Living the Scientific Life (Scientist, Interrupted)

It takes three legs to make a tri-pod
Or to make a table stand.
It takes three wheels to make a ve-hicle
Called a tricycle.

Every triangle has three corners,
Every triangle has three sides,
No more, no less.
You don’t have to guess.
When it’s three you can see
It’s a magic number.

Do you remember those Saturday mornings, sitting around in front of the TV in your pajamas when you were a kid, waiting for that week’s episode of Schoolhouse Rock? I do. So I have decided it would be fun to watch one of the Schoolhouse Rock videos with you each week, just like the good old days, except I will show the videos on Friday mornings so you can watch them when you are at work (incidentally, I ran into a minor glitch this morning because today’s selection disappeared, so I substituted this video, which I had planned to publish in a couple weeks instead. Because of this little snafu, I am publishing this one in the afternoon. Otherwise, the videos will appear at 9EST).

For those of you who don’t know, between 1973 and 1985, Disney produced 46 different editions of Schoolhouse Rock. Each episode was a 3-minute vignette that combined catchy music and informational lyrics for a number of educational topics in one of five categories; Math, Science, Grammar, Government and Money. This video, the “Magic Number Three”, was the one that gave rise to the entire series, in fact. As you probably remember, Schoolhouse Rock episodes traditionally appeared during Saturday morning cartoons, between Scooby-doo (which I liked) and LaffOlympics (which I hated). The 30th anniversary edition DVD is available if you would like to purchase it. As far as I am concerned, this DVD is a great gift for your kids and for yourself (no, I don’t get anything for plugging this DVD here, although I will be happy to tell you if something changes along those lines).



  1. #1 scott pilutik
    July 28, 2006

    Thanks GrrlScientist for this. I remember well watching only ABC cartoons in those years because only those shows were punctuated by Schoolhouse Rock features, many which hold up amazingly well today. It’s noteworthy that this particular cartoon served as the basis for the equally catchy De La Soul song from 1989, “Magic Number” (off of 3 Feet High and Rising). An 30 second snippet of the song can be heard here (Amazon site):

    ~ scott

  2. #2 David Harmon
    July 28, 2006

    And (afaik) you need three interrelated variables to produce chaos….

    But that might not scan too well. 😉

    The Schoolhouse Rock stuff, well, it rocks. I was pleased to find that my nephews were listening to their CDs in the(ir parents’) car.

  3. #3 jocelyn
    July 28, 2006

    :::I’m just a bill, from Capitol Hill…:::

    (and they thought I was playing those things for my babies – ha!)


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