Data site contents.

On this site, you can learn about the field investigation process, engage with and explore phenomena, help your students conduct field investigations, and analyze and explore data sets adapted for specific grade bands. Check out the dedicated Iowa Authentic Data website!

Explore data sets – A critical component of science is being able to use data to explain phenomena, solve problems, and develop models. Results are organized into categories in tables, charts, graphs, maps, and/or other written forms making appropriate calculations. Populations or distributions can be estimated. Patterns and trends in the data are observed and described. Relationships are identified in the data and how these patterns identified in the data provide evidence for a conclusion or claim is described. Arguments/explanations are constructed to answer the original questions. Information is shared with others. Data in the middle school and high school grade bands focus on already collected data shared via spreadsheet.

Middle School – Authentic Data for the Classroom Google Drive Folder

In 2018, Iowa PBS created Iowa Science Phenomena — a growing collection of science phenomena resources created, curated, and collected by Iowa educators for use in the classroom. Much of the phenomena are media-based. Check out the Iowa Science Phenomena website. Here are some frog and toad phenomena to check out!

Aquatic WILD activities focused on amphibians

  • Are You Me? – match pairs of juvenile and adult aquatic animals
  • Blue Ribbon Niche – create a variety of representation of wildlife that are found in riparian zones
  • Puddle Wonders – measure and record the depth, area, and volume of puddles; look for evidence of wildlife in the puddles; graph and interpret data

Helpful Links

Cross-reference to these units:

Project WILD – Iowa Wildlife Management, Human Impacts on Wildlife

Aquatic WILD – Iowa’s Aquatic Life, Iowa’s Aquatic Ecosystems, Human Impacts