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New ‘The Magic School Bus’ Coming to Netflix

Many remember the beloved show “The Magic School Bus” and may have been streaming old episodes from Netflix for Kids since the series ended eight years ago. Now, after a recent acquisition of rights to a number of Scholastic Media’s series, Netflix will start worldwide streaming of a new, modernized version of the hit show.

The new program, “The Magic School Bus 360º,” will include 26 half-hour episodes that are “even more relevant and entertaining for today’s kids” via computer-generated animation as well as a lot of the classic touches from the original.

The 1994 PBS show “The Magic School Bus” was the longest-running children’s science program. The zany teacher, Ms. Frizzle, takes her students on a wide variety of crazy field trips where they always learn something new. It covered topics such as outer space, the human body, the ocean, animals, weather, physics, dinosaurs, and many more. And although it never felt like learning, it encouraged young people worldwide to pursue science. 

The series has been called Netflix’s top educational show by Ted Sarandos, the company’s chief content officer. “Parents trust it and kids love it,” Mr. Sarandos said. “It teaches science in a way that transcends generations.”

In the new series, a modernized Ms. Frizzle will still be the teacher, and be voiced by Lily Tomlin from the original. She will still take her class on flying trips, but now on an updated bus. And the young scientists will still experiment, but will be using newer scientific tools, such as robots or a smart suit that determines your body’s vital signs instantly.

Mr. Sarandos said Scholastic Media and Netflix are exploring other joint projects. With other acquisitions like “Clifford the Big Red Dog” and “Goosebumps,” we should be in for a treat.

Prior to the 2016 release, you can look for other educational shows like:

Wallykazam!: This year, Nickelodeon air the new series that craftily disguises solid lessons in basic literacy skills as delightful stories about an endearing young troll and his forest friends. Preschoolers will love the abounding silliness in Wally’s adventures, but for parents, the show’s best asset is its incorporation of essential reading skills into its content. Recommended for ages 4 and up. 

Nutri Ventures: Hulu’s online series that teaches kids about good nutrition and food diversity through an engaging, adventurous story about kids on a quest to return healthy eating habits to their homeland. As the characters visit color-coded, food group-themed kingdoms, they learn how each different category helps their bodies stay strong and healthy. Recommended for ages 6 and up.

Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey: Fox offers scientific research-based explanations about the creation of the universe and related phenomena. The show inspires kids to think about their place in the world with a relateable, but smart approach. Kids will see fiery galactic explosions, and some of the historical accounts reference torture and executions (though no blood or wounds are shown). The word “hell” is occasionally used but in a specific context. Recommended for ages 10 and up.  

The Numbers Game: National Geographic’s data scientist tackles one of life’s most daunting topics revealing the surprising science behind them. From mind-bending stats, hilarious man on the street experiments, and interactive game play, this show delivers the answers to life’s mysteries. Content is pretty mild, but contains some violent images, including footage of fiery car crashes, and special-effects-created scary faces. The series might be a bit much for younger viewers, but older tweens and teens should be able to handle it. Recommended for ages 12 and up.

The Odd Squad:  a live-action show designed to help kids ages 5-8 learn math. The show focuses on two young agents, Olive and Otto, who are part of the Odd Squad, an agency whose mission is to save the day whenever something unusual happens in their town. A math concept is embedded in each of their cases, as Olive and Otto work together to problem-solve and correct the oddity du jour in each episode. Premieres Wednesday, November 26, 2014, on PBS KIDS with a special one-hour broadcast of two back-to-back episodes, along with integrated digital and offline content.  

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Images: ScholasticNetflix

Featured Image: Magic School Bus /CC BY 2.0

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Brittany Marklin

Brittany Marklin is a contributing writer for Learning Liftoff and a community manager for K12. She coordinates all K12 student contests and connects with families who pursue online education. She attended George Mason University, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in marketing, with a minor in tourism and events management. Brittany spent her first five years at K12 on the social media team where she aided with content and strategy for multiple channels, and helped construct K12’s user-generated content site, “What’s Your Story?” When she’s not working, Brittany loves spending time with her husband and daughter in North Carolina.

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