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Culminating Project: Freaky Frog Trading Cards

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The Foundational Reading and Language Standards Resources Package for Grades 3–5

Use this guide to build additional literacy blocks alongside the module lessons.


In this final unit, students will continue to explore the question: “How do we build expertise about a topic?” as they share their growing expertise about frogs and their adaptations and continue to build expertise as writers of a research-based narrative. The specific literacy focus of this unit is on writing first-person narratives using vivid and precise language, as well as continuing to learn to revise and critique. Each student will create a Freaky Frog Trading Card to amaze their readers about the unique, sometimes freaky, adaptations of frogs. This writing serves as a synthesis of the research students did in Units 1 and 2, and students will incorporate many of the rich words about frogs and adaptations they have learned throughout the module.  The front side of the card will include a collection of basic frog facts collected through their research as well as a digital picture of their freaky frog.  The other side of the card will be a research-based narrative paragraph about one category of their freaky frog (e.g., habitat, life cycle).

In the first part of this unit, students will deepen their expertise about the freaky frogs they learned about in Unit 2, reading an additional resource. Students also will participate in a Science Talk to help them synthesize their learning about how the adaptations of their freaky frogs help them survive. Students then plan, draft, and revise both sides of their Freaky Frog Trading Cards. They will practice revising and editing their writing based on critique from peers and the teacher, and will publish and share their trading cards with peers (and maybe even at a local nature center!). After finishing their trading cards, students will complete the on-demand end of unit assessment: They will focus on the same freaky frog, but choose a different category from their frog matrix recording form.


Each unit is made up of a sequence of between 5-20 lessons. The “unit at a glance” chart in the curriculum map breaks down each unit into its lessons, to show how the curriculum is organized in terms of standards address, supporting targets, ongoing assessment, and protocols. It also indicates which lessons include the mid-unit and end-of-unit assessments.

Big Ideas & Guiding Questions

  • What do experts do?
  • How do I become an expert?
  • How do frogs survive?
  • Experts use reading, viewing, and listening to gather and organize info from a variety of sources.
  • Experts share information through writing and speaking.
  • Content: Animals have unique adaptations that help them to survive in various environments.

Content Connections

  • This module is designed to address English Language Arts standards. However, the module intentionally incorporates Science content that many teachers may be teaching during other parts of the day. These intentional connections are described below.


Texts to buy

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

Cover Text Quantity ISBNs
Everything You Need To Know About Frogs And Other Slippery Creatures
by DK Publishing
One per student
ISBN: 978-0756682323, 0756682320
Poison Dart Frogs Up Close
by Carmen Bredeson
One per student
ISBN: 978-1598454208, 159845420X
Bullfrog At Magnolia Circle
by Deborah Dennard, Illustrations by Kristin Kest
One per student
ISBN: 978-1607270690, 1607270692
Deadly Poison Dart Frogs
by Lincoln James
One per student
ISBN: 978-1433957444, 1433957442

Optional Activities

Interview a local herpetologist.

Visit science museums or centers or universities with frog collections. Visit a local frog habitat (pond, marsh, etc.).

Teach young students about frogs using trading cards. Clean up a local frog habitat.

Optional: Extensions

  • Art: Create a trading card illustration and layout.
  • Technology: Create a digital archive of trading cards with audio recordings of students reading their paragraphs; create and lay out trading card.
  • Geography: Research about countries inhabited by freaky frogs. Locate countries on a map where frogs live.

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