Monday, May 2, 2011

Leaping Frogs

A few years ago my children were trying to catch a frog. They'd gotten pretty good at capturing toads, so were astonished at how hard it was to catch a frog. Of course, they were trying to capture a pickerel frog that day... and pickerel frogs can leap small buildings in a single bound.

Frogs are well-designed jumping critters. Some frogs can jump 20 times the length of their bodies, a fact which led my kids to wonder if they were frogs, how far could they leap?

The next obvious question is whether leap distance remains the same over multiple jumps. To determine that we needed frogs and a way to measure. If we had a sidewalk nearby we would have released the frogs and marked each successive jump using chalk. Having the choice of a gravel driveway or lawn, we used bright straws to mark the jumps. You have to move fast if you're following a pickerel frog! Then we could measure the distances and write them down. We never tried it with peepers, but now the woods are noisy with the little tree frogs so this year may be the year to measure peeper leaps.

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