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Scientists Breed See-Through Frogs




Arts & Humanities
--Language Arts


--Life Sciences
--Process Skills

Social Studies
--Current Events


Grades 2-up

News Content

Why in the world would scientists want to breed see-through frogs?

Anticipation Guide

Write the headline of todays News for Kids article -- Scientists Breed See-Through Frogs -- on a board or chart. Explain to students that this is the headline of todays news article. Ask students: Why in the world, do you think, might scientists want to breed see-through frogs? Write students responses under the headline. Doing this anticipation activity" will set a purpose for reading.

News Words

Next, introduce these words that appear in the News Word Box on the students printable page: university, female, tadpole, organs, research, dissect, experiment, breed, and bred. Discuss the meanings of any of the words that might be unfamiliar to students. Then ask students to use one of the words to complete each of these sentences:

  • Our neighbors have decided to _____ thoroughbred horses on their farm. (breed)
  • The heart, liver, and lungs are three of our bodies _____. (organs)
  • Toms cat gave birth to four kittens -- three male and one _____. (female)
  • Pauly has to go to the library to do some _____ about the causes of World War I. (research)
  • Scientists planned to _____ the animal to learn the cause of its death. (dissect)
  • The Browns new puppy is a pure-_____ collie. (bred)
  • At the _____, Gretchen will study to be a veterinarian. (university)
  • Each spring, we can see thousands of little _____ swimming along the shore of the pond. (tadpoles)
  • Scientists hope their _____ will reveal the reasons why the corn crop failed. (experiment or research)

    Read the News

    Click for a printable version of this weeks news story Scientists Breed See-Through Frogs.

    You might use a variety of approaches to reading the news:

  • Read aloud the news story to students as they follow along.

  • Students might first read the news story to themselves; then you might call on individual students to read sections of the news aloud for the class.

  • Photocopy the news story onto a transparency and project it onto a screen. (Or use your classroom computer's projector to project the story.) Read the story aloud as a class, or ask students to take turns reading it.

  • Arrange students into small groups. Each student in the group will read a paragraph of the story. As that student reads, others might underline important information or write notes in the margin of the story. After each student finishes reading, others in the group might say something -- a comment, a question, a clarification -- about the text.
  • More Facts to Share

    This video of the scientist and the see-through frogs from the National Geographic Web site will provide students a visual glimpse into this story. If you are unable to share the video, you might print out and share a color copy of this photo of one of the transparent frogs.

    In addition, you might share these facts with students after they have read this weeks news story.

  • Professor Masayuki Sumida, an amphibian specialist, led the team of scientists at Hiroshima (Japan) University that developed the transparent-skinned frogs. Sumida hopes the frogs will become widely used in scientific research.
  • The frogs Sumida and his team used were a species commonly known as Japanese brown frogs.
  • Sumida and his team knew that some Japanese brown frogs carried recessive genes that resulted in pale skin. Their goal was to mate frogs that carried those genes in order to produce transparent offspring. The offspring looked normal due to the presence of dominant genes, but crossing the offspring led to hatching some tadpoles with transparent skin.
  • There is still a small amount of yellow pigment in the skin of the transparent frogs the team produced, so they will continue working to try to breed it out.
  • Will this breeding experiment lead someday to transparent mice or humans? Sumida says the methods he and his team used would not work with mammals because a frogs skin is very different from mammalian skin.
  • Scientists say the transparent glass frog of Central and South America is on its way to extinction. The problem is twofold: the frogs habitat is being destroyed and a fungus is harming many amphibians in the area where it lives.

    Comprehension Check

    Revisit the Anticipation Guide at the top of this lesson; ask students to respond again to the question you posed. (Why in the world, do you think, might scientists want to breed see-through frogs?) Now that they have read the news, they should be able to share that scientists hope to breed the see-through frogs so they

  • can use the frogs in their experiments;
  • might not have to dissect frogs in the future; and
  • can learn more about how tadpoles organs develop as they grow into frogs.
  • Accept additional thoughtful responses.

    You might follow-up that activity by asking some of these questions:

    Recalling Detail

  • What are some of the things scientists can do with a see-through frog that they cant do with a colored frog? (They can see its heart beating and blood pumping. They can see eggs inside a female frogs body. They can observe how organs change as tadpoles grow into frogs.)
  • Why do scientists sometimes dissect frogs? (to learn the results of their experiments, to learn about/study frogs organs, or to determine why a frog has died)
  • Why does it take so long to breed a see-through frog? (Scientists must breed many frogs to get a large number of frogs with see-through skin; only one in 16 frogs will be a see-through frog.)
  • In which country did scientists breed see-through frogs? (Japan)
  • Where in the world might you see-through glass frogs in their natural habitat? (in Central and South America)

    Think About the News
    Discuss the Think About the News question that appears on the students news page. Students might share how mating dogs and cats of different breeds can result in puppies and kittens that might look different from the adults that bred them. They might share how people breed" together different roses and other flowers to create new species.

