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The Magic School Bus and the Climate Challenge

Last updated Thursday, December 8, 2011

Author: Joanna Cole
Illustrator: Bruce Degan
Date of Publication: 2010
ISBN: 0590108263
Grade Level: 4th    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Dec. 2011

Synopsis: From Booklist:
Verbal and visual elements work seamlessly together as Ms. Frizzle takes her students soaring around the earth to study climate change, through the atmosphere to understand the greenhouse effect, above solar and wind power installations to see alternative energy sources, and above their town to observe carbon dioxide emissions. Back at school and at home, they start putting energy-saving practices into effect. Given the breadth and complexity of the topic, this may be the most ambitious book yet in the Magic School Bus series. Cole and Degen carry it off with their matchless combination of intelligence, style, and grade-school humor.

Note to readers:
•  Read the inside jacket of book to the kids. The story will take longer to read than time allotted, so remind the kids they can check out the book at the school library.

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  Where’s Korea?
•  What is Global Warming?
•  If you had a teacher with a magic school bus, where would you go?

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  Name one thing you will do to decrease Global Warming (ask after the kids understand what it is)
•  Read pages at the end of the book – the questions there for Ms. Frizzle’s Class could be great additional questions to ask the kids.

Craft ideas:
•  Draw a bus or a MAGIC School Bus. Encourage the kids to outfit it with special gear for their own adventure.
•  Draw molecules and show how carbon dioxide rises
•  Make a pinwheel and decorate it

*Note: These craft ideas are just suggestions. You can use them, but you don’t have to use them. You can expand upon them, or add your own twist. Remember, though, that the focus of your time should not be on the development and execution of a craft; the focus should be on the read-aloud and the enjoyment of the book!