Yesterday word of a new addition to New York City’s diversity was announced…a little creature that has been hiding in the urban jungle, doing what a lot of New Yorker’s try to do – keep a low profile…
Scientists at Rutgers University started to notice a difference in the croak of this frog, leading them down a road in which they discovered an entirely new DNA profile of this leopard frog.
So one who is not from NYC may wonder how a frog goes unnoticed in a place that is often considered a concrete jungle? By hanging out near Yankee Stadium of course! What makes this such a teachable moment is that it almost brings to life the idea that there are so many unknown animals in the world. And this little frog is a perfect example that those unknown animals could be in anyone’s neighborhood.
Now, I will be the first to admit, that maybe just maybe the building of the New Stadium for the Yankees in what used to be a huge park for the kids in a very tough area of the Bronx used to play in might have had something to do with the discovery of the new unnamed leopard frog because the its habitat was greatly encroached upon and it very likely may have been driven to a smaller habitat making it easier to find.
But in terms of teaching and learning there is so much that this one little news story has to offer;
- How does new construction effect the habitat of animals? (Social Studies)
- How can effectively share space? (Math)
- How are new species discovered? (Science)
- What are the differences between animals? How can you determine the different characteristics? (Science)
- How do you announce something formally? (Literacy)
Considering the questions above, students can analyze urbanization and then develop their own species and create their own press releases using this little frog as a model. A cross curricular study indeed. The real-world to classroom connections are endless and in many ways a great way to get kids involved in something that is tangible and obtainable creating tremendous buy-in and ownership of a students learning. All because of one little frog with a chirpy little croak instead of a groan can do!