Brains On! Science podcast for kids

Brains On! Science podcast for kids

Brains On!® is a science podcast for curious kids and adults from American Public Media. Co-hosted each week by kid scientists and reporters from public radio, we ask questions ranging from the science behind sneezing to how to translate the purr of cats, and go wherever the answers take us. @Brains_On... Show More

Episodes

July 14, 2020 24 min
We’re talking all about teeny, tiny robots in today’s episode. You know, the ones that are as light as a postage stamp and as look like insects? They may be small, but these robots can still take in information and make decisions on their own. Find out how bees and cockroaches are teaching us about the future of small robots and what big tasks they might take on. There’s also a new Mystery Sound to rattle your ears. Plus a moment o...
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We’re taking on an age-old question today: Do kids have more energy than adults? Breakfast tacos, caffeine, an energized DJ and an epic battle between a girl and her parents. This episode has all that and then some. Discover how we turn food into energy at an awesome taco party. Then pump up the jams with DJ Thyroid. Speaking of music, get ready for a song from Lake Street Dive’s Mike Olson. And just when you think the show might b...
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The world is full of color, but how do our eyes see it? In this episode we’ll explain how color vision works, complete with a journey to a jazz club in the back of your eye. We’ll also look at the cultural meanings of the color red, we’ll find out about a new type of blue, and we’ll find out why stoplights use green to mean go. Our Moment of Um tackles the question, “why are bees black and yellow?” This episode is sponsored by Kiw...
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A lot of us are angry right now, with good reason. We’re seeing people treated unfairly because of racism -- that’s when people don’t like someone’s race or the color of their skin.In this episode we’ll talk about how anger can be a useful emotion and can be used to push for change. We’ll also revisit parts of our 2019 series on emotions, including an explanation of the hormones behind anger, why some of us are quicker to anger tha...
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May 26, 2020 18 min
We're very excited to share an episode of a brand new podcast we've been working on called Julie's Library. It’s hosted by the legendary, the one and only, Julie Andrews. Every week, she and her daughter Emma Walton Hamilton read from their favorite children’s books. The featured book in this episode is Marilyn’s Monster by Michelle Knudsen, and illustrated by Matt Phelan. You can listen to more episodes and subscribe ...
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We’re all doing our best to stay safe from coronavirus, but is there anything we can do for others as well? In this episode we look at some ways you can help from home, like by making masks, donating to food banks or writing letters. Two stars of the World Handwashing Federation stop by to explain the science of how water actually dries out our hands. Plus, Kara and Gilly interview science journalist Carl Zimmer on the weird world ...
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Ink is amazing. It helps us captures our thoughts, comes in many colors and some of it is even made by animals! In this episode we explore the history of this special substance. We’ll also talk squid ink with biologist Sarah McAnulty and explain how tattoos work. Plus, your poems about ink! Obviously there’s also a Mystery Sound and a Moment of Um that answers the question: what happens if salt is poured on snails? This episode...
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April 28, 2020 39 min
You don’t have to search far to find amazing Mystery Sounds. If you listen, you can find them in every room of your house. Today’s episode is chock full of these audible wonders. They are cotton candy for the ears! They are the notes to make your tympanic membrane sing! It’s time for the Mystery Sound Extravaganza! An episode made up of nothing but Mystery Sounds, most of them recorded by our amazing listeners.Plus, today's Mo...
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Like an onion, the Earth has layers. In this episode we’ll see if you can dig through those layers to get to the center of the planet. We’ll also hear about the Danish scientist who discovered more about Earth’s core by studying earthquakes. Plus, we investigate the phrase “dig a hole to China.” Children’s book author and illustrator Oliver Jeffers stops by to talk about the Earth’s crust. “Here We Are,” his book about our vast a...
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Get ready for some smiles! We’re looking at the science of two things that bring us joy: tickles and cuteness. We’ll explain why tickles make us giggle and why you can’t tickle yourself. Then we’ll talk about what makes cute things cute and why sometimes we want to eat or smoosh cute things. Plus, a super cute Mystery Sound and a Moment of Um answering the question: “Can a moon have a moon?” This episode is sponsored by iD Tech (...
