The show ended in 1997, but soon, Ms. Frizzle and her reality-defying bus will be making a comeback. Netflix has ordered 26 episodes of a reboot of the popular television show, which it plans to start streaming in 2016.
The timing is good.
In a report for NPR, Shankar Vendentam noted that psychologists found a phenomenon called stereotype threat could have an effect on the performance of women and girls in STEM subjects. Essentially, it works like this:
Steele and his colleagues found that when women were reminded — even subtly — of the stereotype that men were better than women at math, the performance of women in math tests measurably declined. Since the reduction in performance came about because women were threatened by the stereotype, the psychologists called the phenomenon ‘stereotype threat.’
So vibrant examples like Ms. Frizzle, as well as her real-life counterparts, become important. With so much attention being directed at encouraging girls to engage in STEM subjects and getting women to stick with their careers in the same area, a “Magic School Bus” reboot seems especially prescient. Netflix, which already streams the original series, is launching the new version in partnership with Scholastic Media, the company that produced the original series. Scholastic published the series on which the book is based. “The Magic School Bus 360°” will come from computer-generated animation and will feature new technology such as robots and smart suits.
Part of the push to get girls more involved in STEM includes visibility, according to a study on the subject done by the Girl Scouts. “Girls are interested in STEM fields and aspire to STEM careers the study shows, but need more exposure and adult support to carry this interest into the future,” the Girl Scout Research Institute said in 2012.
h/t New York Times