Salamander Activity
activity exercisesuggested grade levels: 9-12

view Idaho achievement standards for this lesson

Amphibians make up a very interesting class of species. This activity involves going outside and observing salamanders along with other forms of life. It is a good way to give the students some hands-on experience. Most students will find this type of activity very interesting and will become enthusiastic about doing it.

1. Students will learn how to use the Digital Atlas of Idaho.
2. Students will learn about the ecology of salamanders.
3. Students will experience some hands-on fieldwork.

Several large, flat, square or rectangular shaped boards (approx. 2 ft X 2 feet) Digital Atlas of Idaho

Go to the following pages in the Digital Atlas to answer the following questions as a class or in groups.
To get there: Click on Atlas Home, Biology, Amphibians, Identification Pages.
1. What species of salamanders were found?
2. What types of food do they eat?
3. What type of habitat are they found in?
4. What is their basic ecology?
5. Where else in the state are they found?
6. What is their status from a conservation point of view?
7. Was the Digital Atlas helpful for obtaining information for this project?
This activity should be done near a stream or pond. Place large boards flat on the ground near a water source and leave them there for several weeks. The longer the boards are there before data collection, the better. At regular intervals, (once a week) have students check under the boards for salamanders as well as other forms of life. Have students use the digital atlas to identify types of salamanders found under the board and to obtain information in order to answer the questions that follow. Students should use the identification pages and compare the species found with the other ones listed. To use the identification page, match your species with the choices given and keep doing this as accurately as possible. If done carefully, it should lead you to a page on a particular species. Have students keep a record on the other types of life that they find (insects, worms, etc) in a notebook. Although this activity is designed for salamanders, it could be used for other types of life as well.

These are links to access the handouts and printable materials.
Identification Pages

Related Lesson Topics:
Biology: Amphibians
Biology: Biology Topics

Lesson Plan provided by James Scannell and Stefan Sommer, 2001
Idaho Achievement Standards (as of 7/2001) met by completing this activity: