Never ones to pass up an opportunity for learning, when the children discovered a dead frog at the back of our compost area, staff supported the children in investigating further! This prompted much discussion and questioning about frogs and their features. Children were supported to use books to discover facts about amphibians. Once it was ascertained the frog was dead (and not hibernating) we carefully put it aside. At our daily evaluation we carefully thought what would be the next steps of learning for our children to challenge them and use this rich opportunity to develop their knowledge and understanding about the fauna in our garden. We decided to dissect it with children to explore the wonderful workings of such a creature.
Overnight the frog was frozen to halt further decomposition. The following morning, once staff had researched the process and thought about the safety issues, resources were gathered. Dissection trays, pins, scalpel, paper towels, protective goggles, hot water and information books were assembled. An adult supported children to carefully look at the preserved frog. Some children noticed its powerful hind legs for jumping. Children observed that the frog’s skin was coloured and spotted to help camouflage. Some children predicted what we might find inside the frog. An adult used a scalpel to make incisions and cut through the skin and muscle underneath. Children looked into the body cavity and discovered some of the organs. The awe and wonder of the children was evident. We also found tiny black eggs that filled the body cavity, that we discovered meant it was a female frog.
Afterwards we carefully buried the frog's body and the children were further supported to understand the cycle of life and death.
Children involved took information home to share with their families about the learning they were involved in and staff fully reflected on the learning and any issues it may have thrown up.