April 2000 Interview with Ms. Frizzle
- Grades: 3–5
Ms. Frizzle was interviewed by Scholastic students in April 2000.
What makes a bug a bug, an insect an insect, and a spider a spider?
An insect has six legs, three body parts, and usually four wings and two antennae. A spider has eight legs, two body parts, and no wings or antennae. A bug can be classified as both of these, or any other creepy crawly animal.
How many different kinds of bugs are there?
There are 1.25 million different species of bugs known today. However, scientists are always discovering new ones. There are more bugs than there are all animals put together in the world.
What was the first bug in the world?
Well that's an interesting question! Even before dinosaurs, dragonflies and cockroach-type insects were around.
What bug lives the longest, and for how long?
The wood-boring beetle can live up to 50 years! They stay in the larva stage for up to 40 years, so they sure make for a big baby!
How can you tell which bugs are males and which are females?
There are many ways to determine that — coloration, size of the bug, size of the bugs' antennae, and size of their body parts.
Do bugs kiss?
Well if you're a "kissing bug" you do! Many bugs may not actually kiss but they show affection in other ways, like "dancing" or flashing in a certain sequence, like fireflies.
Why do some bugs go toward lights?
Many bugs fly at night and use the moon and stars to guide them. When they see a light they sometimes get confused and think the light is the moon.
What bugs are eatable?
Many types are eatable, but whether or not you would want to eat them is a different story. Many worms and grubs and ants offer protein.
How many days can a bug live without food?
It would depend on the bug. There are some bugs that never eat. They get all their nutrition from the air.
What is the ugliest bug you have ever seen?
I don't think bugs are ugly; I love them all! However, some of the strangest bugs I've ever seen are the "treehoppers" and the spike-headed katydid!
Why are bugs so slimy?
I have yet to meet a bug who was slimy. Most bugs have a hard outer shell, called an exoskeleton, to protect them.
Why do bugs have those long tentacles on their heads? Are they for hearing?
Those are the "antennae." They are sensory organs used for smelling, tasting, and communicating.
How do spiders make their webs?
They produce liquid silk inside themselves and have an organ called spinnerets to make the silk into a strand of webs. Although all spiders have silk, not all spiders can make webs.
Is it true that spiders die if they break their legs? Why?
Sometimes, a spider needs all its legs to survive, though many times a daddy longlegs can do just fine with seven.
How did spiders get the name "spiders"?
It comes from the Old English derivation meaning "to spin."
What kinds of spiders are the most dangerous to be around?
For humans, it is the black widow and the brown recluse. Both of these are extremely dangerous to humans and pets. If you see one, or think you saw one, make sure to tell your mom or dad or another responsible adult!
Which insect is the most harmful to man? Which are the most helpful?
The insects that carry the most poison or venom are harvester ants, bees, and wasps. Some people are allergic to this substance and can become very ill. Almost all other insects are helpful to the world.
Is it true that some bugs spit acid?
No, there aren't any bugs that spit acid! However, the bombardier beetle shoots out hot liquid.
Why does it itch when you get a mosquito bite?
Mosquitoes have a substance that they inject into our skin that keeps our blood from clotting. This anti-coagulant substance is what causes our skin to itch.
What is the biggest insect in the world?
The Goliath beetle is the heaviest — it weighs as much as a quarter-pound hamburger. The giant stick bug is the longest, and the South African moth has a wing span the size of an open book.
How can insects with large bodies and small wings, like the bumblebee, fly
Many insects like the bumblebee move their wings so fast that no matter how heavy they are they will still stay up in the air.
Why do bees sting?
It is their way of protecting themselves and their hive.
How many eggs does a queen bee lay in one day?
Queen bees can lay over 1,500 eggs a day for several days.
Why is ladybug called a ladybug?
A ladybug's name comes the British derivation for "Our Lady's beetle." This bug was dedicated to the Virgin Mary as an honored insect!
Where did the name "butterfly" come from?
Many bugs have a common name and a scientific name. Sometimes we don't know exactly how their common name came about. Do you think someone wanted to see if butter could fly?
What goes on inside a cocoon after the caterpillar goes in?
I always get mushy when I'm asked this! The caterpillar's body starts to turn to mush, and metamorphosis, which means "change," happens. From the mush comes a beautiful butterfly or moth.
What is the difference between a cocoon and a chrysalis?
A cocoon is spun of silk, and the chrysalis is actually the skin of the caterpillar. It hardens to make a safe home for the transformation.
How can we help create a habitat for the monarch butterfly since the rain forests are dwindling?
Monarch butterflies love milkweed. This is where they lay their eggs and eat after they have hatched. If you could make a habitat filled with milkweed, I think that would attract them. Also, as always, we need to take care of our Earth!
Do you have a favorite insect? If so, why?
I think insects are marvelous, one of my favorites is the ladybug and the butterfly and the bee and the ant and the beetle and the wasp...I guess I don't have a favorite!
Do you have pet bugs?
Yes, I do! As a matter fact I was just discussing some of your questions with my pet tarantula, "Tequila." She is very happy you are all so interested in her and her family tree.
How do you get your students excited about going on all these scary field trips?
Actually it's the other way around. My students get me excited about my field trips. And at times they may appear scary, but we are always safe and have lots of protections. They don't call it the "magic" school bus for nothing!
Why do you call it "The Magic School Bus"?
Because it is Magic!!!
What's your first name?
How old are you?
A young woman like myself — and might I stress young — never reveals this!
Are you married?
How do you friz your hair?
Glad you asked that — it's natural!
Where do you get all of your themed dresses?
I have a certain knack for design, don't you think? I have a special dressmaker friend who makes all of my dresses after I choose the fabric. My accessories are all made by myself with help from Liz!
What do you do like to do on Saturday and Sunday?
Wow, it seems that when I'm not teaching, I'm learning! I like to go outdoors and hike. I also like to rollerblade, swim, read and cook.
Why does it rain so much in the spring?
In most of the United States, spring is a rainy time of year. In Africa, the rainy season comes in the summer. I think it's Earth's way of watering all the plants in the world no matter when it happens.
What do bugs do when it rains?
The same as we do — they sing! Actually they find hiding places much like we do — under flowers and plants inside small holes and trees.
Where do bees and fireflies go when the weather turns cold?
Many times bees and fireflies are not alive during cold or winter. However, if they are, they will find shelter in their hives or other safe, warm places.
Do polar bears get cold?
Polar bears are wonderful animals. They have special padding on their feet to keep them warm and their skin secretes a special oil to keep their fur waterproof. Also their metabolism, the rate in which energy inside your body is used, slows down very much.
Where is the largest population of whales found?
Whales are found all over the world, in all the oceans of the world, so there is not one spot that has more than any other. Since 1963, whales have been protected against hunting.
Why do birds eat worms?
Birds not only eat worms, they eat insects and meat too! A worm is a huge source of protein. Did you know that in some parts of the world, people eat worms as a special treat?
Ms. Frizzle, is there anything else you would like to say?
Wahoo! What an exciting day for me. You all had such great questions. Like I always say, "When knowledge comes a knockin', open up the door!" I can't wait to tell Keesha, Arnold, DA, Carlos, Tim, Wanda, and Liz what a smart world we have. Burn rubber to discover and remember: Take Chances, Make Mistakes and my favorite, GET MESSY! See you on the Bus!