PBS has long been a laboratory for science educators interested in reaching young people. A sample of some stand-out programs, some of which still air today:

"3-2-1 Contact" (1980-88): An offshoot of "The Electric Company" featuring "The Bloodhound Gang," a geekier version of the Hardy Boys.

"Newton's Apple" (1983-99): One of the longest-running children's series, it was the first to strongly encourage kids to take a do-it-yourself approach to science.

"Bill Nye the Science Guy" (1993-98): The host may not have triggered preteens to start wearing bow ties, but his musical parodies ("R.E.C.Y.C.L.E.," with apologies to Aretha Franklin) caught on.

"The Magic School Bus" (1994-97): This animated favorite will get a tune-up with new episodes coming to Netflix next year.

"DragonflyTV" (2002-09): A pumped-up version of "Newton's Apple" with faster camera cuts and hipper music.

"Sid the Science Kid" (2008-13): Preteens are encouraged to get in on the fun through teamwork, animated using Jim Henson Digital Puppetry Studio.

"SciGirls" (2010-15): Young females, mostly from the Twin Cities area, prove that anything boys can do, they can do better.

Neal Justin