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.
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?