Amphibians, Fish & Reptiles

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Amphibians, Fish & Reptiles

Go underwater to discover where over 20,000 different kinds of fish live. Visit the habitats of frogs, toads, snakes, lizards, and more. Learn how to distinguish between these three types of animals with this informative and interesting lesson.

Distinguish the features between amphibians, fish and reptiles in this informative and interesting video lesson.

  1. Students will realize that animals that look or act alike are organized into groups called families.
  2. Students will know the characteristics of the fish family.
    1. Fish can come in many different sizes, shapes, and colors.
    2. Fish are vertebrates and, like all vertebrates, they have eyes, teeth, a mouth, and a stomach.
    3. Instead of using lungs, fish breathe through gills.
    4. Fish spawn, eat, and live in the water; some in freshwater and others in saltwater.
    5. Fish use their tails to propel themselves and their fins to steer.
    6. Nearly all kinds of fish have scales, which are used for protection.
    7. Fish can either be herbivores or carnivores.
    8. Most fish have swim bladders, which they use to travel through different depths in the water.
    9. A very different class of fish, the shark, does not have a swim bladder and has a skeleton made of cartilage, instead of bone.
  3. Students will know the characteristics of the amphibian family.
    1. All amphibians (which include frogs, newts, toads, and salamanders) are vertebrates.
    2. Amphibians live partly on land and partly in water.
    3. Most amphibians are nocturnal, and all have moist skin.
    4. Amphibians lay jelly like eggs in or near water.
    5. When amphibians are young, they resemble fish; they have no legs, they breathe through gills, and they live in water. Newborn amphibians eat plants.
    6. When amphibians are older, they grow legs, develop lungs, and eat meat and plants.
  4. Students will know the characteristics of the reptile family.
    1. Reptiles breathe using lungs and are cold blooded.
    2. Most reptiles have scaly skin, which they shed as they grow.
    3. Reptiles lay their eggs, which are tough and hard, on land.
    4. When reptiles are born, they look like a smaller version of their parents.
    5. Reptiles can be found all over the world.
    6. Most reptiles have skin that is dry and scaly, and all reptiles are vertebrates.
  5. Students will identify the characteristics of each of the four main groups of reptiles.
    1. Turtles and tortoises have two shells made of bone that surround their bodies. The top shell is called the carapace and is covered in tough scales, and the bottom shell is called the plastron. All turtles and tortoises have four legs and a tail. Turtles and tortoises move very slowly on land. Some turtles live on land and mainly eat plants. Others live in the water and eat both plants and meat.
    2. Alligators and crocodiles live in and around rivers and swamps all over the world. The skin of alligators and crocodiles is very tough. When alligators and crocodiles are young, they eat mainly insects. Once they mature, they eat meat. Like turtles, alligators and crocodiles have four legs and a tail.
    3. Lizards typically have four legs and a tail, and most are insectivores. Lizards have long sticky tongues, which they use to catch the insects that they eat. In addition, a lizard’s eyes are on the sides of its head, and they move independently of each other, allowing the lizard to aim for its prey.
    4. Snakes do not have legs, but they use the scales on their underside to help them move. All snakes are carnivores and kill their food by either paralyzing it with poison or by suffocating it. Snakes have a lower jaw that is separate from their skull, allowing them to swallow food that is larger than their head. Snakes use their forked tongues to taste the air, helping them to gain information about their surroundings.

  1. Before viewing the video

    1. If possible, have a goldfish, a lizard, a toad, or any live fish, amphibian, or reptile in the classroom for the students to observe closely. Discuss how this animal is different from humans and how it is the same. Have the students draw a picture of it.
  2. After viewing the video

    1. Talk about what is special about fish, amphibians, and reptiles (fish have scales, live in water, and have fins; amphibians live in water when young and live on land when grown, have smooth moist or dry bumpy skin, and have legs; reptiles live on land and in water and have scaly skin).
    2. Make enough copies for each student of three cards: one with a picture of a fish, another with a frog, and a snake on the third. Label the cards appropriately with the words, fish, amphibian, and reptile. Remind the students that most fish look like the common idea of a fish; reptiles include tortoises, turtles, snakes, lizards, and crocodilians; and amphibians are frogs, toads, newts, and salamanders.
    3. Name an animal and have the students hold up the card for that animal group. For example, if “Box Turtle” is called, the children should hold up the card labeled reptile with a picture of a snake on it. The video may need to be reviewed if there is confusion among the students. Keep reminding the students of the characteristics of each group until they get the idea.

  • ID: S1708
  • Subject: Science: Life
  • Grade Level: 0-3