The Magic School Bus Gets Energized

Field Trip Notes
It’s school carnival time! But the electrical cord on the class ride - the Double Trouble Wheel of Wonder - has shorted out. The kids need a different source of energy to power the Ferris wheel, and fast. Carlos’s brother, Mikey, has a clever idea: Drop rocks into one set of the double seats. The push of the falling rocks will turn the wheels. Will Mikey’s plan succeed? With trial and error, the class learns to harness nature’s energy. The Wheel of Wonder is ready to roll!
Pinwheel Power

Going Hands-On

Time: 30-40 minutes
Group size: Four

When a breeze sends Ralphie’s hat sailing, The Magic School Bus kids realize wind can move objects. By making pinwheels, your students can harness enough wind energy to life paper clips.

What You Need

  • Box of jumbo paper clips
  • Box of standard (#1) paper clips
  • Copies of PINWHEEL POWER

For Each Group
  • Manila folder
  • Masking tape
  • Half-pint milk carton
  • Scissors
  • Foot-long piece of string
  • Quarter

Talk About It

Ask: How can wind energy power something? What are examples of wind energy?

What To Do
  1. Pass out materials and help students make pinwheels. Demonstrate how to draw the six-inch circle, cut the circle into fourths, and fold each fourth in the same direction.
  2. Help children poke the jumbo paper clip through the center of their pinwheels, and tape the clip down securely.
  3. Encourage kids to start their pinwheels turning. Ask: How could you make your pinwheels turn something else?
  4. Help students make paper-clip picker-uppers. Once pinwheels are secured in milk cartons, help kids tape string securely to pinwheel.
  5. After they’ve lifted a small clip, challenge students to lift several paper clips.

Next Stop
Ask: What might happen if your pinwheel were bigger? (can harness more wind) Try it!
Back to Classroom Activities