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September 27, 2011 9:19 PM   Subscribe

Science! (autoplaying video) The 42nd season of "Sesame Street," which premiered today, will be including a few new educational categories for preschoolers in its usual mix of lessons and parodies: STEM skills — Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. In addition to more scientifically accurate slapstick, characters will try experiments, build bridges and boats, launch rockets and think through problems that require trial and error, observation and data -- all problem areas for America's students.

The "parodies" link is Sesame's new, pitch-perfect take on Glee.
posted by zarq (34 comments total) 25 users marked this as a favorite

 
Pretty awesome!
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 9:39 PM on September 27, 2011


Nice choice of placement for that Craig Ferguson link. #letitsnow
posted by Rhaomi at 9:40 PM on September 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Heh. Entirely inadvertent, but hilarious nonetheless.
posted by zarq at 9:59 PM on September 27, 2011


I love the expressiveness of the chicken puppets in the Craig Ferguson one too!
posted by ShawnStruck at 10:23 PM on September 27, 2011


Excellent news, I always thought that if there were interesting ways to teach me math and science as a kid, i would be better at it
posted by PinkMoose at 10:30 PM on September 27, 2011


Is it just me, or is Telly looking even more strung-out than usual?
posted by bicyclefish at 10:41 PM on September 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Is it just me, or is Telly looking even more strung-out yt than usual?
No you're right. I feel like he used to have more eyelids. And this comment made me LOL.

I hope Sesame Street manages to single-handedly save American schoolkids, I guess someone has to.
posted by bleep at 11:05 PM on September 27, 2011


I always felt like Children's Television Workshop dropped the ball by ending production on great shows like 3-2-1 Contact back in the '80s. That and the awesome physics lectures of Julius Sumner Miller (also on my local PBS station) were my introduction to science as a wee lad.
posted by Strange Interlude at 11:06 PM on September 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


I never thought I'd say this, but wow am I happy a new season of Sesame Street started! (I have a toddler). I missed out on a lot of years (heh), but was pleasantly surprised to see with adult eyes just how top-notch the show really is. The addition of emphasis on science! is wonderful news. I hope they wrote a lot more Abby's Flying Fairy School too; there seem to have only been a handful which were recycled throughout the episodes this last year.

Five minutes ago I found out another series was starting back up this weekend, and then came straight here and saw this. Feels weird: "Woohoo Dexter! Woohoo Sesame Street!"
posted by hypersloth at 11:10 PM on September 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Man, I hope they get some evolution into it. Every day, a short little bit showing natural selection at work. Zillions of fluffy Muppet animals competing for the resources, with, for example, the taller Muppets getting the higher food and having more tall babies, etc. Bert lives; Ernie dies.
posted by pracowity at 11:19 PM on September 27, 2011 [3 favorites]


Wild ernies have evolved other evolutionary advantages, such as a game-playing ritual that confuses potential predators and/or roommates and distinctive mating cry ("kxee kxee kxeeee"). And the berts' evolutionary niche of tallness was subsumed by the geefle, an invasive species from planet Koozbane that ordinary subsists on nectarines, and hence began a symbotic relationship with columba livia.
posted by JHarris at 11:42 PM on September 27, 2011 [6 favorites]


Next episode: marginal income tax!
posted by pompomtom at 12:00 AM on September 28, 2011 [4 favorites]


Watching television is unhealthy. This is nothing more than peddling an all-sugar cereal to parents by emphasizing that it is loaded with vitamins and minerals.
posted by three blind mice at 3:01 AM on September 28, 2011


Man, I hope they get some evolution into it.

Wait - you think muppets evolved? Maybe you can point me to some muppet fossils!

Let's face FACTS - the existence of the muppets is itself all the proof we need that they were made by a divine creator. The perfection of each and every muppet could not have arisen by mere "chance". No, my friends: even little Elmo is incontrovertible evidence that the LORD fashioned each muppet species individually and has a glorious plan in mind for them all.

Of course, I mean the LORD "had" a plan in mind - the LORD, aka Jim Henson, is dead now. And that also proves that muppets live in a pitiless universe where their suffering has no meaning, and concepts such as "ethics" and "spirituality" are nought but a sham.

