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What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Mythbusters showcases problem analysis and the scientific approach to proving or disproving a thesis. It comes with repeated disclaimers for good reason, though, as episodes often include explosions, gunfire, and mixtures of volatile substances. Kids may need a reminder to not engage in such activities themselves. The hosts use human skeletons and animal parts in some experiments, which could make squeamish viewers uncomfortable. Overall, the show offers an engaging example of how to take curiosity to the next level.
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What's the story?
If you've lost sleep over questions like, "How many balloons would it take to airlift a man?" or "Can a playing card be hurled fast enough to inflict more harm than just a paper cut?" and "If you eat Pop Rocks and drink soda, will your stomach explode from all that fizz?" then MYTHBUSTERS is the show for you. It's hosted by Jamie Hyneman, a model maker and special-effects expert for the movie and TV industries, and Adam Savage, whose handy expertise includes carpentry, welding, and animation. The two devise experiments to prove or disprove urban legends and other esoteric theories. They combine physics, chemistry, biology, and geometry to lay out their experiments, and the steps preceding the test are as fascinating as the test itself. For example, to answer the age-old Pop Rocks question, Jamie and Adam hang a pig's stomach (similar to a human's) in a human skeleton to test its durability against six candy packets and a six-pack of soda consumed simultaneously.
Is it any good?
This fun, fact-filled show will answer some of those long-standing "what ifs" that may have been nagging at you, demonstrating how much fun science can be to boot. The team makes a good comedic duo; Jamie's dry humor is the perfect complement to Adam's quips and wisecracks. And when Jamie and Adam call in experts in rocket science, explosives, physiology, and other disciplines for background and guidance, there's even more educational value. Science-minded tweens and teens will find Mythbusters exceptionally entertaining.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how Adam and Jamie devise their test plans on Mythbusters. Once they've identified their challenge, what steps do they take to gather supplies and prepare their testing area? What types of experts help them and in what ways?
This show offers parents a unique opportunity to show kids the importance of a well-rounded education. What disciplines (math, science, etc.) do the hosts use to set up their experiments? How do you use what you've learned in everyday life?
What kinds of scientific questions do you have? How could you go about finding the answers? What kinds of question need experts and what can you find out on your own?
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