The Magic School Bus Gets Swamped

Field Trip Notes
The debate is intense: Should Walkerville get rid of the swamp by the river and replace it with a fantastic new shopping mall, or build the mall somewhere else? Carlos, representing his class, is given the thankless task of persuading the town council to keep the smelly old swamp. And if he loses the debate, he loses to...Janet! The kids discover that the swamp is an important habitat and a natural water filter. But the council is not convinced to keep it until...FLOOD!
Settle Down

Going Hands-On

Time: 40 minutes
Group Size: 4

Ms. Frizzles class discovers that wetlands help clean polluted water. Your students investigate how wetlands filter dirty water.

What You Need

  • Pail of sand and soil
  • Clock with second hand
  • Copies of SETTLE DOWN page

For Each Group
  • Glass of water
  • Tablespoon
  • Cookie sheet
  • Bowl

For half the groups:
  • 2 damp (not wet) sponges

Talk About It

Ask: Which carries more dirt - moving water or calm water? (Moving water; dirt settles out in calm water.)

What To Do
  1. Supervise as groups make glasses of muddy water. Make an extra to serve as a control.
  2. Let kids investigate how dirt settles out in Dirt Drop.
  3. For the Muddy Water Race, give each group a cookie sheet and bowl. Give half the groups damp sponges to represent wetland plants.
  4. Hold races between sponge and nonsponge teams. Each team needs a Pourer, Timekeeper, Water Catcher (to collect water running off the cookie sheet), and Recordkeeper.
  5. Compare the amount and muddiness of the collected water. Use the control to ask: Is the water as muddy as the dirty water we made? How are the sponges like wetland plants? How are they different?

Next Stop
What kinds of wetlands are near you? Create an Our Wetlands bulletin board of plants and animals that live in local wetlands.
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