REDMOND, Wash., April 21, 1997 — As thousands of kids converge on San Francisco to participate in Earth Day’s KidCast for Peace: Solutions for a Better World, Microsoft Corp. is giving kids everywhere a new way to explore one of the Earth’s most precious environments – the rain forest. The newest title from Scholastic’s The Magic School Bus
CD-ROM series by Microsoft, Scholastic’s The Magic School Bus Explores the Rainforest, puts kids in the driver’s seat of a fun-filled, fact-packed tour of the Costa Rican rain forest.
Scholastic’s The Magic School Bus Explores the Rainforest is the sixth title in the critically acclaimed, best-selling series of interactive multimedia science adventures designed for kids ages 6 to 10. Scholastic’s The Magic School Bus CD-ROM series by Microsoft is based on Scholastic’s award-winning books and PBS television show in which the irrepressible science teacher Ms. Frizzle and her inquisitive class explore science and technology in a way that blends learning opportunities with entertaining adventures.
In this expedition, kids are in control as they drive “the Friz” and her students on a journey through the rain forest, which is teeming with diverse plants and animals. The class must “bioclone” bits of the lush ecosystem to help change their classroom into a replica of a rain forest. As kids drive the bus from river to understory and beyond, the bus provides a creature’s-eye view of the activity by transforming into animals of the rainforest, such as a snake and an eagle. Throughout the adventure, kids explore the teeming diversity of rain forest life, learning important science concepts and meeting interesting characters such as El Tigre the jaguar and Iggy Wanna.
“We’ve spent a great deal of time talking to parents and teachers about what they want in educational software,” said Lisa Brummel, kids product unit manager in the interactive media group at Microsoft. “But more importantly, we’ve listened to the kids,” she continued. “They are very concerned about the environment and like to learn about the Earth’s diverse ecosystems. Scholastic’s The Magic School Bus Explores the Rainforest brings kids to one of the most interesting places in the world and lets them learn for themselves what makes it unique.”
Compared with previous Magic School Bus titles, Scholastic’s The Magic School Bus Explores the Rainforest includes several new features to make the program even more fun and engaging for kids, including five new multimedia tools they can use to explore the rain forest:
Field Guide. To hear a species’ name, such as the tortoise beetle
Spotting Scope. To view activities in the distance, such as an ocelot climbing a tree
Magnifying Glass. To give kids a closer look at rain forest life, such as a termite nest
Butterfly Net. To see full-color photographs of different butterflies, such as the heliconious butterfly
Microphone. To listen to rain forest sounds, such as the roar of a jaguar
Three new closed-captioned features, to help deaf or hard of hearing children. These include the ability to read the words to The Magic School Bus theme song, pause the program so kids have more time to read the dialogue captions, and print or read all of the spoken dialogue using the captions.txt file provided on the
“Scholastic’s The Magic School Bus Explores the Rainforest is packed with excitement as kids learn important science lessons through virtual experiences inside and outside Ms. Frizzle’s magical classroom,” said Merle Marsh, academic dean at Worcester Country School in Berlin, Md. “Kids love to learn about the environment, and the rain forest software gives them a powerful opportunity to enjoy science at home and school, and to celebrate Earth Day every day.”
The latest interactive field trip includes 14 games and activities that teach key science concepts in a fun and engaging way. Lizard Racer lets kids use hands-on creativity to build a lizard that can run on water. Kids learn how animals adapt to living in certain parts of the rain forest in Night Stratification, as they try to place different creatures in their correct habitat.
More than 20 multimedia reports compiled by Ms. Frizzle’s class feature video clips, narration, sounds, photos and animations sequences. The reports teach kids interesting lessons such as the integral role insects play in the rain forest and that rain forests are the source of many important products, including medicines, bananas and chocolate. The travel log, with a new word processor, lets kids type notes about what they learn while exploring. This combination of fun, learning and multimedia content gives Scholastic’s The Magic School Bus Explores the Rainforest long-lasting playability that kids enjoy and parents appreciate.
New York-based Music Pen Inc. has again collaborated with Microsoft and Scholastic to develop Scholastic’s The Magic School Bus Explores the Rainforest. Previous titles in Scholastic’s The Magic School Bus CD-ROM series by Microsoft have garnered praise from parents and educators and have earned some of the industry’s top awards. These include the Software Publisher’s Association Codie award for Best Elementary Educational titles and the National Parenting Center Seal of Approval. Most recently, Scholastic’s The Magic School Bus CD-ROM series by Microsoft received the FamilyPC Family Tested Software Recommended Seal in the education category and was named Top Picks of 1997 by the Toy Testing Council.
The School Edition of Scholastic’s The Magic School Bus Explores the Rainforest is available to schools, libraries and museums. It includes a free Teachers Activity Guide to enhance and extend the learning experiences. The convenient guide features an introduction to Scholastic’s The Magic School Bus Explores the Rainforest and more than 20 student activities – all designed to help teachers integrate rain forest education into their classroom curriculum.
Pricing and Availability
Scholastic’s The Magic School Bus Explores the Rainforest is scheduled to be available in May 1997 at retailers nationwide for an estimated price of $34.95. Kids can refer to http://www.microsoft.com/kids/ to learn more about Scholastic’s The Magic School Bus Explores the Rainforest, including two free downloadable interactive games (connect-time charges may apply). The School Edition, which includes the Teachers Activity Guide, also will be available for approximately $34.95.
To use Scholastic’s The Magic School Bus Explores the Rainforest, users need the following components:
Multimedia PC with 486SX/33 or higher processor
Microsoft® Windows® 95 operating system or Windows NT® Workstation operating system version 3.51 or later
8 MB of RAM for Windows 95; 12 MB for Windows NT Workstation
6 MB of available hard disk space
Double-speed or faster CD-ROM drive
Super VGA 256-color monitor
Microsoft Mouse or compatible pointing device
16-bit sound card
Headphones or speakers
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Scholastic Inc. is the nation’s leading publisher and distributor of children’s books, classroom and professional magazines, educational software and instructional materials. The Scholastic Productions Inc. division produces family-oriented video, feature film and television programming, and licenses and markets children’s properties worldwide, including “Scholastic’s The Magic School Bus,” “The Baby-Sitters Club,” “Clifford The Big Red Dog” and “Goosebumps.”
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Based on The Magic School Bus book series
©Joanna Cole and Bruce Degen.
Scholastic’s The Magic School Bus Explores the Rainforest was designed and developed by Music Pen Inc. in conjunction with Microsoft and Scholastic Inc. for Microsoft. Music Pen and the Music Pen logo are registered trademarks of Music Pen Inc. This product was created using Music Pen’s proprietary MPEN
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