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Sarah Maxwell

‘Consider the Following’

About a week or so ago, an article came across my Facebook newsfeed about a show I used to love as a child. Curious, I decided to check it out. Well, much to my amazement, I discovered it’s getting a reboot on Netflix.

What show is this, you ask? It’s a wonderful show filled with the adventures of an eccentric teacher and her pet lizard, who loves to take her students on fun and exciting field trips that always seem to take an odd twist in a magical school bus.

“The Magic School Bus” will return in 2016 on Netflix as “The Magic School Bus 360°” and will still feature the loveable Ms. Frizzle, class and bus on 26 science-themed, half-hour episodes. It originally ran in the 1990s and featured field trips to a bakery, learning about bats and the human body, travelling to outer space and many other exciting adventures.

The episodes expand your mind and teach viewers an abridged version of science. The creators know they can’t cover everything in one 30-minute episode and include a factual snippet at the end clarifying how they stretched the story to fit into its time and all the while keeping it suitable for a young TV and classroom audience.

I can’t lie to you, our fine BCR readers, I probably could have written this column a lot quicker if I hadn’t been writing it while taking a trip down Scholastic Lane and watching a few episodes of the “Magic School Bus” on Netflix. You can watch all four original seasons there. And honestly, I will most likely continue to watch the show for years to come as my niece gets older.

There is nothing like reminiscing about the good old days when you got to make a cell out of Jell-O, an egg and little pieces of candy.

You knew it was going to be a good day in elementary school when the teacher wheeled in the big TV from the audio/visual department and popped in a VHS tape. It didn’t matter if it was “The Magic School Bus” or a Bill Nye video. They were both excellent options, and both encouraged us to explore the world around us.

After my “Magic School Bus” discovery last week, I also decided to give Bill Nye another look. There was just something about the tall, bow-tie wearing scientist to make you want to try an experiment. And try I did. I discovered his website which in addition to carrying his blog and other Bill Nye items, also had a list of easy to do, at home experiments which require very little in the way of equipment. I’ll admit, I got extremely excited about an air pressure experiment involving a piece a paper and a puff of your own breath that I had to show to of my co-workers. I was more giddy about this than a kid waiting to open presents.

In addition to “The Magic School Bus 360°” on Netflix and Bill Nye’s recent debate with creationist Ken Ham drawing attention earlier this year, another childhood favorite is getting a reboot. “Reading Rainbow,” a childhood staple for many has recently been the focus of a Kickstarter campaign to raise a few million dollars to bring the show and its featurettes to schools and children around the globe to encourage literacy.

This resurgence in educational television gives me hope for our future. It’s encouraging kids to pursue topics in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. I was never one for STEM topics; they were never my favorite. I would much rather have my nose stuck in a book. However, as I’ve gotten older, I wish I would have spent more time focusing on those topics for they are simply intriguing.

I hope kids are able to get as excited about these topics with the renewing of the greatest field trip teacher and read-along buddy ever. Ms. Frizzle, “Reading Rainbow” host LaVar Burton and Bill Nye all taught me different things and shaped my early childhood education.

So a few words of advice, Take chances, make mistakes, get messy. Of course, you don’t have to take my word for it, and thank you for joining me on “Consider the Following.”

BCR Copy Editor Sarah Maxwell can be reached at smaxwell@bcrnews.com.