Classroom Technology

‘The Magic School Bus’ Will Return to Teach New Generations About STEM

By Kristine Kim — January 05, 2017 2 min read
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Everyone’s favorite red-headed science teacher—and her pet lizard—will soon be back.

Netflix’s appeal to nostalgia continues with its upcoming reboot of the beloved ‘90s Saturday morning cartoon “The Magic School Bus,” starring eccentric science teacher Ms. Frizzle and her eager students as they embark on out-of-this world field trips.

via GIPHY

Netflix and Scholastic Media initially announced the new series, “The Magic School Bus 360°,” in 2014. In a recent interview with TMZ, Stu Stone, who voiced the character Ralphie on the original series and is one of the show’s producers, said the show’s production has just started, and that it’s a “top-secret field trip that Ms. Frizzle is taking the kids on.”

He also revealed that the reboot will incorporate many of its original actors as well as new younger voices. Stone also mentioned potential celebrity cameos: “There’s a whole generation of people who grew up on this series that want to be a part of it now that it’s back.”

Ted Sarandos, Netflix’s chief content officer, told the New York Times that the original series is the longest-running children’s science program. “It teaches science in a way that transcends generations,” he said when the reboot was announced.

“The Magic School Bus” originally debuted on PBS in 1994, and its large fan base still exists today. Scholastic has developed resources based on the episodes for teachers to take students on their own adventures into space, history, the human body, and more.

The Netflix revival hopes to delight a new generation of children and to help students find the magic in the exploration and discovery of science and technology. The reboot will have an updated high-tech bus and modern science tools, including robots and possibly smart suits, according to Scholastic Media.

The revival is timely, as there has been a nationwide push for STEM education, including by President Barack Obama, who has championed investments in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education for years.

TV personality Bill Nye the Science Guy, also beloved for his ‘90s educational TV show, has advocated the importance of keeping children and teens interested in STEM subjects.

“As a science educator, I’ve never had any trouble engaging people because you got props, you blow up stuff,” he told U.S. News in 2015. “What is it that you loved about your favorite teacher? ... It was his or her passion, right?”

Passionate teachers can make science cool, a lesson from Ms. Frizzle herself—"Take chances, make mistakes, and get messy.”

via GIPHY

“The Magic School Bus 360°" was originally set to premiere 26 new half-hour episodes in 2016, but no new release date has been revealed. Stone, however, has confirmed that the project is still underway.

The four original seasons are currently available on Netflix streaming.

A version of this news article first appeared in the Teaching Now blog.


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