Time for a Next Generation Science Guy

If you spend a few days in an elementary or middle school it won’t be long before you hear a familiar theme song. “BILL! BILL! BILL! Bill Nye the Science Guy!” That’s right, Bill Nye is still rolling out in many classrooms across America. Just recently, I heard the theme song blaring out of a classroom and it put a spring in my step.

Then, it dawned on me. The show Bill Nye the Science Guy is almost twenty years old. The kids that helped Bill teach science in each episode are now old enough to have their own children watch them in school. At first this seems awesome. A science show that is still going strong after all these years. Until you realize- this is a “science” show.

The show "Bill Nye the Science Guy" is almost twenty years old

The show “Bill Nye the Science Guy” is almost twenty years old

Don’t get me wrong, I love Bill Nye. His show did a few things perfectly. It was upbeat, well-timed, and witty. However, do we really want our kids to watching shows on topics like outer space, biodiversity, and atmosphere with scripts that were written twenty years ago? I shouldn’t be too critical. Almost every “Bill Nye the Science Guy” episode has a clip or two that is still perfectly relevant. Bill’s demonstration clips are almost as timeless as the demonstrations done by his predecessor Mr. Wizard.  However, many classrooms are still showing the full episodes. Even if all the science is up-to-date, we should be concerned about the message this sends to students. I don’t want kids heading home thinking the science that mom and dad learned in school hasn’t changed at a bit.

I’m not looking to give Bill the boot but rather an update. There is plenty of content out there but we need to bring it all together. Teachers simply don’t have the time to build and maintain a collection of video clips that present fundamental science concepts and showcase the new discoveries and experiments that are moving science forward each day.

As we transition to the Next Generation Science Standards, perhaps we need to provide a science guy for the next generation? How about Bill Nye the Science Guy’s YouTube playlist?

6 comments

  • I nominate Steve Spangler? He is widely respected within the teaching world, is Ellen DeGeneres’ science guy, has throngs of young fans the world over and has shared hundreds of fresh, new science activities and experiments via his YouTube channel (http://www.youtube.com/SteveSpanglerScience) and YouTube TV show The Spangler Effect (http://www.youtube.com/TheSpanglerEffect)

  • Loved Mr. Wizard and Bill Nye but Steve Spangler is definitely my choice for this generation!! The students in my 4th & 5th grade STEM lab love watching Steve and love it even more when we put his ideas to the test in class!

  • Steve Spangler, hands down. He’s the best science guy EVER. Spangler can blow those other guys out of the water.

  • Paula

    You are being too critical. Please, share with us what is in each episode that is no longer factually true so we can skip those parts.
    Thank you so much!

    Whereas Steve Spangler is a great showman, If you want a “next generation science guy”, I nominate Derek Muller from Veritasium.

  • Dale

    Paula: you wrote, “no longer factually true” – care to explain?

    Derek Muller! Great choice.

  • amy

    Science and Technology are ever expanding. The facts haven’t changed. But just maybe the theories have… new information has been uncovered, close encounters with the previously unknown have occurred, previous discoveries have lead us in new directions. We owe it to our students to be excited about our curricula and bring that excitement into our classrooms.

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