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spacer all reviews > > > science software

Magic School Bus Explores Bugs

Microsoft

ages 6 to 10

Rating Scale
5 = great,    1 = poor
Educational Value
4.5
Kid Appeal
4.0
Ease of Use
5.0

Magic School Bus Bugs Box Shot System Requirements

PC / Mac Price Survey

Product Support

This program is totally consistent with the colorful format found in the Magic School Bus series. Ms. Frizzle and her classroom gang explore bugs in four different habitats - pond, forest, jungle, and meadow. Players try to find missing bugs that have escaped from the classroom terrariums by boarding the Magic School Bus and searching for them in the different habitats. The interactive school kids, critters, and Ms. Frizzle share an array of jokes and facts when clicked on.

If you tire of the hunt, try out one of the educational game style shows hosted by wisecracking Bugsy Da Drone featured in each habitat or create your own picture using nature-themed stamps on blank habitat scenes.

Definitely geared for those impatient clickers with short attention spans, this program draws from a vast array of short clips of information, pictures, and actual photos. It strives to entertain as well as imparting useful but brief concepts and information. The program has a closed caption option for the deaf or hard of hearing.

Educational Value
Every bit as quirky and jerky as the Magic School Bus books with lots of brief interesting scientific snippets of entomological information. It also employs basic critical thinking skills. It succeeds in imparting this information by being true to the Magic School Bus's uniquely entertaining approach - a combination of cartoon and facts with a variety of presentation styles, i.e. games, good quality photos, animated characters & bugs.

Kid Appeal
Lots of whistles and bells on this one - there is always something to click on. Charming and fun but definitely geared for the younger set. The program suggests 6-10 years appeal, but 3-8 years old will probably find this most appealing. Most 10 year olds find this too cutesy although the photo format used in "the good, the bad, and the weird" captivates even that set. After listening to a grasshopper chirp out a joke one 10 year old tester said, "…kind of annoying," but it didn't deter him from trying to play the maze game twice and being engrossed by the actual photo/fact briefs.

Ease of Use / Install
No difficulty was encountered loading the Magic School Bus Explores Bugs on our test machine. This program is designed to be used without having to suffer. It is quite intuitive for most children without need for parental/teacher guidance.

Best for... / Bottom-Line
This program could easily be used and enjoyed in the classroom setting (K-2 or 3) by students (it is fun) and by teachers (it is educational). Younger children will really appreciate the humor and presentation style found in this microcosm of facts, but most 9-10 year olds are beginning to seek a more sophisticated approach to learning.

See SuperKids' comparisons with other sciencesoftware titles, and the Buyers Guide for current market prices of the PC and Mac versions of this program.

System Requirements
PC: Windows95 or later, or Windows NT 4.0, Pentium 133 or faster, 15 MB hard drive space, 16 MB RAM (32 MB for Windows NT), SVGA (256 color) monitor, 4x or faster CD-ROM drive, 16-bit sound card.

Mac: System 8.1 or later, PowerPC with 233 MHz or faster, 15 MB hard drive space, 32 MB RAM, 256-color monitor, 4x or faster CD-ROM drive.

Reviewed on:

  • PentiumIII-550 with 128MB and 32XCD
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