Teaching a class on salamanders

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axeman2729
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Location: Cranberry township, PA

Teaching a class on salamanders

Post by axeman2729 » March 17th, 2014, 8:02 am

I am going to be teaching a class on herps specifically salamanders at the creek connections symposium at camp Kon o Kwee and need some good ideas of what to include. I plan on taking the class out and look for some salamanders after I teach them how to ID them. the species I was thinking of are slimy, redback, twolined, spring, dusky, longtail, spotted, jefferson, eastern newt and maybe red. can you guys think of any other common species found in the area?

MCHerper
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Re: Teaching a class on salamanders

Post by MCHerper » March 17th, 2014, 2:15 pm

What is the age group that you are addressing? I am not familiar with your area-do you have four toed or blue spotteds there?

As far as ideas for what to present, again this is dependent on the age group but some ideas would be to address the meaning of what it is to be an amphibian, differences (and similarities) between frogs and salamanders, why they lay eggs in water, roles as predators and prey, carnivorous larvae and mosquito larvae control, stream vs. pond type tadpoles, respiration through the skin only in plethodontids vs. the ambystomids with lungs, chemical cues and nasolabial grooves, courtship rituals in plethodontids vs. ambystomids, warning coloration in newts and warning mimicry in reds (Pseudotriton means 'false newt'), defensive posturing, unken reflex, tail autotomy, tetrodotoxin production in Eastern newts, distasteful skin secretions in most sals but not in duskies, duskies and their pattern variability which helps them avoid predator recognition, woodland plethodontids and terrestrial egg laying, canthus rostralis in spring sals if they are found, the nature of vernal pools, egg mass ID's, Oophilia algae and their symbiotic relationship.

Best of luck, I think that it's really cool that you are teaching a class. I'd love to do that someday!

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axeman2729
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Location: Cranberry township, PA

Re: Teaching a class on salamanders

Post by axeman2729 » March 18th, 2014, 5:41 am

The class is for middle schoolers. The area is in butler county Pennsylvania and we do have fourtoed however I have never found one

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tomharten
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Re: Teaching a class on salamanders

Post by tomharten » March 18th, 2014, 11:12 am

I do a lot of work with middle school students and herps in southern MD. PM me and I can share some of the curricula we have developed. Recently, I saw this video clip created by middle school kids about speciation in salamanders in the Smokies.
Might be fun to share with your students since it was made by kids in their age group.

http://m.youtube.com/watch?feature=share&v=kNe6W54bLkA

Tom

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Re: Teaching a class on salamanders

Post by MCHerper » March 18th, 2014, 5:32 pm

Love that video!

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