Theater Education for Disadvantaged Students

Feb 14, 2012

The Magic School Bus Project Report

Thank you for your generous support of Oregon Children’s Theatre!

After 25 years of scientific adventures, the Magic School Bus made its first-ever landing in Portland, in Oregon Children’s Theatre’s production of The Magic School Bus Live: The Climate Challenge! In the play, Ms. Frizzle and her class circle the globe, from Antarctica to the equator, learning about global warming. In classic School Bus style, they start with the big picture, then take a closer look at the reasons the world is getting warmer.

18,670 students from 208 schools in Oregon and Southwest Washington have attended or will attend an OCT school performance of The Magic School Bus Live: The Climate Challenge. OCT provided full scholarships to 581 students and partial scholarships to 1,588 students. We invited the teachers to attend a complimentary performance to preview the play before bringing their classes, and we hosted a free professional development workshop for teachers with OCT’s Technical Director.

OCT created free, in-depth resource guides for teachers who attend field trip performances of The Magic School Bus. Classroom activities include:

  • Climate Up Close: Students answer research questions about different climates, and apply the information to write postcards home from different regions of the world.
  • Portland Then and Portland Now: Teachers use aerial photographs of the region to introduce human impact on the environment and physical and man-made landmarks. Students compare Portland today with what Portland might have been like 100 years ago.
  • Trace Your Carbon Footprint: Students examine ways in which they use energy at school and home, and create carbon footprint posters detailing how they can do their part to help the environment by using less energy.
  • Paper or Plastic? Teachers ask students what happens to different materials as they break down and decompose over time and how might this impact the environment. Students conduct a hands-on experiment in which they subject paper and plastic bags to different environmental forces over a long period of time.
  • Going Green Journals. Students keep records of their energy use and the things they’re throwing away to begin a conversation about waste reduction, using energy more carefully, and going green.

In The Oregonian’s review of The Magic School Bus, Holly Johnson emphasized the educational impact of the production: "The Magic School Bus Live…combines upbeat music, clever choreography, multimedia images and more to bring home the idea that climate change is a hot topic and one of the most important issues we face.”

Please feel free to contact us if we can provide any additional information about The Magic School Bus or Oregon Children's Theatre’s educational services for disadvantaged schools. Thank you again for your support!



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Project Leader

Rachel Tusler

Portland, OR United States

Where is this project located?

Map of Theater Education for Disadvantaged Students