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Spins a Web Under Construction Gets a Bright Idea

"When do they learn to pick up after themselves?"
Mrs. Li

Under Construction is the fourth episode of the third season of The Magic School Bus. It is about structures.


The class is going on a field trip to the new suspension bridge that's being built. However, there is a problem. Mrs. Li (Wanda's mother) needs Wanda to watch her little brother, William, until she gets off her business call. The class decides to watch him together. He, only a toddler, accidentally uses the portashrinker to shrink the entire class (minus Liz) and the bus and locks them in the bathroom. They uses the materials available to build structures to escape.


At Wanda's house, Wanda is asked by her mother to keep an eye on William since the magazine changed the time of the telephone meeting in the last minute. So Wanda decides to take William along with her on a field trip to the suspension bridge that's being built.

She arrives onto the bus and Ms. Frizzle arrives with the rest of the class and they go inside Wanda's house. Liz makes a block tower for William, who tears it apart after he pulls Liz's tail and causes the lizard to run into it. The class decide to build a new tower for him and William tampers with the port-a-shrinker. The class struggle to keep the blocks up and the tower eventually falls over. They notice that William has the port-a-shrinker and the toddler ends up shrinking the class down to size. He also ends up shrinking the bus as well and things get worse when William steps onto the port-a-shrinker, destroying it completely. So the class run inside the bathroom and Liz is left to care for William. Dorothy Ann comes up with the idea to make a human tower to reach the doorknob. But Carlos reminds the class that without foundation, they would topple over, just like the tower of blocks. So he comes up with the idea to start with three on the bottom. Unfortunately, they aren't tall enough to reach the knob. So Wanda decides to climb out the window, in which the class should build a tower to get onto the toilet, built one to get on top of the sink, and build a bridge to get across the tub and to the window.

So the class build a pyramid and use the hair rollers to build a tower on top of the pyramid. Little do they know, the dog has grabbed The Magic School Bus and taken it to William's bedroom, to which William plays with it, calling it "Bussy". They successfully make the tower to get on top of the toilet. Wanda is the first to climb on top and slip on the toilet seat, holding on to the edge to try to keep herself from falling in.

The class uses a cue tip to save Wanda and the class decides to build a bridge to reach across the toilet seat. While Mrs. Li is on the phone with her co-worker, Sonia, the class builds a bridge, only for it to snap when Wanda walks onto it, because it wasn't strong enough to hold her weight. So the class uses hairpins with gumdrops adhered to each end to build a triangular-shaped bridge that holds up sturdily as they walk across the toilet seat with it. Wanda ends up falling off the toilet and hold onto the toilet paper to land onto the ground smoothly. She grabs the toilet paper (transformed into a long rope) and climbs back onto the toilet to join the rest of the class. Ms. Frizzle uses the toilet paper rope as a lasso to grab onto the water faucet of the sink and the class slide onto the rope and on top of the sink. Wanda then notices an alligator inside the tub and the class notices as well.

The class then learns that Wanda's mother only writes what she knows, which includes an alligator in the bath tub. Wanda uses the mirror cabinet for more material, using the dental floss to get across the tub and a pin for a hook. Wanda slides through the floss and to the window. The rest of the class decides to suspend the bridge and uses more floss and some bandages to make a suspension bridge as they get across. They end up onto a window seal and slide down the water spout. Meanwhile, Liz tries everything she could to take The Magic School Bus off of William. She soon digs through William's toybox to find an actual toy vehicle and finds a truck, prompting William to swap The Magic School Bus for the truck, calling it "twuck". Liz then brings The Magic School Bus outside right on time for the rest of the class to grow back in size using The Magic School Bus.

Wanda runs back inside her house and in William's bedroom and Mrs. Li, having finally finished her business call, lets her join the rest of her class to take a trip to the construction site. After Wanda leaves, Mrs. Li discovers the broken port-a-shrinker and tosses it inside the toy box, oblivious to the fact that the port-a-shrinker has caused the toy box to shrink in size.


  • This is Mrs. Li's third appearance and William's second.
    • This is also the second episode Wanda's house appears but plays a much larger role, that being the setting of the main plot.
  • This is the tenth episode switched in streaming order.
  • This is the first episode where The Magic School Bus doesn't turn into anything. Instead, The Magic School Bus (along with the class) is shrunken down and treated as a toy by William.


  • Wanda refers to William's potty chair as a "potty seat"; yet potty seats when compared to potty chairs are amenities for toddlers placed on an actual toilet to prevent them from falling in.
  • If William's being potty trained, he would have been rather been too old to still drink from baby bottles.
  • If the viewers watch closely, when Wanda hands Ms. Frizzle the toilet paper rope, Ralphie's foot is on Ms. Frizzle's foot or he appears to be floating.
  • Ms. Frizzle is the only one in her class to wear a construction suit, so it's ironic why her students would wear their regular clothes if they were going on a field trip to the suspension bridge and possibly participate.
  • While Mrs. Li is talking on the phone, the extension telephone is missing but the wire phone is still there without it.
  • William grabs Ms. Frizzle (After she was shrunk along with the class) with his right hand. However, in the next scene, he's holding her with his left hand.
  • As Arnold rolls the toilet paper, the stripes on his shirt switch colors for every frame.


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