The Magic School Bus Ups & Downs
Field Trip Notes
The talk show reporter Gerri Poveri is reporting that there is a monster in Walker Lake (apparently based on the Loch Ness Monster, as it is also plesiosaur-like) and the class is very eager (especially Wanda) to find it. The Bus’s automatic sinking button is broken so the class needs to figure out other way to get it to sink. They learn that by adding weight and "crumpling" the bus it will cause the Bus to sink. However, at the bottom, they discover that the monster was a fake; Gerri Poveri made the story up to increase her ratings. The have to figure out how to make the bus float again so they can tell the truth to the public.
Make a Sinker Float
Time: 20-30 minutes
Group Size: One or two
While trying to sink the Bus, Ms. Frizzle’s class learns that shape and weight are two factors that determine whether an object floats. Your kids can change the shape - but not the weight - of clay balls so they float.
What You Need
Talk About It
Gather objects. Ask: Which do you think will float? Sink? Have kids test the objects and sort them into sinkers and floaters. Ask: What might make one object sink and another float?
What To Do
Give each team 20 pennies and challenge them to change their boats so they’ll hold the most pennies. Ask: What happens as you add pennies? (Boats sink lower in water.) How can you change you boat to float more pennies? (Change the shape: Make the boat bigger and the sides higher, to push more water out of the way. High sides also keep water from swamping boats.)