Helping Schools Implement California’s New Science Standards

science education california

In June 2014, Carolyn Jones wrote an article for EdSource entitled “More teachers turning to nonprofits for innovative science lessons“. The article highlights SAVE THE FROGS! educational efforts at Stoneman Elementary in Pittsburg, CA, where third graders celebrate amphibians at the school’s annual Frog Fair. The article is one of the best summaries of how students and teachers benefit from SAVE THE FROGS!, so we have pasted some of our favorite excerpts below.

“Nonprofit organizations like SAVE THE FROGS! are helping schools implement California’s new science standards.”
— EdSource

science education california
Frog art from the 2014 SAVE THE FROGS! Art Contest by Jose Francisco San Martin Braile

From EdSource:

Third-grader Oscar Martinez had never seen a frog until one hopped outside his bedroom windowsill one rainy night last year. “It was making so much noise I couldn’t fall asleep. I said to my brother, what is that?” said Oscar, a student at Stoneman Elementary in Pittsburg in Contra Costa County. He was immediately intrigued. Now, thanks to curriculum provided by a nonprofit called Save The Frogs!, Oscar is an emerging expert on all things slimy and green. He and his classmates showed off their knowledge at a Frog Fair on a recent Friday, displaying almost 100 three-paneled posters they had created about different frog species, their habitats and threats to survival.

Stoneman Elementary is one of numerous schools throughout California that are using curriculum provided by science education nonprofits to teach the state’s new Next Generation Science Standards. The lessons provided by Save The Frogs! included reading, writing and public speaking, as well as biology, ecology and geography.

cheuk shuk ling hong kong school of creativity
Frog art from the 2014 SAVE THE FROGS! Art Contest by Cheuk Shuk Ling, Hong Kong School Of Creativity

“The students have absolutely loved this project,” said Stoneman 3rd-grade teacher Angela Labat. “But the biggest thing is that they’re learning how to research, how to ask questions, how to find the answers, how to write it all down into paragraphs. These are tools they can use to study anything.”

Save The Frogs!, based in Laguna Beach, provides curriculum free online, and an ecologist from the group visits schools to talk to students about frog habitat and how students can help protect amphibians, many species of which are threatened with extinction. Students and teachers at Stoneman Elementary said the frog project was a fun and engaging way to learn about habitats, biology and other topics. Every 3rd-grader participated, studying frogs for at least a few hours a week from January through May. Save The Frogs ecologists have worked with dozens of schools throughout California, helping students raise tadpoles and restore frog habitats, and generally teaching kids about the wonders of frogs and their role in the ecosystem.

Stoneman principal Terry Dunn said the success of the Frog Fair, now in its fourth year, has given him hope. “To see the joy this has brought, and to see the kids so engaged, has been inspirational,” he said as he toured the fair and admired students’ work. “If we can teach them to care about animals they’ll care about the planet, and hopefully think about how fragile life is and how important it is we try to protect it.”

california science standards
Frog art from the 2014 SAVE THE FROGS! Art Contest by Roselene Chen, 13, USA