Build on students' interest in The Magic School Bus with science lesson plans and activities that encourage hands-on learning.
Field Trip Notes
When Wanda finds out that one of Ms. Frizzle's ancestors was Redbeard the Pirate, she naturally wants to follow the treasure map he left. The map leads them to a coral reef, and the kids find out firsthand that life here is risky. To survive, some plants and animals sometimes form the most surprising partnerships. But Wanda's not interested in partnerships. She just wants to find that treasure. To get the kids in the swim of things, Ms. Frizzle turns them into different sea creatures, and Wanda-Anemone, Wanda-Shrimp, and then Wanda-Remora begins to understand that partnerships are more important than she thought.
Going Hands-On: Tied Together
Time: 20 minutes
Group Size: 2
Wanda thinks she can reach the treasure alone, but she soon learns that survival on the coral reef often depends on cooperation. Your kids find out how partners can help run a race.
What You Need
- 4- or 5-foot scarf or cloth strip for each pair of students
- A clock with a visible second hand
Talk About It
- Why do we cooperate with each other?
- Does cooperation benefit you?
- Do wild animals live in our community? Which ones?
- Why might animals want to live here?
- Are humans the only ones who cooperate? Why might coral reef animals become partners? (Cooperation benefits one or both.)
What You Do
- Mark “Start” and “Finish” lines on a racecourse. The finish line is the safety of the reef. Place the clock for all to see.
- Set the scene: Imagine you are a coral reef critter, with only one leg. A big, HUNGRY fish is chasing you. You must get to the reef to hide. Can you make it in time?
- Round 1: Kids hop on one leg down the racecourse. Yell the time for Start, and have them time themselves to the finish. Ask students: Could you run faster with more legs?
- For Round 2, pair kids of similar heights and abilities. Help them tie ankles together — left ankle of one to right ankle of other. They cannot communicate, but they must not drag the other. Let pairs time themselves down the course. Ask students: Could you run faster if partners cooperated?
- For Round 3, let pairs plan how to coordinate three-legged movements. Ask: Could cooperation help partners survive?
Make a bulletin board of coral reef partnerships. Have pairs of kids research and draw the partners.