Brains On! Science podcast for kids-logo

Brains On! Science podcast for kids

Minnesota Public Radio

Brains On!® is a science podcast for curious kids and adults from American Public Media. Each week, a different kid co-host joins Molly Bloom to find answers to fascinating questions about the world sent in by listeners. Like, do dogs know they’re dogs? Or, why do feet stink? Plus, we have mystery sounds for you to guess, songs for you to dance to, and lots of facts -- all checked by experts.

Brains On!® is a science podcast for curious kids and adults from American Public Media. Each week, a different kid co-host joins Molly Bloom to find answers to fascinating questions about the world sent in by listeners. Like, do dogs know they’re dogs? Or, why do feet stink? Plus, we have mystery sounds for you to guess, songs for you to dance to, and lots of facts -- all checked by experts.

Location:

Minneapolis, MN

Description:

Brains On!® is a science podcast for curious kids and adults from American Public Media. Each week, a different kid co-host joins Molly Bloom to find answers to fascinating questions about the world sent in by listeners. Like, do dogs know they’re dogs? Or, why do feet stink? Plus, we have mystery sounds for you to guess, songs for you to dance to, and lots of facts -- all checked by experts.

Language:

English


Episodes

Smash Boom Best: Flowers vs Rainbows

11/25/2020
We’ll be back with new episodes in January. But we wanted to share another show with you that we’ve been working on: Smash Boom Best! It’s a debate show where we take two cool things, smash them together and let you decide which one is best. Today we’re sharing with you an excerpt from a debate featuring our very own Sanden Totten: Flowers vs Rainbows Sanden is repping team flowers and our good friend Joy Dolo, host of Forever Ago, is arguing for team rainbows. To hear the rest of the...

Duration:00:16:10

Bones from the inside out

10/27/2020
Bones! They’re spooky. They’re creepy. They’re utterly fascinating! This episode we dig up the science behind skeletons. We’ll look at how our bones grow, what happens when we break a bone and why bones last so long. Plus, we’ll meet a talking skeleton who will help us bone up on bone trivia! And we have a mystery sound to tickle your auditory ossicles and a Moment of Um that answers the question: Why does time fly when you're having fun? We’re taking a break after this episode and will...

Duration:00:36:15

Why do siblings annoy each other?

10/20/2020
Having a sibling is a special thing -- but, wow, can they be annoying! In this episode we’ll look at why our brothers and sisters are so good at pushing our buttons. Plus, is there any truth to the idea that oldest kids are the most mature and the youngest ones are the most charming? We’ll look at the science of personality and birth order. We also visit a sibling drive-thru, get quizzed about animal relationships and answer this question in our Moment of Um: why does rain come in small...

Duration:00:40:44

How do flu vaccines work?

10/13/2020
The flu shot changes every year. But why is the flu special, if other illnesses have much longer-lasting vaccines? This episode takes us into the world of viruses and immunity. We released this episode about flu vaccines last year but we wanted to share it with you again since it’s flu vaccine season but also because vaccines are in the news a lot lately. Scientists are testing a bunch of vaccines for the new coronavirus right now. This episode gets into the details of how vaccines work and...

Duration:00:36:15

Past, present and future: Using time to understand this pandemic

10/6/2020
If time feels weird to you lately, you’re not alone. The pandemic has changed the pace of life for people around the world. We’ll talk to a psychologist about how our sense of time works. We’ll look back into the past to see how a similar pandemic played out 100 years ago. Plus, we’ll ask experts to tell us what they think life will be like six months from now. Oh yeah, and virus podcasters Kara and Gilly are back to tell you how you can be a part of history! Warning: Boogers are...

Duration:00:44:34

Smash: When continents collide!

9/29/2020
How are mountains made? What causes an earthquake? How does hot lava come bubbling up? The answer in each case is…tectonic plates! These are giant, moving slabs of rock covering the Earth’s surface. When they slide past or smash into each other it shakes the planet. But, they also helped shape the land we live on. Find out how they work with an extreme cooking demonstration (you’ll never see peanut M&Ms the same way). Meet the scientist who thought long ago all the continents were smushed...

Duration:00:30:58

Behind the scenes: See how we make the show

9/22/2020
A listener asked how making Brains On is different during the pandemic. So with this episode we're giving you a peek into how we're making the show while staying safe. Spoiler alert: we're doing it all from our homes! What's the best way to record crystal clear sound at home? (Hint: Lots of soft surfaces!) How do we make sound effects? How do we get all the animals, humans and machines in our homes to keep it down while we tape? Plus: We asked our co-hosts to share what it was like for...

