The Magic School Bus Holiday Special

Field Trip Notes
During a class trip to Murphs recycling plant, the toy soldier Wanda needs to get in to see the Nutcracker ballet that night gets turned in plastic pellets! Devastated, Wanda wishes for a world without recycling! Anxious to please, Ms. Frizzle takes the kids on a song-filled bus trip. The importance of recycling hits home when the Bus magic unrecycles everything in Walkerville--including the Bus itself, as it too was made from recycled objects. Will the kids find a way to reconstruct the Bus in time for Wanda to get back to see the Nutcracker?
Back To Basics

Going Hands-On

Time: 30 minutes
Group Size: 4

Wandas favorite doll is chopped into plastic pellets! Shes crushed until she discovers the pellets can be recycled to make a new doll. Your kids explore how things can be reused or recycled again and again.

What You Need
  • Books, pamphlets about recycling. Check with local waste-management service for information.
  • Household trash - glass, plastic, metal, cardboard, Styrofoam, junk mail, broken appliances
  • Copies of BACK TO BASICS page

Talk About It

Pass around trash samples. Ask: If we toss this stuff, where will it go? How can we re-use it? (Jars might become containers, vases; newspaper - packing material, animal bedding; paper-scratch paper, aluminum pie tin) If we recycle these things, what can they become?

What To Do
  1. Analyze a piece of paper. Ask: What went into making this? (raw materials-trees, chemicals, fuel) If we toss it away, how will we get new paper?(use more raw materials) If we recycle it, what will it become at the recycling plant? (wood pulp) What can we do with that? (e.g., make newspaper, greeting cards, toilet paper, packing or building materials)
  2. Ask: What gets recycled in our community? (Kids may not know that vehicles and large appliances are recycled.)
  3. Brainstorm things kids would like to see made with recycled stuff. Introduce the reference resources.
  4. Pass out activity pages. Let kids work in groups to analyze how the bike seat, handle bars, and tires can be reused and recycled. If kids are stumped at any step, challenge them to come up with ways to find out more about recycling.

Next Stop
With the kids, work out a plan to reduce personal waste. What can you do without? What can be reused? Ask kids to write or draw one way to reduce their waste. Compile ideas on a "Waste Away!" bulletin board.
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