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This lesson provided by:
Author:Julie Waddell
Lesson Plan ID: 30031

Tad the Tadpole


Tad the Tadpole is designed to demonstrate how pollution in various areas affects wildlife in their native habitats. The lesson is designed to stress the importance of conservation for animals and their surrounding environment.  Upon conclusion of the lesson, the students will determine ways they could take care of the environment as opposed to further pollute.

This lesson plan is made possible through the ALEX and the U.S. National Park Service Partnership.

Content Standard(s):
SC(1) 4. Describe survival traits of living things, including color, shape, size, texture, and covering.
SC(1) 9. Identify ways to conserve Earth's resources.
SC(3) 10. Determine habitat conditions that support plant growth and survival.
SC(3) 13. Describe ways to sustain natural resources, including recycling, reusing, conserving, and protecting the environment.
SS2010(K) Living and Working Together in Family and Community2. Identify rights and responsibilities of citizens within the family, classroom, school, and community.
SS2010(1) Living and Working Together in Family and Community and State7. Describe how occupational and recreational opportunities in the local community and state are affected by the physical environment. (Alabama)
SS2010(1) Living and Working Together in Family and Community and State9. Differentiate between natural resources and human-made products.
SS2010(2) Living and Working Together in State and Nation8. Describe how scarcity affects supply and demand of natural resources and human-made products.
SS2010(2) Living and Working Together in State and Nation10. Identify ways people throughout the country are affected by their human and physical environments.
SS2010(3) Geographic and Historical Studies: People, Places, and Regions3. Describe ways the environment is affected by humans in Alabama and the world. (Alabama)
SC2015(5) 17. Design solutions, test, and revise a process for cleaning a polluted environment (e.g., simulating an oil spill in the ocean or a flood in a city and creating a solution for containment and/or cleanup).*
Local/National Standards:

Georgia: S1CS5, S1L1, S2E3, S3CS7, S3L1, S3L2, S4L1, S4L2, S5CS4, S5CS6, S5CS7

Primary Learning Objective(s):

1.) Why is conservation/ preventing pollution important?
2.) Why does Tad want to leave his home after we contaminate it?
3.) How could pollution spread from place to place?
4.) What is pollution?
5.) How do you think Tad felt when his home was polluted? How would you feel if you were in the same situation as Tad?
6.) What solutions do you feel we could employ in order to cut down on or prevent pollution?

Additional Learning Objective(s):  
Approximate Duration of the Lesson: 31 to 60 Minutes
Materials and Equipment:

Diagram with a river flowing past the following: a construction site, a housing development, a bridge, a park, another housing development, a foot path, a dump area
A fish bowl
A sponge with a tadpole cut-out
A plastic tad pole
A small plastic container with brown sugar
A small plastic container with green sprinkles
A small plastic container with syrup
A small plastic container with salt
A small plastic container with pieces of torn-up paper
A small plastic container with dish soap
A small plastic container with Oreo cookies
Red Dye
A bucket to hold clean water
A bucket to hold dirty water
A strainer

A digital camera and video camera in order to capture the lesson

Cereal boxes


pens and pencils


Technology Resources Needed:

A digital camera to take pictures as the lesson is being taught as well as a video camera to create a podcast of the lesson.


The teacher will need to gather all necessary materials at least one hour before the lesson is taught:

1. Place the tadpole sponge in the fish bowl and fill it with 4 inches of water.
2. Put the plastic tadpole at the beginning of the diagram as a game piece.
3. Put the container of brown sugar over the picture of the construction site.
4. Put the container of green sprinkles over the picture of the housing development.
5. Put the container of syrup and salt over the picture of the bridge.
6. Put the container of pieces of torn-up paper in a cup at the picture of the park.
7. Put the container of dish soap on the picture of the other housing development.
8. Put the container of Oreo cookie crumbles on the foot path.
9. Put the container of red dye over the picture of the dump area.

** The above actions are carried out with students as part of the lesson, but all materials need to be gatheredat least an hour beforehand.**


The teacher will lead a discussion about what pollution is and why it is important for students to  conserve the environment.

The teacher will introduce Tad the Tadpole and describe the diverse areas that he will be visiting throughout the day. This will give students an idea of various habitats that have been overtaken by pollution.

The lesson will move to a demonstration of how Tad the Tadpole travels through various habitats. Students will place the assortment of contaminants in the fish bowl. This will give them an idea of how pollution effects environments directly.

At least five to eight minutes will need to be given for students to observe the changing environment between each pollutant. Ongoing discussion of what they are observing will be encouraged.

The teacher and students will discuss how Tad the Tadpole may feel as the pollutants destroy his home and the discussion will move to incorporate how the students would feel if they were in Tad's position.

This portion of the lesson is designed to evoke empathy for the environment and probe students to personalize the situation to drive to conserve their surroundings.

Discuss ways students could employ conservation practices in order to cut down on or prevent pollution.

In order to promote higher thinking, and get students involved they will be asked to pair up and  construct a one page written report on: recycling, water conservation, pollution reduction, "green" household products, waste reduction. They may choose one topic on which to write an essay. 

In order to conserve paper, the teacher will ask the students to bring in used cereal boxes, cut the front covers off, staple them together, and write the essay on the gray area of the ceral box on back.

Finally, student can use the pictures captured during the lesson to create a presentation designed to share the dangers of pollution with others.

Attachments:**Some files will display in a new window. Others will prompt you to download.
Assessment Strategies:

The teacher will show students pictures of Russell Cave National Monument that have been polluted by trash and various other elements; then the teacher will provide pictures of the same area which has been cleaned. The students will decipher which actions to take to clean up polluted areas and which are productive and counter -productive for the environment.


Children who are environmentally savvy will be asked to lead a small group in discussion of household products that are harmful to the environment and alternative products that could be utilized in place. They will also be partnered with another student in order to consruct a report on things to do in order to be more environmentally friendly in daily life.

Select students could use video fotage of the project and from the park to create a public service announcement that publicizes the dangers of pollution on the environment.


Have students who are unable to grasp the concept of environmental pollutants recall something that has caused their home to become stinky, dirty, or unpleasant and how they felt. Further discuss how this could be prevented.

Each area below is a direct link to general teaching strategies/classroom accommodations for students with identified learning and/or behavior problems such as: reading or math performance below grade level; test or classroom assignments/quizzes at a failing level; failure to complete assignments independently; difficulty with short-term memory, abstract concepts, staying on task, or following directions; poor peer interaction or temper tantrums, and other learning or behavior problems.

Presentation of Material Environment
Time Demands Materials
Attention Using Groups and Peers
Assisting the Reluctant Starter Dealing with Inappropriate Behavior

Be sure to check the student's IEP for specific accommodations.
Variations Submitted by ALEX Users:
Alabama Virtual Library
Alabama Virtual Library

Hosted by Alabama Supercomputer Authority
The University of Alabama at Birmingham
The University of Alabama at Birmingham
The Malone Family Foundation
The Malone Family Foundation
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