Teaching Life Science with Children’s Literature: The Magic School Bus on the Ocean Floor


The Magic School Bus on the Ocean Floor   by Joanna Cole and illustrated by Bruce Degen is a book about Miss Frizzle’s class doing a project on the ocean and learning about the kinds of animals and plants that live there.  Of course, a class trip is in her plan book. Those familiar with the inimitable school bus and its previous fantastical journeys are in for another treat; those who are not are in for a wild introduction.  With her usual dash and aplomb, the teacher gathers her students, they board the bus, and off they go on an adventuresome trip to the ocean floor.  All listen as she informs them about the geologic strata they pass, the flora and fauna at the various depths, the unique interdependence of the undersea world, and in turn, how its survival depends upon humankind’s actions on land. 


1.  “We are now pasing over the continental shelf” (pg. 12).

2.  “Many kinds of fish swim in large groups called schools” (pg.13).

3.  “A coral reef makes a good home for many ocean plants and animals” (pg.24).

Curriculum Connections

The Magic School Bus on the Ocean Floor is a book for for children ages 4 to 8.  It relates to students investigating and understanding that environments support a diversity of plants and animals that share limited resources (VA SOL 3.6).

Additional Resources 

1.  This website  is a list of other books by Joanna Cole.

2.  CanTeach is a site with songs and poems about others in and around the ocean.

3.  This word search  is an activity about animals that live in the ocean.

Book:  The Magic School Bus on the Ocean Floor
Author:  Joanna Cole
Illustrator:  Bruce Degen
Publisher: Scholastic Paperbacks
Publication date:  1994
Pages:  32
Grade Range:  PreK-3
ISBN:  978-0590414319

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