Teaching Earth Science with Children’s Literature: The Magic School Bus Blows Its Top

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 Introduction and Summary 

Written by, Joanna Cole and illustrated by, Bruce Degen, The Magic School Bus Blows Its Top is a great book of adventure to be enjoyed by children of many ages.  Ms. Frizzle is at it again.  This time the class is trying to construct an enormous globe but they find that some of the pieces are missing.  Apparently there is an island so new that it hasn’t been discovered yet so it wasn’t in the globe kit.  The class decides to search for the mystery island so they can name it.  You can probably guess what happens next.  That’s right, the magic school bus stretches and spins and pulls and takes the class to the bottom of the ocean to discover where and how this new island is forming.  It turns out to be a volcano erupting and the class arrives just in time to learn how the process can eventually form a new piece of land.  The students name the island and write  a book about their experiences.

Curriculum Connections

This very recognizeable text is a nice way to introduce an adventurous spirit in the classroom.  Its great companion literature when introcucing  Earth sciencet topics with students.  It could be used when teaching about volcanoes or how the Earth is constantly changing due to natural events.  The book serves as a nice, playful introduction to some potentially complicated topics. (5.6, 5.7)

Additional Resources

This Scholastic interactive site is could be a nice place to direct students for independent center time activities on the internet.

Here’s a place to look for lesson plan ideas related to The Magic School Bus Blows Its Top and volcanos.

This National Geographic site has great pictures of real volcanoes so students can see what the eruption looks like in action.

General Information

BookThe Magic School Bus Blows Its Top

AuthorJoanna Cole

IllustratorBruce Degen

Publisher:  Scholastic Inc.

Publication Date:  1996

Pages:  32

Grade Range:  2-5

ISBN:  0590508350