Researching to Build Knowledge and Teach Others: Adaptations and the Wide World of Frogs | EL Education Curriculum

You are here


Researching to Build Knowledge and Teach Others: Adaptations and the Wide World of Frogs

You are here:

In this module, students will use literacy skills to become experts--people who use reading, writing, listening, and speaking to build and share deep knowledge about a topic. The module begins with students reading poetry and pourquoi tales about different kinds of frogs to generate "why" questions. At the end of the unit, they write their own fictional pourquoi narratives to attempt to answer some of their "why" questions. In Unit 2, students research to find out the real answers to their frog questions and write paragraphs to communicate their research.

In Unit 3, students will form research groups to become experts on various "freaky" frogs--frogs that have unusual adaptations that help them to survive in extreme environments throughout the world. Students will build their reading, research, writing, and collaborative discussion skills through studying their expert frog. Throughout the module, students will consistently reflect on the role of literacy in building and sharing expertise. They will demonstrate their expertise through a Freaky Frog book and trading card to educate students in grades 2 and 3. This task will center on CCSS ELA Standards RI.3.7, W.3.2, W.3.3, W.3.4, W.3.6, W.3.8, W.3.10, and L.3.6.

Guiding Questions and Big Ideas

  • How does an author engage the reader in a narrative?
    • An effective narrative has a beginning that establishes the character and situation, a middle that introduces a problem with character response, and an ending that resolves the problem.
  • How do experts build knowledge and share expertise about a topic?
    • Experts build knowledge by studying a topic in depth.
    • Experts share information through writing and speaking.
  • How do frogs survive?
    • Frogs have unique adaptations that help them to survive in various environments.

The Four Ts

  • Topic: Freaky frogs
  • Task: Freaky Frog book and trading card to include narrative and informative writing
  • Targets (standards explicitly taught and assessed): RI.3.7, W.3.2, W.3.3, W.3.4, W.3.6, W.3.8, W.3.10, and L.3.6
  • Text: Bullfrog at Magnolia Circle; Everything You Need to Know about Frogs and Other Slippery Creatures; Lizards, Frogs, and Polliwogs

Content Connections

This module is designed to address English Language Arts standards and to be taught during the literacy block. But the module intentionally incorporates Science content that may align to additional teaching during other parts of the day. These intentional connections are described below.

Science (based on NGSS) or NGSS:
Note: Also consider using EL Education Grade 3 Life Science Module, a separate resource that includes approximately 24 hours of science instruction. This life science module explicitly addresses third-grade NGSS life science standards and naturally extends the learning from this ELA module.

Next Generation Science Standards

Life Science Performance Expectation:

  • 3-LS3-2: Use evidence to support the explanation that traits can be influenced by the environment.
    • LS3.A: Inheritance of Traits: Other characteristics result from individuals' interactions with the environment, which can range from diet to learning. Many characteristics involve both inheritance and environment.
    • LS3.B: The environment also affects the traits that an organism develops.

Habits of Character / Social Emotional Learning Focus

  • Central to EL Education's curriculum is a focus on "habits of character" and social-emotional learning. Students work to become effective learners, developing mindsets and skills for success in college, career, and life (e.g., initiative, responsibility, perseverance, collaboration); work to become ethical people, treating others well and standing up for what is right (e.g., empathy, integrity, respect, compassion); and work to contribute to a better world, putting their learning to use to improve communities (e.g., citizenship, service).
  • In this module, students work to contribute to a better world: put their learning to use to improve communities (e.g., citizenship, service). See unit overviews for more detail.


Each unit in the 3-5 Language Arts Curriculum has two standards-based assessments built in, one mid-unit assessment and one end of unit assessment. The module concludes with a performance task at the end of Unit 3 to synthesize their understanding of what they accomplished through supported, standards-based writing.

Performance Task

Freaky Frog Book and Trading Card

Throughout this module, each student will generate writing to include in a Freaky Frog book to engage and educate students in grades 2-3. The book will contain:

  • Pourquoi narrative written in Unit 1 to engage readers in the unique adaptations of frogs
  • Informational writing from Unit 2 to educate readers about frogs in general
  • Four-paragraph informational writing from Unit 3 to amaze readers with the unique, sometimes freaky, adaptations of frogs
  • A Freaky Frog trading card from Unit 3 for readers to play a game with. The front side of the trading card will include a detailed scientific illustration or digital picture of their freaky frog as well as basic facts about the frog collected through their research. The other side of the card will score their frog on different features--color, camouflage, and size, for example.

For the performance task, students will create their trading card and compile all of their writing from the module into a book with a front cover and table of contents. This assessment centers on ELA CCSS RI.3.7, W.3.2, W.3.3, W.3.4, W.3.6, W.3.8, W.3.10, and L.3.6.

Texts to Buy

Texts that need to be procured. Please download the Trade Book List for procurement guidance.

Text or Resource Quantity ISBNs
Everything You Need to Know about Frogs: And Other Slippery Creatures
by DK Publishing
1 per student
ISBN: 9780756682323
Bullfrog at Magnolia Circle
by Deborah Dennard
1 per student
ISBN: 9781607270690
Lizards, Frogs, and Polliwogs: Poems and Paintings
by Douglas Florian
1 per class
ISBN: 9780152052485


Each module is approximately 6-8 weeks of instruction broken into 3 units. The "week at a glance" chart in the curriculum map gives the big picture, breaking down the module into a detailed week-by-week view. It shows how the module unfolds, the focus of each week of instruction, and where the six assessments and the performance task occur.

ALL Block

The Additional Language and Literacy (ALL) Block is 1 hour of instruction per day. It is designed to work in concert with and in addition to the 1-hour Grades 3-5 ELA "module lessons." Taken together, these 2 hours of instruction comprehensively address all the Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts.

The ALL Block has five components: Additional Work with Complex Text; Reading and Speaking Fluency/GUM (Grammar, Usage, and Mechanics); Writing Practice; Word Study and Vocabulary; and Independent Reading.

The ALL Block has three 2-week units which parallel to the three units of the module.


Get updates about our new K-5 curriculum as new materials and tools debut.

Sign Up