Build on students' interest in The Magic School Bus with science lesson plans and activities that encourage hands-on learning.
Field Trip Notes
Whoops! It's Ms. Frizzle's birthday, and the kids are planning a surprise — but they've forgotten the cake. A field trip to a bakery seems like the perfect solution. The kids accidentally get shrunk to ingredient size, but still manage to make cake batter and learn about chemistry in the process. Then the baker pours them into the cake pan along with the batter. The Bus is getting baked! Can what they've learned about chemistry save the Magic School Bus kids?
Is it baking — or is it chemistry? Ms. Frizzle's class learns that baking is like doing a chemistry experiment. Your students can make chemistry happen as they follow this recipe for pretzels. You or another adult can help groups of four to eight kids bake batches of pretzels. If you do not have access to an oven, make the dough with children and let them carry portions home in plastic bags to make with their families.
What You Need
- Copies of Pretzel Chemistry (PDF)
- Access to an oven
- Utensils and ingredients from the recipe
- Mixing bowl
- Greased bowl
- Greased cookie sheet
- Cutting board
- Clean dish towel
- Wooden spoon
- 1/4 ounce package or 1/2 tablespoon active dry yeast
- 1/2 cup warm water
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup flour (to use on cutting board)
- 3 tablespoons melted butter
- Extra salt
Talk About It
As you follow the recipe, encourage children to talk about the changes they observe, and ask the questions below.
What To Do
- Add yeast, honey, and salt to the warm water. Let sit for about 5 minutes. Ask: What happens when you add yeast and honey to the warm water? (The mixture makes bubbles.)
- Stir in 1 1/2 cups of flour to make a thick mixture.
- Sprinkle flour on the cutting board. Knead the dough on the cutting board for 5-7 minutes. Ask: What happens after you knead the dough and let it sit? (The carbon dioxide makes the dough rise.)
- Put the dough in the greased bowl and cover with a dish towel. Let the dough sit for about 20 minutes at room temperature.
- Roll out long, thin pieces of dough and twist them to make shapes or letters. Place these on the greased cookie sheet.
- Pour melted butter and sprinkle salt over the pretzels.
- Bake the pretzels for 10-12 minutes.
- While the pretzels are cooking, turn on the light in the oven (or remove the tray briefly) to show students the cooking pretzels. Ask: What happens to the pretzel shapes while they’re baking? (They get fatter.)
Kids can put vinegar and baking soda in a soda bottle, and then place a balloon over the top of the bottle. What happens?