Lesson Plan

Spotted Salamanders (Second Grade)

Spotted Salamander metamorphosis
Three spotted salamanders undergoing metamorphosis along the Natchez Trace Parkway.

NPS Photo

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Grade Level:
Second Grade
Biology: Animals, Science and Technology
50 minutes or more
Group Size:
Up to 36
National/State Standards:
Science: 1a, 1e
Life Science: 3a, 3c, 3d, 3e
salamander, metamorphosis, Amphibian, spotted salamander, adaptations, community service, natchez trace parkway, resource protection, animal protection, animal population, vernal pool, instinct


Discuss the life history of salamanders with students using photo from books, the internet or the drawings provided. The students will learn that spotted salamanders live in their neighborhoods (see range map) and along the Natchez Trace Parkway.  Option: Have the students do the Spotted Salamander Life Stages work sheet.


Enduring Understanding: Animals are adapted to survive in their environment. 

Essential Question: What are the characteristics of an amphibian?

The students will:

1) Learn the life cycle of the spotted salamander

2) Learn where the spotted salamander lives

3) Learn the life needs of the spotted salamander.


Spotted Salamanders like most other amphibians lay their eggs in water and live their adult lives on land. Salamanders and lizards are basically different because salamanders lay eggs in water and juveniles metamorphose and lizards lay eggs on land and juveniles are precocious (see attached for more information).


1.) "Salamander" travel kit containing:

a. Book:Big Night for Salamanders" by Sarah Marwil Lamstein (this may be borrowed from Natchez Trace Parkway)

b. Laminated sheets with salamander life stages

c. Plastic models of salamander

2.) Spotted Salamander booklet for each student

3.) Photos of spotted salamanders at different life stages or the life stages worksheet Option: Picture of frog tadpole

4.) Salamander Life Stages Worksheet

5.) Salamander Life Stages Answer Sheet

6.) Teacher Information Sheet



Participation in discussion. Assess if the students illustrated the booklet appropriately.

Park Connections

The Natchez Trace Parkway have spotted salamander populations.


The teacher may introduce the students to the concept that the salamanders have trouble crossing the roads. When they go to lay their eggs, they are often run over by cars. They do not know to look both ways before they cross the street.


Salamander, gills, cold-blooded, larva