“Don’t try this at home–we are what you’d call ‘experts’.” When you hear these words, you know it’s MythBusters time. Subscribers to Discovery Education Streaming are lucky to be able to have on-demand access to many Mythbusters episodes to use with their students. (Note: It may be that Mythbusters is for Discovery Streaming Plus subscribers only. If that isn’t the case, I’d love it if someone could clarify that in the comments section)
Two of my favorite Mythbusters episodes:
3M Young Scientist Mythbuster’s Challenge: Adam and Jamie guide winners of the 3M Young Scientist content through three ecological challenges that highlight the scientific method.
President’s Challenge: President Obama asks Adam and Jamie to take another look at a myth that they’d already done, the Archimedes solar ray. Adam, Jamie and crew have to problem solve to find new solutions.
You have the choice of watching a number of full episodes (approximately 44 minutes in length), video segments or “theme-base” mini-episodes–which are really just edited for one myth instead of the couple of myths they do in a full episode. (For example: “Chemical Reactions: Skunked”)
Technically, most Mythbuster videos are tagged for 6th grade and above. However, as long as you’ve chosen an appropriate “myth” (my criteria=no guns, weapons or bombs), I have found Mythbusters episodes useful for kids 3rd grade and up. The videos are so great for showing kids what real-world collaborating, innovation and problem solving looks like–and in an engaging and often hilarious way!
One of our favorite things to do is to watch the video segments leading up to the actual “final myth bust test” and discuss whether or not the myth will be busted, plausible or confirmed and how we might conduct our experiments differently if we were Adam and Jamie. Each episode has download-able PDF already for this purpose. You can find that here. We’ve also done this activity as a group discussion, a Today’s Meet backchannel and even as a Writing Builder prompt. Another great activity is for kids to brainstorm suggestions for a myth that they could submit to the show. Teacher’s guides are also included with each episode.
A related show (a spin-off, so to speak) available on Discovery Ed is “Head Rush” where Kari Byron combines some Mythbuster footage with other content that takes a deeper look into the science behind why things work the way they do. This content is a little too sophisticated for my primary-aged students, but has great potential for students in middle school and older.
On a (slightly) related note- we are lucky enough to have the “Mythbusters Explosive Exhibition” here at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science through January. It was pretty cool to be able to check out some of the Mythbusters artifacts (see picturesand even experiment with some of the myths seen on the show. For those of you not in the Colorado area, definitely check our their Educator Page. There are great resources for classroom mythbusting as well as other great activities.
It’s true. There are definitely many myths that you shouldn’t try at home. But you should definitely try incorporating MythBusters video content into your classroom instruction.