The Magic School Bus Makes a Stink
Ms. Frizzle's class learns how we smell. Your students investigate how well their own odor detectors can identify different smells.
- Grades: 3–5
Field Trip Notes
Flora Whiff, the famous expert on smell — whose nose knows — comes to school to judge the First Annual Smell Search. Ms. Frizzle's class creates a unique smell that is bound to take first prize, but Janet, determined to win herself, changes their smell to an odor only a skunk could love. The kids discover the secret to what makes things smell. Now can they find a way to make sure their creation doesn't make a big stink?
Time: 20 minutes
Group Size: 4-6
Ms. Frizzle's class explores Janet's nose to learn how we smell. Your students investigate how well their own odor detectors can identify smells.
What You Need
- Four plastic film canisters, plus one for each group
- Four objects with strong odors (Some ideas: cotton balls soaked with perfume, ammonia, spices, citrus peel, soap, toothpaste, coffee, tea, pencil shavings, flavored breakfast cereals, pizza.)
- Hole punch
- Copies of Odor Detectives page
Talk About It
Ask: What smells can you identify?
What To Do
- Number the canisters. Punch a hole in each lid.
- Put a strong-smelling object in each canister.
- Tell students to sniff gently. Caution them not to touch lids with their noses.
- Rotate the canisters among groups for identification and response to the odor. Ask: Do odors send a message to you? What are some signals these odors send to you?
- Let each group create an odor challenge for the others. Ask: How did you choose your odor?
Ask: Do smells need time to travel from the source to your nose? Group kids at the back of the room. Uncap a mystery bottle of perfume or aftershave. Time how long it takes kids to detect the odor.