    Follow-Up Activities

    Language arts -- present and past tense of verbs. Ask students to fill in the blank in each of these sentence with the word breed or bred.

  • Long ago, people _____ (bred) Yorkshire terriers to catch mice in coal mines and castles.
  • What dog _____ (breed) is best suited for your family?
  • That _____ (breed)of cow is called a Holstein.
  • A well-_____ (bred)dog will get along with people.
  • That _____ (breed) of cat was _____ (bred) to be playful and good with children. It is very easy to form the past tense of many verbs. Often, that is done by adding the suffix -ed to a verb. For example, the past tense of the verb jump is jumped. When a word ends in a silent e, the e is dropped before adding -ed. For example, the past tense of the verb live is lived. But some verbs are irregular verbs. The past tense of irregular verbs is not formed by adding ed. The verb breed is a good example; the past-tense form is bred. Write the following verbs on a board or chart. Ask students to identify the past tense (shown in parentheses) of each verb. bring (brought); write (wrote or written); buy (bought); fight ( fought); pay (paid); shake (shook or shaken); catch (caught); dig (dug); teach (taught); eat (ate or eaten); fall (fell or fallen); draw (drew); give (gave or given); begin (began or begun); hide (hid or hidden); keep (kept); leave (left); find (found); make (made); read (read); feel (felt); see (saw or seen); build (built); sleep (slept); wear (wore or worn); understand (understood); bite (bit or bitten).

    Science -- the frog life cycle. If you teach young students, print out and have students color by Steven Kellogg.

    Mathematics. Many species of frogs can jump ten times the length of their bodies. Have students work in pairs or small groups to measure their classmates. Then have them do the math to figure out how far each person might jump if he/she had a frogs abilities. If you teach young students, you might have them cut a piece of string to match the length of their bodies. Then they might use chalk to mark on a sidewalk or asphalt play area a length that is ten lengths of their strings.

    Language arts and geography (location, physical features, environment). Have students color a copy of this frog coloring page. Then have students write a letter from Freddy the Frog" [or a name they choose] to a friend or family member who lives out of state. The picture should be included with the letter, which should ask the friend or family member to send to Freddy a postcard that shows the environment at their location. As the postcards arrive, post them on a bulletin board. Talk with students about the physical features seen in the environmental postcards. Extend yarn from each picture card to the location on the map from which it comes.


    Use the Comprehension Check (above) as an assessment. Or have students work on their own (in their journals) or in their small groups to respond to the Think About the News question on the news story page.

    Lesson Plan Source

    Education World

    National Standards

    National Standards

    LANGUAGE ARTS: English
    GRADES K - 12
    NL-ENG.K-12.2 Reading for Understanding
    NL-ENG.K-12.12 Applying Language Skills

    MATHEMATICS: Measurement
    GRADES Pre-K - 2
    NM-MEA.PK-2.1 Understand Measurable Attributes of Objects and the Units, Systems, and Processes of Measurement
    NM-MEA.PK-2.2 Apply Appropriate Techniques, Tools, and Formulas to Determine Measurements
    GRADES 3 - 5
    NM-MEA.3-5.1 Understand Measurable Attributes of Objects and the Units, Systems, and Processes of Measurement
    NM-MEA.3-5.2 Apply Appropriate Techniques, Tools, and Formulas to Determine Measurements
    GRADES 6 - 8
    NM-MEA.6-8.1 Understand Measurable Attributes of Objects and the Units, Systems, and Processes of Measurement
    NM-MEA.6-8.2 Apply Appropriate Techniques, Tools, and Formulas to Determine Measurements
    GRADES 9 - 12
    NM-MEA.9-12.1 Understand Measurable Attributes of Objects and the Units, Systems, and Processes of Measurement
    NM-MEA.9-12.2 Apply Appropriate Techniques, Tools, and Formulas to Determine Measurements

    GRADES K - 4
    NS.K-4.3 Life Science
    GRADES 5 - 8
    NS.5-8.3 Life Science
    GRADES 9 - 12
    NS.9-12.2 Physical Science

    SOCIAL SCIENCES: Geography
    GRADES K - 12
    NSS-G.K-12.1 The World in Spatial Terms
    NSS-G.K-12.2 Places and Regions
    NSS-G.K-12.5 Environment and Society

    Article by Ellen Delisio
    Education World®
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