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A Favorite Video From Childhood Helps Teach Motion & Forces

By chemteacher

At a certain age, what is old becomes new again. Students in the 9th grade will be excited to watch a program from their childhood, and teachers will be thrilled with the learning that accompanies it. Show the Magic School Bus Plays Ball as part of your study of motion and forces.


My ninth grade students love to watch shows that remind them of elementary school. Maybe they think it's "easy" content. Whatever the reason, I like to capitalize on their attentiveness. The Magic School Bus Plays Ball has a lot of advanced science that second graders don't usually grasp. I recommend that you use this video as part of your study of motion and forces. Simply cut and paste the viewing sheet and you'll be ready to go! For added practice, I've added 3 calculations based on the video to the end of the worksheet.

Worksheet Questions and Tasks

1. Why did Dorothy Ann (DA) interrupt the game?

2. What was the book about?

3. What stops the red sled?

4. What is on pg. 97?

5. What happens to Ralphie when he jumps on the field?

6. On the frictionless field an object in motion (a) slowly stops or (b) stays in motion?

7. What force gets Dorothy Ann moving?

8. How did everyone get into position for the baseball game? Why was this necessary?

9. What happened when Wanda pitched? (2 things)

10. Why was the game called?

11. What 2 forces can get you moving?

12. Why did the bus get stuck?

13. How did they dislodge the bus?

14. Name 3 things that need friction to work in our world (not in video).

15. If you were a magic school bus character, who would you be?

16. Where can you find non-friction on earth? List 4 places.

17. Is there really something with no friction on earth? Explain.

Problems & Calculations: You may work with a partner. Show labels & set-up!

18. Miss Frizzle looks out of the magic school bus and sees another car going backward. What is her frame of reference?

19. Ralphie slid 40 m on the frictionless field in 4 minutes. How fast was he going in cm/s?

20. All the kids were chasing Carlos to get him back for his silly jokes. If Carlos ran 150 m at 0.5 m/s, how long did it take him to cover this distance? Is that fast or slow for a person?