12th Symposium on Education


Scholastic's The Magic School Bus Kicks Up a Storm Museum Exhibit

Cheryl D. McCallum, The Children's Museum of Houston, Houston, TX

Scholastic’s The Magic School Bus Kicks Up a Storm is a comprehensive, hands-on exhibit exploring the concepts of meteorology, data gathering and prediction, and weather reporting. Scholastic Entertainment and the AMS are the primary partners on the project with the Children’s Museum. The effort is funded in part by the National Science Foundation.

The exhibit is based on the award-winning children’s science series, Scholastic’s The Magic School Bus. With 117 titles and more than 52 million books in print, it is the most successful children’s science book series in history. Ms. Frizzle of Scholastic’s The Magic School Bus, is in many ways the quintessential science teacher. Her constant encouragement to “take chances, get messy, and make mistakes” challenges adults and children alike to explore the creative processes of science inquiry. Close collaboration with Scholastic ensures that the exhibit is reflective of the fun and whimsy inherent in the series. One of the 28+ activities in the exhibit allows children to “mix up some weather” using the dashboard controls in the Magic School Bus. Labeled with the key ingredients of weather, children can adjust the temperature, amount of moisture, and wind to create different outcomes like a tornado, snow fall, rain showers, or a perfect beach day! They will see and hear the weather they’ve created through the bus’ windshield. In the Weather Center adjacent to the “School Bus,” children will learn the importance of prediction, weather technology and reporting tools. From real data they’ve collected on the Bus, they can report and post the weather at the TV Weather Studio. Preliminary prototyping of many activities has indicated successful content delivery and significant engagement from the targeted age groups.

Effective experiential resources, like the Magic School Bus, that foster meaningful and long-lasting learning are needed to promote the basic principles, technologies and reporting methods of meteorology. Children and their families across the nation will be well served by this exhibit, which will travel to over 32 communities during a 6-year national tour. The AMS Board on Outreach and Pre-College Education is assisting with the development of AMS local teams in each host community, to help shepherd the exhibit in their city and build excitement toward weather that will last well beyond the exhibit’s stay. In addition to representation from Scholastic Entertainment, the exhibit’s National Advisory Committee is composed of individuals from NOAA National Weather Service, science educators, family learning specialists, and museum educators. Such diversity of talent and experience guarantees a fun, accurate, and enlightening exhibit that is destined to be a successful installation in all communities.

Session 2, Popular Education and Outreach Activities
Monday, 10 February 2003, 10:45 AM-12:00 PM

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