175 episodes

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 and go wherever the answers take us.

Brains On! Science podcast for kids American Public Media

    • Kids & Family

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 and go wherever the answers take us.

    Do plants have feelings?

    Do plants have feelings?

    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 of Um that answers the question: why do bats sleep upside down?

    This episode is sponsored by Khan Academy (khan.com/freekidsapp)

    • 33 min
    Nervous: All about feelings, pt. 4

    Nervous: All about feelings, pt. 4

    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 the final installment in our series about feelings. Check out the first three if you haven't yet.) You know that feeling when you have butterflies in your stomach? Or maybe you get sweaty and hot? Or maybe you get fidgety and your heart beats really fast? Yeah, we know those feelings too. Today we're finding out why being anxious can make our bodies feel that way. We'll find out why fear has been really useful to our survival as a species and what you can do if that fear and anxiety is too much to handle. Plus: Mallika Chopra, the author of Just Breathe, shares a meditation to try when you're feeling nervous. And we'll finally get to hear Sanden's debut in the new Alpaca Jack musical, Fleece of Mind!
    Today’s episode is sponsored by New Cloud Control Cat Litter by Arm & Hammer, Aunt Fannie’s (auntfannies.com/summer and coupon code BRAINS), and Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls the Podcast (rebelgirls.co/podcast). You can support the show at brainson.org/donate

    • 34 min
    Staying home: How social distancing helps fight coronavirus

    Staying home: How social distancing helps fight coronavirus

    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 start?” and “Can our pets get sick too?”
    And of course there’s a Mystery Sound and a Moment of Um looking at why our tongues stick to ice.
    Please note that this episode was released on March 24, 2020. For the most up-to-date information, please head to trusted sources like the World Health Organization and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
    To learn more about how viruses spread, you can listen to our first episode about this new coronavirus: Understanding coronavirus and how germs spread
    For more on how our immune system fights viruses, check out our episode: How do flu vaccines work?
    For more on how to know which sources of information are trustworthy, you can check out our four-part series Prove It:Part one: A brief history of factsPart two: Science under the microscopePart three: The scoop on journalismPart four: How to find the facts
    Please note that this episode was released on March 24, 2020. For the most up-to-date information, please head to trusted sources like the World Health Organization and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
    This episode is sponsored by Perfect Snacks (perfectbar.com/brainson). Brains On is a non-profit public radio podcast. You can support the show at brainson.org/fans

    • 33 min
    Narwhals: Unicorns of the sea?

    Narwhals: Unicorns of the sea?

    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 explores whether or not water has a taste.
    Today’s episode is sponsored by KiwiCo (kiwico.com/brainson), Khan Academy Kids (khan.co/freekidsapp) and iD Tech (idtech.com/brains).
    Brains On is a non-profit public radio podcast. You can support Brains On at brainson.org/fans.

    • 27 min
    Understanding coronavirus and how germs spread

    Understanding coronavirus and how germs spread

    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 tough hand washers.
    Plus a Mystery Sound and a Moment of Um that looks at why shoelaces come untied.
    Please note that this episode was released on March 10, 2020. For the most up-to-date information, please head to trusted sources like the World Health Organization and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
    For more on how our immune system fights viruses, check out our episode How do flu vaccines work?
    Our friends at NPR made a really excellent comic about the new coronavirus, and you can read it here.
    For more on how to know which sources of information are trustworthy, you can check out our four-part series Prove It:Part one: A brief history of factsPart two: Science under the microscopePart three: The scoop on journalismPart four: How to find the facts
    This episode is sponsored by Blinkist (blinkist.com/brains) and Laurel Springs Online School (laurelsprings.com/brainson)

    • 32 min
    Weather Watching: The birth of forecasts

    Weather Watching: The birth of forecasts

    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 episode has a 100% chance of being super interesting.
    Today’s episode is sponsored by Khan Academy Kids (khan.co/freekidsapp) and Perfect Kids (perfectbar.com/brainson). You can support Brains On at brainson.org/fans. And you can find information about our live shows in Boston, Washington DC and New York at brainson.org/fans.

    • 29 min

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