Ms. Frizzle's Adventures in Ancient Egypt Discussion Guide
Words to know, themes to explore, and much more
- Grades: 1–2, 3–5
Ms. Frizzle's Adventures is a new series from the creators of The Magic School Bus. In this series, Joanna Cole and Bruce Degen do for Social Studies what the Magic School Bus did for Science — make it engaging, accessible, and fun for kids.
Summarize the Book
Ms. Frizzle joins a tour group headed for Egypt, but ends up leading the group on a visit to ancient Egypt. With Ms. Frizzle in charge, the group visits a busy Egyptian town, arrives, uninvited, at a scribe's house, farms along the Nile, helps build a pyramid and joins a banquet at the Pharaoh's palace.
Throughout the journey, readers learn about ancient customs, hieroglyphics, farming and commerce, how the pyramids were built, and even the burial rituals of the ancient Egyptian people.
Show What You Know
Children will have many ideas about the concepts introduced in Ancient Egypt. Use these questions as a starting point for building on what they already know.
- Show children a map of Africa. Point out that Egypt is in Northern Africa.
- Review the timeline on the opening page of the book.
- Point out the Nile, the longest river in the world. Discuss how this river might have influenced life in ancient Egypt. How might it affect Egypt today?
Discuss the Book
Compare and Contrast
Compare and contrast life in modern Egypt with life in ancient Egypt.
Why do you think the author separates Herb, the tour guide, from his group? What does Herb's separate adventure do for the story?
A nonfiction book is a book about real people, places and things. Is Ms. Frizzle's Adventure a nonfiction book? What is real about it? What isn't?
Read for Information
Choose a part of the book you would like to learn more about. List a question you want answered. Using this book and other resources, try to answer it.
Point of View
Some people think the Aswan Dam is a great thing for Egypt. Others see it as a big environmental problem. Research the dam and write an argument for why it helpful or harmful.
In this book, Ms. Frizzle decided to explore Egypt on her summer vacation. Why is she eager to travel? What are some of the things a person might learn by visiting a new place?
Words to Know
Explore the Themes
Do You Read Me?
Hieroglyphics was a combination of picture words and symbols. Try creating your own picture language. Then use it to write a note to your friends.
The Pharaoh's Jewels
The ancient Egyptians created beautiful jewelry for decoration. Design Egyptian jewelry using glossy pictures from magazines. Cut the magazines into long, thin triangles (about 1 inch at the base and 10 inches long). Place a pencil at the base and roll up the triangle. Remove the pencil and shellac with watered down glue. When dry, cut the strip into beads and string up.
Drawing in Style
When ancient Egyptians drew people, they combined front and side views. Have your discussion group draw pictures of each other in the Egyptian style.
Ancient Egyptians used a barter system instead of money. Create picture cards showing everyday items such as necklaces, sandals, bread, and paint. Using the cards, act out a day in an ancient Egyptian marketplace.
Try constructing pyramids using straws or wire and clay at the corners. Attach a wire handle and dip the pyramids in bubble solution to create pyramid-shaped bubbles. Create other pyramids out of graph paper and tape. Use the graph paper to find out the area of the pyramid.
Wrap a doll in gauze strips and decorate your "mummies" with symbols and colors to show what the mummy was like in life. Make a list of the items you want buried with your mummies.
About the Author and Illustrator
Writer Joanna Cole has written more than 90 nonfiction and fiction books for children, and she is the winner of the Washington Post/ Children's Book Guild Nonfiction award. She has also received the David McCord Literature Citation for her significant contribution to excellence in the field of children's books. Ms. Cole says, "writing is hard work, but it's the greatest fun in the world."
Artist Bruce Degen has illustrated more than thirty books for children, including Jane Yolen's Commander Toad series. He also wrote and illustrated Jamberry, Daddy is a Doodlebug and Sailaway Home. Mr. Degen has loved art ever since he was a child growing up in Brooklyn, New York.
As with the Magic School Bus series, Joanna Cole and Bruce Degen collaborated to create this book, Ms. Cole writing, and Mr. Degen illustrating, with both of them doing extensive research. The author and illustrator live with their families in Connecticut.
More Books by Joanna Cole and Bruce Degen
The Magic School Bus
- Explores the Senses
- At the Waterworks
- Lost in the Solar System
- And the Electric Field Trip
- Inside a Hurricane
- Inside the Earth
- Inside the Human Body
- On the Ocean Floor
- Inside a Beehive
Discussion guide written by Anne Schreiber.