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Make a Bus For Us

Context for this Lesson

School or Organization: 

TOPIC: Transportation,  story structure, making predictions

GRADE: Kindergarten


  • What things do you see that move around town?
  • How do we use our knowledge of a story to recognize story structure in a narrative?
  • How can we make and confirm predictions?



§110.11. Kindergarten ELA 

Knowledge and Skills

  • 15 (A) Dictate or write information for lists, captions, or invitations.
  • 4 (A) Predict what might happen next based on the cover, title, and illustration.
  • 6 (A) Identify elements of a story including setting, character, and key events.

Common Core State Standards

Reading Standards for Literature Kindergarten

Key Ideas and Details

  • (3) With prompting and support, identify characters, settings, and major events in a story.

Integration of Knowledge and Ideas

  • (7) With prompting and support, describe the relationship between illustrations and the story in which they appear (e.g., what moment in a story an illustration depicts).


  • A Bus For Us by Suzanne Bloom
  • Collection of shape cut-outs to make a bus
  • iPad, iPhone or camera to take a photo and/or video of Machine


Have students sit at the carpet in a large circle. "Hello boys and girls. Someone left a bag here in our class, I think it is for us." One by one, take out the different shapes from the bag that will eventually combine to build bus. Have students name the shape and it’s attributes to confirm that it actually is a rectangle (review math skills from previous DBI lesson) as well as what part of a vehicle it is (the circle is a wheel, the rectangle is the chassis). Work together to build the bus out of the shapes in the middle of the carpet.


"I have a story to read about a bus, I wonder if Mrs. Garcia left this for us to find? A bus is pretty important in this story. I want us to pay very close attention to the parts of the story that repeat over and over again as well as what we see in the pictures."



Read The Bus For Us until page 25. On each page, pay attention to the sentence structure as well as the different visible parts of each vehicle. Keep a chart list of all of the parts that we see on more than one vehicle (we would probably not add the chains from the tow truck, but we would make a note that many vehicles have special machinery or parts).

"Okay friends. I have a special treat for us today. We have a visitor from the Austin ISD Transportation Department. They are the people who drive our district’s buses and keep them clean and in good shape. We are going to count down from 10 and by the time we get to one, Mrs. Morales will be here. Are we ready?" The students count down from 10 while the teacher puts on a hat.


"Hello my darlings! I am so happy to see you all safe at school and in your classroom. I have heard that you did a wonderful job during the World Math Cup at creating drawings out of your shapes and thought that you might be able to help me. Did you get the bag of shapes I left behind?" Look at and admire the bus. See if there is another way to rearrange the shapes to make a different vehicle, add new shapes in or take a few out. "Oh, I knew you would be the students to ask! Now, I also know that you are reading The Bus For Us. We know that it is a narrative story, but the problem that the kids have in the story is very real! Austin’s school buses are breaking down and we need to replace them. I heard that you are all amazing problem solvers and drawers, so I thought that you might be able to help me work to design a new bus."


Review the different parts of a bus list and then start to consider what other parts of a vehicle might be useful to have on a bus. "What else might we need on a bus? A water fountain in case we get thirsty? A bathroom in case we get stuck in traffic and really need to go? An art station to keep us busy in the mornings or so we can do our homework on the way home after school? An entertainment system so we can watch the Magic School Bus when we go on field trips?"

Start with the basic parts of a bus and invite students up to make the motions and sounds that represent the part (wheel, headlight, break) and then invite more students to come up and add the newer, more innovative parts of the bus that we plan to design. When all students have formed a part of the bus and are making their motion and sound, take a photo graph and short video to share with them. "Oh, what a wonderful vehicle you makde! I need to take a picture of this for my boss." Guide students to find a place to stand while they are doing their motion that would correspond with the part of the vehicle they are portraying. Remind other students to continue with their motions while the other students are finding their place. Call students back to their carpet spots.


As a group, review the picture and discuss some of the details we see. Make a group drawing of what the bus would look like if it were made out of vehicle parts instead of our bodies. Ask students to return to their tables and start working on a drawing of the vehicle to send along with the picture. Add details, labels and colors to let people know what color the different parts of the bus should be. When the students are done the teacher will take off their hat and come out of role. Finish the story at carpet.




  • What was the problem we helped Mrs. Morales solve? How did we solve it?


  • How will transportation be improved by our new bus designs?


  • How does our bus compare to some of the other ones we read about in the book?