So, they have the worst of both worlds, is what I'm saying. Dead god, no biological sciences, Bert could do waaay better than Ernie if he tried ... that is my point, here.
posted by the quidnunc kid at 3:19 AM on September 28, 2011 [5 favorites]


ok cool quidnunc kid thanks talk to you in a few bro
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 3:43 AM on September 28, 2011


Next: someone needs to bring back Schoolhouse Rock for the slightly-older kids.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 3:44 AM on September 28, 2011


This is nothing more than peddling an all-sugar cereal to parents by emphasizing that it is loaded with vitamins and minerals.

Wouldn't say all-sugar. Like many things, a limited amount of television which is engaging and encourages thinking is hardly going to destroy a child. Doubly so if they take a lesson from Mr. Rogers and pace things for younger minds. It's the fast-paced mindless amusement which causes the most damage. We need more Sesame Street and the cancellation of the scourge of America's youth, Spongebob Squarepants.

Of course, it doesn't hurt when parents sit down and watch Sesame Street with their child and be there to answer questions and ask a few thought provoking ones of their own. Educational TV can be a valuable resource when it's not treated like the same mind-numbing junk peddled towards kids to sell merchandise and DVDs.

I am so glad that a show as prominent as Sesame Street is encouraging the very basics of scientific methods. Now to hope some network finds a new generation of TV scientists like Mr. Wizard, Beakman, and Bill Nye. TV is here to stay, so let's make the most of it.
posted by Saydur at 4:01 AM on September 28, 2011 [5 favorites]


OMG science! If they introduce a geography component, maybe they'll finally tell us how to get, how to get to ...
posted by seanmpuckett at 4:04 AM on September 28, 2011 [6 favorites]


This is nothing more than peddling an all-sugar cereal to parents by emphasizing that it is loaded with vitamins and minerals.
Let us dream to the extent of saying that on a given Sunday night the time normally occupied by Ed Sullivan is given over to a clinical survey of the state of American education, and a week or two later the time normally used by Steve Allen is devoted to a thoroughgoing study of American policy in the Middle East. Would the corporate image of their respective sponsors be damaged? Would the stockholders rise up in their wrath and complain? Would anything happen other than that a few million people would have received a little illumination on subjects that may well determine the future of this country, and therefore the future of the corporations?

To those who say people wouldn't look; they wouldn't be interested; they're too complacent, indifferent and insulated, I can only reply: There is, in one reporter's opinion, considerable evidence against that contention. But even if they are right, what have they got to lose? Because if they are right, and this instrument is good for nothing but to entertain, amuse and insulate, then the tube is flickering now and we will soon see that the whole struggle is lost. This instrument can teach, it can illuminate; yes, and it can even inspire. But it can do so only to the extent that humans are determined to use it to those ends. Otherwise it is merely wires and lights in a box.

-- Edward R. Morrow, speech to the Radio and Television News Directors Association
Just because they're puppets doesn't mean they aren't teaching, and that kids aren't learning. I knew how to read at the age of two and a half, and it was completely and entirely due to Sesame Street.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:14 AM on September 28, 2011 [10 favorites]


Julius Sumner Miller

Ladies and Gentlemen, Boys and Girls, I give you... BERNOULI!

BERNOOOULI!

And that's when I knew I wanted to be a scientist when I grew up.
posted by Slap*Happy at 5:15 AM on September 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Watching television is unhealthy. This is nothing more than peddling an all-sugar cereal to parents by emphasizing that it is loaded with vitamins and minerals.
Sunny day
Burning the clouds away
On our way to where the ozone's gone

I can tell you how to get,
How to get right off of my lawn.
Don't make perfect the enemy of the good. It is a fact of life that the television is a babysitting device for millions of harried parents, many of them single and alone and unable to do much better. Sesame Street entertains young brains enough to make them sit still and pay attention to good role models teaching them basics they need to succeed in school and life. If mom is getting dinner ready and dad lives in another city with another woman, this is sometimes about the best you can hope for.
posted by pracowity at 5:20 AM on September 28, 2011 [3 favorites]


My kid is a huge Sid the Science Kid fan. He will enjoy these Sesame Street episodes.
Thank you for the links.
posted by BuffaloChickenWing at 5:44 AM on September 28, 2011


My kid calls himself a "scientist" because of Sid the Science Kid and does "research." Usually this involves poking things with sticks, but also, a few weeks ago he decided he wanted to build a spider web of string, which turned out pretty cool.