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Scientists around the world are working fast to fight the new coronavirus. They’re developing medicines to help people who are sick. They’re also working on vaccines to stop the virus from spreading. In this episode we’ll explain how these treatments work and we’ll give you some tips on keeping six feet from other people while taking a stroll outside. Oh, and Kara and Gilly stop by to drop some epic virus facts. Plus a Mystery Sou...
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March 31, 2020 33 min
There’s more to plants than meets the eye. They detect sounds, they defend themselves against insect attacks and they can even send each other secret messages through the wind! Our leafy, green friends sense and interact with the world in their own, planty way. We’ll learn all about it in this episode, plus we’ll find out why some plants like to grow in spots where other plants have died. We’ve also got a Mystery Sound and a Moment...
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March 27, 2020 34 min
This is a special re-release of an episode from our series on emotions. It’s all about how to handle big feelings like anxiety, nervousness and fear. There have been so many unexpected changes in all of our lives and a lot of us have big feelings right now. And that’s good -- we should feel those feelings. We also think having facts and information can help you feel more in control. This episode should help you with that. (This is ...
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Lots of schools are closed and people are staying home. In this episode we’ll explain how all of this could help slow the spread of the new coronavirus. We’ll explain some terms you’re probably hearing too, like “social distancing” and “flattening the curve.” Plus, we talk with a doctor who is on the front lines helping people get better, and two virus podcasters help answer your coronavirus questions like, “How did this virus sta...
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March 17, 2020 27 min
Narwhals are whales, and super cool ones at that. But that cool thing coming out of their heads is a tusk, not a horn. Which means it’s a tooth! And it’s the only known spiral tooth to boot! In this episode, we learn all about narwhals (what that tusk is for and how they’re connected to the myth of the unicorn) and the evolution of teeth (from scale-like nubbins to the versatile chompers we have today). Plus our Moment of Um explor...
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It’s impossible to miss the news about coronavirus, but you probably still have lots of questions. What exactly is it? How does it spread? Can I protect myself? In this episode we’ll breakdown what we know about this new virus and tell you how to stay safe. Plus, we’ll listen to a podcast hosted by two chatty viruses to learn how these germs spread (and how our bodies fight back). We’ve also got a special message from some super t...
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Humans have been predicting weather for a long time - way before modern technology. So how did they do it? We’ll meet the man who invented the word “forecast” and brought weather reports to the newspaper. Plus, we'll tell you how to watch for signs of rain and we'll learn about the field of phenology. Oh, and we’ve got a Mystery Sound, Moment of Um and a weather lore game show. So grab an umbrella and tune in because this e...
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February 25, 2020 26 min
Dust looks gray and boring to us, but it’s full of secrets! Like did you know that up close, dust is colorful? And there are creatures living in your dust? And some dust comes from outer space? We’ll take you on a tour of the dust universe and show you how dust can help solve crimes. Plus, we learn about the tiny critters living all over your skin! And of course there’s a Mystery Sound and a Moment of Um that answers the question: ...
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February 18, 2020 32 min
It’s something so natural that we take it for granted — but when you think about it, it’s a little strange. Why does water come out of our eyes? And why does it happen when we’re happy? Or sad? Or scared? Or exhausted? In this episode we dive into our mysterious emotional tears, find out […]
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February 11, 2020 34 min
How did wolves go from wild, untamed animals to the friendly furballs we know as dogs? In this episode we’ll learn about how our canine companions evolved. Plus, we’ll get a howling lesson, meet a pack of Alaskan wolves that moved to the Minnesota Zoo and hear what wolves mean to members of the Anishinabe Nation. And don’t forget: an action packed Mystery Sound and a Moment of Um about chapped lips. This episode is sponsored by Per...
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