The Magic School Bus Explores the World of Bugs Lesson Plan
Young readers will love learning all kinds of insect information, from how bees make honey to how fireflies flash.
- Grades: 3–5
About this book
When her students have difficulty collecting bugs for a class terrarium, Ms. Frizzle decides that a field trip is in order. What follows is a rollicking, shape-changing romp through the world of insects!
- Learn fascinating facts about the world of bugs
- Understand the life cycles of selected insects (honeybee, butterfly, spider, firefly, water boatman, grasshopper, mosquito, praying mantis, and dragonfly)
- Understand insects' dining habits, predators, and unique characteristics
Before Reading: What's Your Bug IQ?
Before diving into the book, test your students' familiarity with creepy crawlers.
- On your chalkboard or a poster-sized piece of paper, create a "Bugs" heading.
- Ask your students for any facts they may know about bugs; list them under your heading.
- If necessary, prompt your students with questions such as
- How many legs do bugs have?
- How many eyes do bugs have?
- How are bugs born?
- Keep your list handy and, after reading through the book, correct or confirm your students' contributions.
Teaching Plan: Activities
Make a Bug Terrarium
Catch bug fever by creating your own classroom insect home!
- Scoop about 2 inches of dirt into an empty aquarium or large glass jar.
- Dig up several small plants and repot in your terrarium.
- Place a small dish of water in the dirt.
- Ask students to catch bugs (fireflies, spiders, crickets, etc.) at home and bring them to school.
- Place the gathered bugs in the terrarium and quickly cover the top with a very small mesh cover or a piece of paper or aluminum foil into which you've punched small air holes.
- Ask students to create a bug journal. They should record the number of bugs that went into the terrarium, the daily activities of the bugs, any reduction in the number of bugs, etc.
Note: If it is not feasible to create a living bug terrarium, you might ask your class to create a diorama terrarium instead. Use cut-up shoeboxes for terrariums. Add colored paper for background colors and plants, and then paste on found objects such as buttons, stones, bits of smooth colored glass, paper clips, etc. to represent their "bugs."
The Bug Cycle
Encourage students to learn more about their favorite bugs.
- Have each student pick his or her favorite bug from The Magic School Bus: Explores the World of Bugs.
- Using the book as a first reference, ask each student to draw a poster of the life cycle of his or her chosen bug. If necessary, allow students to make trips to the school library or computer center to do additional research.
- Have students make a list of their bugs' favorite foods, natural environment, and predators.
- When students have finished, have each present his or her poster to the class.
- Hold a classroom discussion about the chosen bugs. How many students chose the same insect? Were there any very unusual bugs selected? Have students actually seen examples of their favorite insect outside? How does each bug contribute to our lives?
Other Books About Bugs
Backyard Bugs by Robin Kittrell Laughlin
Amazing full-color, larger-than-life photographs present everyday bugs in a whole new light!
Bugs! Bugs! Bugs! (DK Reader Level 2) by Jennifer Dussling
Cool photos and enticing layouts capture the fascinating world of bugs.
Pet Bugs: A Kid's Guide to Catching and Keeping Touchable Insects by Sally Stenhouse Kneidel
A brief introduction to the principles of collecting, and which bugs MUST be avoided, is followed by a detailed look at 25 different bugs.
Other Magic School Bus Adventures
- The Magic School Bus Blows Its Top
- The Magic School Bus Gets Eaten
- The Magic School Bus in the Rain Forest
Teaching plan written by Rebecca Gómez