Duration:00:26:41

The buzz on bees, pt. 2

9/15/2020
In this second episode on bees (a bee-quel, you might say!) we’re taking a look at pollination: the many pollination talents of different bees, why pollination is so important, and what you can do to help wild bees! The tables are turned in the Mystery Sound department: our beekeeping cohosts have a sound for Menaka and Sanden to guess! And the Moment of Um answers an age-old stumper: how are alligators and crocodiles different? Want to hear more about bees? Listen to The buzz about...

Duration:00:28:05

The buzz on bees, pt. 1

9/8/2020
We’re making a big buzz about bees! Our pollen-collecting friends get so much done, and we’re taking a look at how they live. We’ll bust some bee myths and meet some honeybees for a look at life inside the hive. Our mystery sound is from a listener (here’s a hint: they recorded the sound in Alaska!), and our Moment of Um answers a buzzworthy question: Why do beehives look like hexagons? And! One episode on bees just isn’t enough. We’ll be back next week with more buzz on...

Duration:00:31:08

Stars: Twinkling, glowing, giant balls of gas

9/1/2020
Those tiny pinpoints of light glittering in the night sky are actually incredibly distant, giant, churning balls of gas. They produce huge quantities of light and heat. In this episode, Mars interviews the biggest star in his eyes: the sun! We also ask astronomer Moiya McTier to help us count all the stars in the universe. And we'll hear a couple of the stories that people here on earth tell about the stars. Plus, a brand new mystery sound and a Moment of Um that answers the question: how do...

Duration:00:36:49

What makes gross things gross?

8/25/2020
Fair warning: Today we’re gonna get gross! We’re talking sounds, smells, and tastes that some people might find repulsive. But we're asking: why? What's the purpose of disgust? Is it something we're born knowing or do we learn to dislike things? When will entomophagy (the eating of insects) catch on everywhere? Plus: The Moment of Um answers the question "Why do worms come out when it rains?" Today’s episode is sponsored by KiwiCo (kiwico.com/brainson), Ancestry (ancestry.com/brainson) and...

Duration:00:36:47

Poop Party: Answers to your poo questions

8/11/2020
Warning! This episode is all about the fascinating and gross world of doo doo. We know you have a lot of poo questions because you’ve sent many, many of them to us. So we’re finally bringing you the poo answers! It’s a poop party! We’ve invited scientists to tell us about weird animal feces. (It’s true! Wombats have cube-shaped poop!) We tune into a news channel all about dookie (see the Bristol Stool Chart here:...

Duration:00:41:50

Introducing: Million Bazillion

8/4/2020
We’re thrilled to share a brand new show with you. It’s called Million Bazillion and it’s all about money -- how we earn it, how we save it and how we spend it. In the first episode you’ll travel back thousands of years to learn the ways people got what they needed before money was invented. Back then some people traded goods, others made pacts to share what they had. We’ll also meet the king who came up with the idea for coins. Plus, Kristen Bell designs her own money! This show is a...

Duration:00:21:53

Masks and mouth mist: What we know about the coronavirus now

7/28/2020
Since the world first learned about this new coronavirus at the end of 2019, we’ve been watching science happen in real time. Scientists all over the world are studying this virus and learning how to protect us from it. As they learn new things, we learn new things too. One thing they’ve learned is how this virus spreads. The primary culprit is droplets from our noses and mouths. That’s why masking up is so important to protect our communities. We’ve also been hearing from a lot of...

Duration:00:34:47

The world of tiny robots

7/14/2020
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 of Um that answers the question: Why does the sun stay in one...

Duration:00:26:04

Why do kids have more energy than adults?

6/30/2020
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 be out of energy, we engage in an out-of breath competition...

Duration:00:39:49

Why does green mean go? And other color conundrums

6/16/2020
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 KiwiCo (kiwico.com/brainson) and Nurture Life (use code:...

Duration:00:36:40

Injustice and Anger: Understanding your emotions

6/3/2020
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 than others and what we can do when we feel overwhelmed by our...

Duration:00:33:07

Introducing: Julie's Library

5/26/2020
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 at Apple Podcasts...

Duration:00:19:23

Coronavirus: How to be a helper from home

5/19/2020
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 of viruses, including some viruses that help...

Duration:00:41:02