### The Tiny “Toad” of Many Crowns

This exercise is a part of Educator Guide: Endangered Migratory Species and A Tiny Toad / View Guide

Directions for teachers:

To engage students before reading the article, have them answer the “Before Reading” questions as a warmup in class. Then, instruct students to read the online Science News article: “The Brazilian flea toad may be the world’s smallest vertebrate.” Afterward, have them answer the “During Reading” questions.

As an optional extension, instruct students to answer the “After Reading” questions as a class discussion or as homework.

This article appears in the March 23, 2024, issue of Science News. Science News Explores offers another version of the same article written at a middle-school reading level. Post this set of questions without answers for your students, using this link.

Directions for students:

Read the online Science News article: “The Brazilian flea toad may be the world’s smallest vertebrate.” Then answer the following questions as directed by your teacher.

1. You’ll need a pen/pencil, a ruler, a blank piece of paper, and a coin (any variety). Trace an outline of your coin on your paper. Measure the diameter and write down your measurement. Now imagine an object that is 7 millimeters (0.27 inch) in diameter sitting atop your coin. Would this object be larger or smaller than the coin? Draw a star on your coin outline approximately 7 millimeters (0.27 inch) in diameter to represent this object.

Answers will vary. But measurements should be accurate, and the coin will probably be bigger than an object that is 7 millimeters (0.27 inch long).

2. Imagine the object in Question 1 is a 7-millimeter-long (0.27 inch) animal. Is an animal this size likelier to be a vertebrate (an animal with a backbone) or an invertebrate (an animal without a backbone)? Explain your answer.

Answers will vary. Many students will likely predict the animal to be an invertebrate because vertebrates are usually bigger than the star they’ve drawn on paper.

1. Read the first sentence of this story, then write down what you think this story will discuss. Why did the author open the story with that line?

This story will discuss a very small species of frog. The author uses a metaphor to hook the reader, saying that the frog is too tiny to wear “crowns” on its head for being the smallest known amphibian and vertebrate.

2. List the flea toad’s two “titles.”

The flea is the smallest known amphibian and the smallest known vertebrate.

3. How does the flea toad’s size compare to the previous record holder?

The flea toad is about half a millimeter shorter than the previous record holder.

4. In which country was the flea toad discovered?

The flea toad was discovered in Brazil.

5. What is the scientific name for the previous record holder?

The scientific name for the previous record holder is Paedophryne amanuensis.

6. Describe two anatomical differences between the frogs in this article and more typical frogs.

The Brazilian flea frog has two toes rather than the typical five. Some species of tiny frogs also differ from regular frogs in the shapes of their inner ears.