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What parents need to know
Parents need to know that MythBusters Jr. is a science-themed spin-off of MythBusters where teens work in teams to design experiments to prove or disprove theories inspired by pop culture and urban legends. MythBusters star Adam Savage hosts the show, but the bulk of the creative process and analysis is done by six teens who excel in disciplines like engineering, computer programming, fabricating, physics, and inventing. Every episode warns viewers against trying the MythBusters' work at home, but kids might need more reminders of the same given that the work is done by teens onscreen. Like its parent series, this show is a fun way to introduce real-world applications of STEAM concepts and to see the benefits of being curious about how and why (and if) things work.
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What's the story?
In MYTHBUSTERS JR., original MythBusters frontman Adam Savage returns to hosting duties but leaves the designing and experimenting to a team of six teen "makers." Working in groups of three, the teens tackle myths and take on building challenges that they put to the test at the end of each episode. From duct tape parachutes to jet pack fire extinguishers, these teens leave nothing to chance as they design and execute tests to see which myths are just that and which ones pass muster under real-world conditions.
Is it any good?
In an era that's seen so many challenge shows bring kids and teens into the mix, this series leaves only one question unexplored: "What took so long?" Just as MythBusters won fans with its blend of humor and science, MythBusters Jr. promises much of the same but with teens in the workshops. The myths are as unpredictable as ever, and there's still a lot of silliness on the set thanks to Adam's raucous personality and the teens' eagerness to play along with their gregarious mentor.
Even so, the science is the thing that stands out in this show, perhaps even more so than in the original series because of the teens' involvement. These makers are impressive programmers, engineers, and builders, and their ability execute experiments on such a large scale speaks to superb problem-solving skills. Viewers don't have to love STEAM topics to enjoy MythBusters Jr., but watching the young cast members put their knowledge to real-world tests -- often to surprising results -- is inspiring on many levels related to and apart from science and math.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the importance of character strengths like teamwork in challenges like the MythBusters Jr. groups take on. How do the makers put their individual expertise to work in a team setting? Does leadership change among the teens the challenges do, or are certain cast members natural leaders?
Where do you see relatable science and math concepts at play in the teens' work? Do your kids like STEAM subjects? How do these concepts help them in everyday life? What role does creativity play in the MythBusters' ability to think outside the box and solve problems?
Why is curiosity a good thing? How do you see the cast members express curiosity and set about finding answers to their questions? What inspires your kids' curiosity?
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