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Freaky Frogs of West Virginia

School: Explorer Academy

City/State: Huntington, WV

Grade(s): 3

Format(s): Book

Subject(s): English Language Arts, Visual Arts

Project Overview

Third-grade students at Explorer Academy in Huntington, West Virginia took Unit 3 of the EL Curriculum module “Adaptations and the Wide World of Frogs” and made it their own.

Students spent time researching West Virginia frogs and used their research to author informational essays about various adaptations these frogs have made to survive in our state. Students were visited by local amphibian experts from Marshall University to get hands-on experience with the frogs that they were researching. The art teacher teamed up with students to help them create a scientific drawing of their West Virginia
Students learned about scientific drawings, their importance in history and their use in the modern-day. They learned about artists who studied living things, such as DaVinci and Durer and focused on the idea of scientific workings being realistic, looking 3D and showing texture and color.

For their first draft, students showed what they knew and drew frogs all on their own. For their second draft, they were taught drawing techniques and different ways to look at photos of their assigned frog to begin their shapes and lines. Their third draft was done after a gallery walk and warm and cool feedback, where they applied the suggestions and focused on repeating their strengths. Then, for their final draft, they worked on combining all of the elements learned so far and had check-ins and feedback with the teacher to make sure they were creating high-quality work.

Student essays and scientific drawings were combined to create a “Freaky Frogs of West Virginia” resource guide about the frogs that live in our state. Upon completion of this project, students celebrated their learning by receiving their very own published copy of the book.

How This Project Can Be Useful

  • An excellent example of how outside experts can both assist and inspire
  • Shows the results of multiple drafts and how persistence pays off in quality
  • Pairs an aesthetically pleasing scientific drawing with pertinent information

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