Teaching Physical Science with Children’s Literature: The Magic School Bus and the Electric Field Trip


Another great book in the Magic School Bus series, The Magic School Bus and the Electric Field Trip, takes Ms. Frizzle’s students through the concepts of electricity in an exciting field trip. The field trip begins when the power goes out at school and Ms. Frizzle takes the student on a journey to find out the problem. Power lines are down in the streets and the students begin their exploration at a power plant. The students travel through steam and a turbine and enter into power lines. From there they travel to the library, explore inside a light bulb, continue on to a restaurant and Phoebe’s house, and then return back to the school. Throughout the storm many topics on energy are covered such as: how to make an electromagnet, different sources of energy, how a motor works, how a TV works, how a switch works, how steam works, and how to make a mini-power plant. It also discusses electrons and atoms.

Curriculum Connections:

The Magic School Bus and the Electric Field Trip can be used to cover a wide range of science topics in regards to energy in grades 3-5.  The book covers  information on different sources of energy, magnetism, electrons and atoms, and explains the science behind how many things work. In Virginia, this would correlate with SOLS 4.2 and 4.3 under Force, Motion, and Energy. VA SOL 6.2 could also be covered with the examples of non-renewable energy sources good for the environment.

Additional Resources:

  • The Florida Project Learning Tree has a great resource for teachers to use with The Magic School Bus and the Electric Field Trip on electricity. The packet includes discussion questions, vocabulary words,  vocabulary practice worksheets, comprehension questions, sequencing practice worksheets, and writing exercises.
  • Scholastic has some good activities on electricity, one is an experiment where students learn how the history of electricity and they learn how an electric light works.
  • Hotchalk has a good three week unit for students to learn about electricity. Topics include: renewable energy, wind turbines, testing electric currents, and energy resource.

Title: The Magic School Bus and the Electric Field Trip
  Joanna Cole
Scholastic Press
Publication Date
: 1997
Grade Range:

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