The Magic School Bus Out of This World

Field Trip Notes
According to Dorothy Anns research, an asteroid is going to collide with Walkerville Elementary! To save the school, the class rockets into space to try and follow the asteroids path. There, the kids see comets, meteors, and other space objects. When the moons gravity pulls them off course, the kids discover that the bigger the object, the greater its gravitational pull. DA comes up with an out-of-this-world plan: Theyll find the asteroid, change its course, and fling it into the sun! Can the kids boldly go where no class has gone before? Or will school be out...forever?

Going Hands-On

Time: 30 minutes
Group Size: Four

If the asteroid Ms. Frizzles class followed crashed to Earth, it would create a huge crater. Your kids can explore the craters that objects of different sizes and weights - marbles, Ping-Pong balls, and aluminum-foil balls - create.

What You Need

  • Small jar of cinnamon
  • Marbles, small and large
  • Aluminum-foil balls
  • Ping-Pong balls
  • Spoon
  • Copies of CRATERS

For each group:
  • 4 cups of salt and 4 cups of flour
  • Shoe box

Ahead of time: Mix flour and salt together in shoe boxes. Smooth the surface flat and cover with a light layer of cinnamon.

Talk About It

Hold up the balls. Ask: What might we see if we dropped these into the shoe boxes?

What To Do
  1. From crouching positions, kids drop the balls into the shoe boxes and then carefully remove balls. Ask: What do you see? (craters of different size and depth; some bigger then objects; may see “spokes” of cinnamon or small mounds of four/salt mixture around craters) Have students draw their craters.
  2. Ask: What might happen if we dropped the balls from higher up? (They would fall harder.)
  3. Have kids drop balls into the box from shoulder height. Ask: What do you see? (bigger, deeper craters) Why did that happen? (Balls had more time to pick up speed; faster balls make bigger holes.) Have kids draw these craters and compare with their first craters.

Next Stop
Ask: What might happen if we dropped objects that aren’t round into the shoe boxes? Try it!
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