The new title introduces kids to volcanoes through a series of gentle learning exercises that incorporate games, experiments, trivia and creative activities. Kids find out why volcanoes erupt, what the Ring of Fire is (it’s a fault line where many of the world’s earthquakes and volcanoes are located), and more. The title also incorporates videos and photos of volcanoes in action.
The new software title incorporates the characters seen in The Magic School Bus, a series of popular books and television shows in which animated schoolteacher Ms. Frizzle takes her class of inquisitive students on virtual field trips around the world and throughout space as she teaches them about all aspects of science. This time, kids board schoolteacher Ms. Frizzle’s magic school bus as it transforms into a helicopter that hovers above volcanoes to reveal information.
The Magic School Bus features the Volcano Observation Station, where kids get to participate in activities like Rub A Dub Sub, where they navigate a submarine toward the volcano research ship while avoiding red lava, black smokers and underwater chimneys. They can watch Volcanic Videos of magma and molten lava bubbling and spewing in action. Kids also get a chance to make their own volcano by experimenting with different types of magma, gas and pressure, to find out what factors affect different eruptions. They’ll also find out real-life facts like the story of one volcano that formed a new island near Iceland called Surtsey, or what a volcanologist — a scientist that studies volcanoes — does.
System requirements call for a PowerPC-equipped Mac running at 233MHz or faster; Mac OS 8.1 or later; 32MB RAM (64MB for Mac OS 9 or later); 15MB HD space; 4x CD-ROM; 256-color display.
Scholastic’s The Magic School Bus Volcano Adventure Activity Center is available on hybrid CD-ROM, compatible with both Mac OS and Windows. The software carries an estimated retail price of US$19.95.