The Magic School Bus Goes to Seed
With help from Ms. Frizzle's class, students find out how seeds are created, and how they travel and grow into plants.
- Grades: 3–5
Field Trip Notes
The photographer from Plant It! Magazine is coming to photograph Ms. Frizzle's class garden. But Phoebe doesn't have a plant. She wants to get her plant from the garden at her old school and replant it in her new school garden. There isn't much time, so Ms. Frizzle turns the Magic School Bus into a tiny ladybug-bus and flies the class to the other schools garden. The kids get a bug's-eye view of the flower world and find out how seeds are created, how they travel, and how they grow into plants. Will the class be able to get the seed from Phoebe's plant back to their garden? Can Ms. Frizzle sprout the seed in time for the photo shoot?
Ms. Frizzle's class hangs on inside the tiny Magic School Bus as it hitches a ride on a wind-traveling seed. The seed travels by clinging to an animal — in this case, a man on a bicycle!
What You Need
- Different seeds (such as maple tree, sunflower, cockleburs)
- Cups of water
- Stuffed animals
- Copies of SEEDS ON THE MOVE page
Talk About It
Ask children: Have you ever seen seeds travel? How did they move?
What to Do?
- Each child chooses three seeds to test.
- On the chart, children write the name of each seed and draw a picture of it.
- Have kids guess how they think each seed travels, then circle wind, water, or hitchhiker under PREDICTION on the chart.
- Kids test each seed and circle results under OBSERVATION on the chart.
Wind Test: Hold the seed in the air and let it drop. If it drifts, it shows how a seed can travel by wind.
Water Test: Drop seeds into a cup of water and stir. The ones that float show how seeds can travel by water.
Hitchhiker Test: Put a stuffed animal on top of each seed, press down, then lift up the animal. The seeds that stick show how seeds can travel by sticking to an animal.
Do this activity in the autumn. You can find wind-traveling seeds from late fall flowers. Pick up hitchhikers by walking among weeds in a vacant lot of field. Buy sunflower or other seeds that can float to demonstrate how seeds can travel by water.
Give kids materials to make their own wind traveler, water traveler, or hitchhiker seeds. Have a friend test the seeds to find out how they travel.