Bill Nye the Science Guy

Common Sense Media says

Fantastically fun classic is perfect formula for learning.

Age(i)

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Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Educational value

This educational series condenses broad topics like Animal Locomotion, Bones and Muscles, and Climates into 25-minute episodes that are as entertaining as they are packed with learning potential. Complicated concepts are illustrated through graphics, experiments, and close observation, making it easy for kids to understand. There also are hands-on activities kids can do at home to gain further understanding.  

Positive messages

The host makes learning exciting and anything but laborious, using a variety of visual aids, illustrations, and experiments to explain new concepts. His unstated philosophy is that even complicated subjects can be understood if they're broken down into manageable diction and processes, and Nye engages viewers through humor and curiosity to prove this is true. In doing so, he also instills a great respect for the wonder and diversity of science. 

Positive role models

Nye is the ultimate teacher -- a natural in front of the camera and a wealth of knowledge on all subjects. He uses various devices to demonstrate each concept, and many scenes show kids actively engaged in experimenting and learning as well. He's respectful of the natural world and inspires awe in the grandeur of science's many faces.

Violence & scariness

Some sequences include clips that might be frightening to youngsters, as when animals chase and eat prey or wrestlers demonstrate maneuvers that cause their opponents pain. 

Sexy stuff
Not applicable
Language
Not applicable
Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Bill Nye the Science Guy is a 1990s educational series that mixes humor, action, and quality educational content related to the sciences. Renowned scientist Bill Nye explores topics like biodiversity, magnetism, and outer space in 25-minute fast-moving episodes that look at each subject from many different angles. The show is geared toward tweens, and some of the topics are above youngsters' abilities, but it's a fun watch for just about any age. If your kids are sensitive to the realities of the wild, you may want to prescreen episodes that involve interactions between predators and prey so they're not taken by surprise by chase scenes. 

What's the story?

In BILL NYE THE SCIENCE GUY, host Bill Nye explores matters of science ranging from simple mechanics to the human digestive system. Each episode opens in his tricked-out laboratory where Nye illustrates the show's concept with various visual aids, then goes on location to observe the topic firsthand. Recurring segments include "Way Cool Scientist," which spotlights an expert in the field; "Did You Know That . . .," which poses intriguing facts related to the subject; and music videos featuring songs that parody popular hits while reinforcing the show's topic.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

It's no wonder that this '90s series has retained its immense popularity, given the appeal of its comical, camera-friendly host and his knack for condensing even the most complex scientific matters into 25 minutes of fascinating content. Nye is like the cool teacher middle-school students hope turns up on their schedules because learning from him rarely feels like learning at all, which is why these videos often pull substitute duty in science classrooms.

The fact that each episode tackles just one topic means there's ample time to explore it from many different angles. Nye and his cast of young scientists use experiments and visual aids -- many of which could be replicated at home -- to illustrate the concepts at hand, and field experts cover the topics as they relate to their specific jobs as well. Kids and adults will learn a lot, but it's never a laborious process, thanks to Nye's humor and the show's clipped pace. Another bonus? Because the episodes focus on one topic at a time, it's easy to find one that will pique your kids' interest. At the same time, Bill Nye the Science Guy is so entertaining, they're easily used to introduce entirely new concepts in a fun way. 

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the concepts addressed in the show. Has what you learned changed how you see the world around you? Are you curious to discover more? How might you go about it? What technology exists to help? 

  • What makes Bill Nye an engaging teacher? Did he change your attitude about the subject matter? How do great teachers and role models inspire the best in their students? 

  • What threats does our natural world face right now? How are ecosystems changing? What can be done to help? 

TV details

Cast:Bill Nye
Network:PBS Kids
Genre:Educational
Topics:Dinosaurs, Bugs, Ocean creatures, Science and nature, Space and aliens, Wild animals
TV rating:TV-Y
Available on:DVD, Streaming

This review of Bill Nye the Science Guy was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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