His questions have led to long discussions on how food nourishes your body and turns into poop, how blood moves around your body, how dead things/people turn back into dirt, and how you grow bones.

So pfft, I say, to your TV-must-be-evil stance. PFFT.
posted by emjaybee at 7:00 AM on September 28, 2011


Muppet Evolution:

* Cookie Monster
* Miss Piggy
* Big Bird
* Kermit the Frog
* Elmo Variants
posted by zarq at 7:11 AM on September 28, 2011 [3 favorites]


Elmo Variants

OMG awesome. Angler-fish!
posted by odinsdream at 7:46 AM on September 28, 2011


Paedomorphic flightlessness and taxonomic affinities of an enormous recent bird.
posted by ChuraChura at 7:49 AM on September 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


Compare this picture from 1975, to this recent picture, and you can tell someone has been under the knife a few times more than Cher.
posted by benito.strauss at 8:19 AM on September 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Compare this picture from 1975, to this recent picture, and you can tell someone has been under the knife a few times more than Cher.

Before clicking, I thought you meant Big Bird.
posted by hypersloth at 8:35 AM on September 28, 2011


More Muppet Evolution:

Muppet Voice Comparisons: Kermit
Muppet Voice Comparisons: Elmo
Muppet Voice Comparisons: Ernie
Muppet Voice Comparisons: Bert
Muppet Voice Comparisons: Cookie Monster
Muppet Voice Comparisons: Grover

more here.

I've been trying to find a way to make these into a front page post, but they seem to fit here, so here they'll sit.

The science-related flash games on the Sesame Street website are also excellent. Engaging, not too easy, not too hard, and actually teaching some scientific content. My son is particularly engaged with the ones about paleontology and the Grover 2.0 bits. He spent a long time last night stacking chickens up to make ramps. I'll take that over Angry Birds any day of the week.
posted by anastasiav at 9:15 AM on September 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Ooooh. That would have been a great post.
posted by zarq at 9:17 AM on September 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


a new generation of TV scientists like Mr. Wizard, Beakman, and Bill Nye

...and Dr. Bunsen Honeydew.
posted by Zed at 9:30 AM on September 28, 2011 [4 favorites]


I still remember my first day of middle school Spanish class, when my teacher asked if anyone in the class already knew how to count in Spanish, and I raised my hand and counted to ten in a perfect accent without thinking twice. The class actually applauded, and my teacher asked where I had learned it, and I admitted (bashfully, because this was MIDDLE SCHOOL), "Sesame Street."

In college I majored in Comp Lit with an emphasis in Spanish (and a minor in Hindi). I trace my adult interest in foreign languages directly to back to Sesame Street. Thanks, Sesame Street!

(As the child of a teenage single working mother struggling to finish her own education, I certainly wouldn't have gotten exposure to Spanish in St. Louis in the 80s any other way than the television.)

(Also, I used to pretend that Levar Burton was my real dad. But that's another story. Sigh.)
posted by BlueJae at 11:03 AM on September 28, 2011 [6 favorites]


Watching television is unhealthy. This is nothing more than peddling an all-sugar cereal to parents by emphasizing that it is loaded with vitamins and minerals.
Depends on what you watch.

This thread is discussing a show broadcast on public television. Public television doesn't have much in the way of commercials (some, but not the kind you're referring to).

When I was a kid, my parents let me watch all of the TV I wanted, so long as it was PBS. I watched things like Sesame Street, Mr. Rogers Neighborhood, and the Electric Company instead of cartoons. At night, we watched shows like Carl Sagan's Cosmos, James Burke's The Day the Universe Changed and such. The local PBS station even broadcast excerpts from Caltech physics lectures (not the Feynman lectures, but I knew who he was even as a kid), supplemented with animated representations of the concepts.

A lot of it stuck. For example, my first week in high school, our history teacher gave all of his classes a pop quiz on general history, just to see what people knew. I had the highest score out of all of his classes, thanks to PBS. Even in college, I was finding that I already had a decent foundation in Astronomy, Anthropology, History (American, European, and Ancient), and even Art just from having watched PBS casually as a kid and teenager.

Oh, and I also didn't eat sugar cereals until college. And the novelty wore off pretty quickly.
posted by Davenhill at 11:08 AM on September 28, 2011 [4 favorites]


According to the article: Nothing is funnier than gravity.

Levity?
posted by twoleftfeet at 2:32 PM on September 28, 2011


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