The Magic School Bus: The Wild Whale Watch Lesson Plan
- Grades: 3–5
About this book
Reading Level: 3.8
Subject Area: Science
Fasten your seatbelts, everybody, it's going to be a wet ride! Join Ms. Frizzle and her class as they head out to sea on a whale watch. And, as you'd expect when the Friz is involved, the field trip soon turns into an outrageous adventure. This time the crew heads under the sea to study whales, giants of the deep.
Students will pique their scientific curiosity and explore the undersea world of whales.
Standard: Students will gain an understanding of relationships among organisms and their physical environment.
Have you or your students ever heard a whale sing?
- Find a recording of whale songs online.
- Gather your class together and listen to all or part of the recording.
- First, ask students what the whales' songs call to mind. Do they sound like chipmunks? Ghosts? Car horns?
- Second, have your class imagine what the whales are communicating in each "song."
Under the Sea Mural
Create a sea scene in your classroom.
- construction paper or roll of art paper
- crayons or markers
- tape measure or ruler
- Cut a large (10 to 15 feet) piece of art paper from a roll, or tape together individual pieces of construction paper to make a long strip.
- Using a very light pencil line, divide the strip up so that each child gets one section to color. Depending on your class size, you may wish to divide your students into groups and create more than one mural.
- Have students work within their section, but also collaboratively, to create a contiguous ocean scene.
- Each student should choose his or her favorite whale from the book to illustrate. Be sure to include other sea creatures mentioned in the book, such as tuna, tiny fish, and plankton.
- Help students draw whales somewhat to scale; Blue whales should be much bigger than Minke whales, for instance.
- Tape the mural (or murals) to your classroom walls or post on a bulletin board.
It's a Whale's World
How are whales specially adapted to their environment?
- Divide your students into pairs. Provide each team with paper and pencils.
- Ask each team to do additional research — whether in class, in the school library, or on the Internet — about one type of whale chosen from the book. Try to ensure that each group chooses a different whale.
- Have students make a list of ways in which "their" whale has specifically adapted to its ocean environment. Students can and should comment on everything from the whale's coloring to its teeth to its blowhole.
- After an allotted period of time, have the teams come back together. One at a time, have them read from and explain their lists of adaptations.
- Talk about how various types of whales have evolved differently — or the same — to meet their needs.
Would your class be interested in sponsoring a whale? A list of institutions that will arrange an "adoption" is provided on the last page.
Other Books About Whales
Whales Dolphins Porpoises
By Mark Carwardine
Whales, dolphins, and porpoises are presented with DK trademark precise text and engaging photos.
Draw 50 Sharks, Whales, and Other Sea Creatures
By Lee J. Ames
Exercise another part of your students' minds and create budding artists with the easy-to-follow, step-by-step directions in this book.
By Cynthia Rylant
An award-winning wordsmith has created poetry (and illustrations) spotlighting and celebrating the mysterious world of whales.
Teaching plan written by Rebecca Gómez