Gigantic Insect Invades Chicago’s Navy Pier

CHICAGO, March 30, 2000 — It’s spring, and a young child’s fancy turns to – humongous flying insects? A crowd of 1st- and 3rd-graders was buzzing around a 70-foot-long inflatable insect today outside the Chicago Children’s Museum at Navy Pier. The larger-than-life replica had the leading role in a celebration of the mysterious beauty of bugs at Microsoft Corp.’s national launch of Scholastic’s The Magic School Bus® Explores Bugs.

The youngsters from Washington Elementary School, Evanston, Ill., were delighted to be greeted by the least-creepy of crawlers: a bright yellow half-ladybug, half-magic school bus, just one of hundreds of interesting creatures found in the newest edition of Scholastic’s The Magic School Bus software series. Once inside the Museum’s Tech Center, the arthropod adventure began with a special in-person appearance by Ms. Frizzle, Scholastic’s The Magic School Bus science teacher extraordinaire, along with a pet tarantula and an array of insects from around the globe.

Bugs Can Be Beautiful

The students also previewed Microsoft’s new software, Scholastic’s The Magic School Bus Explores Bugs, a lively journey through the tiny world of insects. Hundreds of the busy denizens of ponds, meadows, jungles and forests – from beetles to mosquitoes – were featured on computer screens at the museum, attracting young scientists like bees to honey.

“Children are either fascinated or frightened by bugs, and this event offered a fun way for children to learn about insects found in their own backyard and around the world,”
said Dr. Judith Yturriago, Washington Elementary School principal.
“It shows kids that bugs can be beautiful as well as beneficial.”

To further bring the concept from the computer screen to the classroom, the children applied their know-how and dug right into some buggy activities. Constructing squishy bug masterpieces from Play-Doh, participating in a brain-teasing Name That Bug contest, and, for those who aren’t squeamish, viewing live insects, made the event a real

Learning the ABCs of Ants, Beetles and Cockroaches

The Scholastic’s The Magic School Bus CD-ROM series, designed to educate children about science concepts by using interactive games and activities, experiments, science reports and tips from Ms. Frizzle and her students, is aimed at children ages 6 to 10.
“We’ve designed our software to constantly challenge children to explore, discover and learn about science and the world around them through the use of technology,” said Lisa Brummel, general manager, Microsoft® Kids software.

The software also allows children to take control and make choices on their own. And no matter what their personality or learning style, there is something for each one – pictures, sounds or the written word. The youngsters’ newfound knowledge can then be applied to help them better understand real-life scenarios, such as why spiders are actually a homeowner’s best friend, or how the Asian long-horned beetles found their way to Chicago.

Scholastic’s The Magic School Bus Explores Bugs also helps kids learn about science in the classroom. Educators can find lesson plans and classroom activities on the Web page for Microsoft Scholastic’s The Magic School Bus at .

Facts on the Fly

Scholastic’s The Magic School Bus Explores Bugs is the eighth Microsoft title based on
“Scholastic’s The Magic School Bus”
hit television show and best-selling book series. Like the TV show and books, the award-winning software titles feature a cast of characters who go on virtual field trips around the world on a yellow magic school bus. This time, the mission is to locate bugs in various locations that have escaped from the class terrariums.

Scholastic’s The Magic School Bus Explores Bugs for the PC and Apple Macintosh is available now from retailers nationwide for an estimated retail price of $19.95. To learn more about the Scholastic’s The Magic School Bus CD-ROM series, kids can refer to . Volume discounts may apply for schools and libraries. Details are available at .

Scholastic Entertainment Inc. (SEI) is a leading producer of quality, family-oriented television programming, feature films and videos, and a major licensor and marketer of children’s properties worldwide. Scholastic Entertainment produces Scholastic’s The Magic School Bus, the top-rated, Emmy and Annenberg award-winning series starring Lily Tomlin (Fox Kids); Goosebumps® , the top-rated award-winning children’s television show (Fox Kids); the live-action Animorphs TM (Nickelodeon® ); Scholastic Clifford the Big Red Dog TM (in production, PBS KIDS TM ); and critically acclaimed feature films,

The Baby-Sitters Club TM ,” “The Indian in the Cupboard”
“The Mighty.”

SEI is the entertainment and media division of Scholastic Inc., the global children’s publishing and media company that creates and distributes innovative and quality educational materials for use in school – children’s books, textbooks, magazines, technology and teacher materials – and engaging and appropriate products for use at home – magazines, software, television programming, videos and toys. More information is available at Scholastic’s Web site at .

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq
) is the worldwide leader in software for personal and business computing. The company offers a wide range of products and services designed to empower people through great software – any time, any place and on any device.

Scholastic, The Magic School Bus, Animorphs and The Baby-Sitters Club are trademarks of Scholastic Inc.

Clifford the Big Red Dog is a trademark of Norman Bridwell.

Goosebumps is a trademark of Parachute Press Inc.

Based on The Magic School Bus book series
©Joanna Cole and Bruce Degen.

PBS KIDS is a trademark of the Public Broadcast Service.

Microsoft is a registered trademark of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.

The names of actual companies and products mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.

Photo will be available after noon CST on Feature Photo Service via AP Photo Express.

Note to editors: If you are interested in viewing additional information on Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft Web page at on Microsoft’s corporate information pages.

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