Modern Scientific Questions for the ‘Magic School Bus’ Reboot to Answer

The Magic School BusScholastic Entertainment/PBS Kids

Seatbelts everyone! In an attempt to rescue everyone from the drudgery of normal field trips, Netflix has acquired a new series based on the Magic School Bus books, which will be available for streaming by 2016. According to the New York Times, the new show, Magic School Bus 360° will feature a modernized Ms. Frizzle – though we assume the glowing earrings will stick around – and will tackle scientific questions and topics that affect modern students.

The show will also incorporate the advancements in technology that have occurred since the show went off the air in 1997, featuring robotics like Carlos’ “Smart Suit,” which “determines his body’s vital signs instantly”  which is likely less about modern technology than it is the result of someone suing Ms. Frizzle for going inside their digestive system without permission. But while robots and smart suits are a good place to start, there are a lot more scientific questions that affect us every day. After all, things are a lot different now than they were in the mid-to-late ‘90s, and so the new series should reflect those changes, which is why we’ve come up with some ideas of our own for important scientific questions that Ms. Frizzle, Liz and the Magic School Bus can answer. You’re welcome, Netflix. 

What does “eating clean” even mean?
Arnold’s lunch keeps giving him a stomach ache, and Phoebe thinks that all of the junk food he’s eating might be making him sick, and recommends that he start “eating clean” like they did at her old school. Arnold is skeptical, so Ms. Frizzle takes the class inside both his and Phoebe’s digestive systems so he can see the difference for himself. Gwyneth Paltrow guest stars.

Where can I get the best WiFi connection?
Ralphie got a new smart phone for his birthday, and won’t go anywhere that doesn’t have a WiFi connection. When he refuses to go outside for recess because the playground’s connection is patchy, Ms. Frizzle decides to teach Ralphie about the way wireless internet travels, though everyone is frustrated by the fact that the bus only has dial-up.

Is stress going to kill me?
The school has a big standardized test coming up, and Dorothy Ann is freaking out about it. Ms. Frizzle, worried about D.A.’s spontaneous crying jags and the way she’s mainlining coffee, decides to take the class into her brain to study the effects that stress can have on the nervous system, and to teach them how to manage their hectic nine-year-old lives.

What makes something go viral?
Carlos is obsessed with dumb viral videos, but when he tries filming one of his own, he’s disappointed ot find that he’s not getting as many views as he wants. He asks Ms. Frizzle for her advice, and together, the class analyzes Internet trends and viewing patterns in order to help Carlos get the online fame he so desperately craves.

How can we prove that fossils are real?
Arnold’s annoying cousin Janet comes to visit on the day that the class is studying dinosaurs. When she reveals that she doesn’t believe fossils are real, but rather placed there by the Devil to trick the 24-hour media cycle into believing his lies, Ms. Frizzle teaches the class about carbon dating and takes them on a journey through time to watch the fossils form.

When will global warming wipe out humanity?
Tim and Wanda are tasked with coming up with arguments for and against global warming before their debate tournament, but the rest of the class gets caught up in their preparations, and soon everyone is taking different sides. To settle the argument so Tim and Wanda don’t miss the bus, Ms. Frizzle takes them through different parts of the ecosystem to learn whether global warming is the real deal or just a myth.

What’s the best way to take a flattering selfie?
Keesha’s become obsessed with documenting her life on Instagram – what she had for lunch, what she wore that day, what insane adventure they’re going on – but she’s still having trouble figuring out her angles, and her selfies never come out the way she wants them to. Ms. Frizzle teaches the class about the effects that lighting and composition can have on a picture, so they can take the perfect selfie. The episode ends with the class recreating Ellen DeGeneres’ famous Oscars picture.

How many television episodes is it healthy to binge-watch in one sitting?
Ms. Frizzle notices that the class seems more sluggish lately, and when they reveal that they’ve all been staying up late to catch up on the new season of Yellow Is the New Bus, she decides to teach them about the importance of moderation with a trip into the brain to visit the pleasure center and see the effects of binge-watching first-hand.

How do we make our crystal meth better than everyone else’s?
After she receives a shocking cancer diagnosis, Ms. Frizzle decides to turn to the drug trade to pay her medical bills so that she doesn’t have to sell the bus. She teaches the class basic chemistry and economics as they work together to create a new kind of meth and soon they become the most notorious drug kingpins in the country.