The Magic School Bus Takes a Dive

Field Trip Notes
When Wanda finds out that one of Ms. Frizzle's ancestors was Redbeard the Pirate, she naturally wants to follow the treasure map he left. The map leads them to a coral reef, and the kids find out firsthand that life here is risky. To survive, some plants and animals sometimes form the most surprising partnerships. But Wanda's not interested in partnerships. She just wants to find that treasure. To get the kids in the swim of things, Ms. Frizzle turns them into different sea creatures, and Wanda-Anemone, Wanda-Shrimp, and then Wanda-Remora begins to understand that partnerships are more important than she thought.

Going Hands-On

Time: 20 minutes
Group Size: 2

Wanda thinks she can reach the treasure alone, but she soon learns that survival on the coral reef often depends on cooperation. Your kids find out how partners can help run a race.

What You Need
For Each Student
  • 4- or 5-foot scarf or cloth strip for each pair
  • Clock with second hand
  • Copies of TIED TOGETHER page
Ask: Why do we cooperate with each other? Does cooperation benefit you?

Talk About It

Ask: Do wild animals live in our community? Which ones? Why might they want to live here?

Ask: If I walked into your room, what could I discover about you from all your things? Would I know as much from just one thing?

What To Do
  1. Ask: Are humans the only ones who cooperate? Why might coral reef animals become partners? (Cooperation benefits one or both.)
  2. Mark “Start” and “Finish” lines on a racecourse. The finish line is the safety of the reef. Place the clock for all to see.
  3. Set the scene: Imagine you are a coral reef critter, with only one leg. A big, HUNGRY fish is chasing you. You must get to the reef to hide. Can you make it in time?
  4. Round 1: Kids hop on one leg down the racecourse. Yell the time for Start, and have them time themselves to the finish.
  5. Ask: Could you run faster with more legs? For Round 2, pair kids of similar heights and abilities. Help them tie ankles together - left ankle of one to right ankle of other. They cannot communicate, but they must not drag the other. Let pairs time themselves down the course.
  6. Ask: Could you run faster if partners cooperated? For Round 3, let pairs plan how to coordinate three-legged movements.
  7. Ask: Could cooperation help partners survive?

Next Stop
Make a bulletin board of coral reef partnerships. Have pairs of kids research and draw the partners.
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