148 episodes

But Why is a show led by kids. They ask the questions and we find the answers. It’s a big interesting world out there. On But Why, we tackle topics large and small, about nature, words, even the end of the world. Know a kid with a question? Record it with a smartphone. Be sure to include your kid's first name, age, and town and send the recording to questions@butwhykids.org!

But Why: A Podcast for Curious Kid‪s‬ Vermont Public Radio

    • Kids & Family
    • 4.3 • 270 Ratings

But Why is a show led by kids. They ask the questions and we find the answers. It’s a big interesting world out there. On But Why, we tackle topics large and small, about nature, words, even the end of the world. Know a kid with a question? Record it with a smartphone. Be sure to include your kid's first name, age, and town and send the recording to questions@butwhykids.org!

    What’s Your Idea To Clean Up The Great Pacific Garbage Patch?

    What’s Your Idea To Clean Up The Great Pacific Garbage Patch?

    In 2019, we answered a question about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, a huge mass of plastic and other trash swirling around in the Pacific Ocean. Mary James heard that episode and was so inspired, she created a device to help clean up the plastic in the ocean. In this episode of But Why, we learn about her invention, the mermicorn!

    Download our learning guides: PDF | Google Slide

    Listen back to Why Is There A Big Patch Of Garbage In the Pacific Ocean?

    Kids: we'd like to know what you think could be done about all the garbage in the ocean. Download our learning guide above to draw a picture or describe an invention you would make to help clean it all up.

    Mary James sent her picture of the mermicorn to the Little Inventors competition, for Canadian children. See Mary's entry here. Her invention has been chosen from among hundreds of other submissions to be turned into a prototype, a model of what the real thing might look like. There are Little Inventors competitions in the UK as well, and lots of countries and organizations sponsor design challenges for kids. See if you can find one where you live!

    • 18 min
    What Are Robots Doing On Mars?

    What Are Robots Doing On Mars?

    On Thursday, February 18th, a robot called a rover is expected to land on the surface of Mars, and begin collecting information scientists hope will help us learn if life ever existed on that planet! We answer your Mars questions with Mitch Schulte, NASA program scientist for the Mars 2020 mission.

    Download our learning guides: PDF | Google Slide | Transcript

    NASA has a number of ways that you can watch the landing live on February 18th at 11:15 a.m. PST / 2:15 p.m. EST / 19:15 UTC.

    The rover is called Perseverance, which means not giving up, continuing to work toward a difficult goal even when challenges are placed in your way.

    And it is quite a challenge just to get to Mars! The rover was launched on a rocket from Cape Canaveral in Florida more than 6 months ago, by NASA, the U.S. Space Agency. And it has been traveling through space ever since, on a path to Mars. And now, people all over the world are eager to watch it land on Mars and get to work.

    And it’s not just Perseverance that is going to land on Mars. There’s also a helicopter, called Ingenuity, which means cleverness, creativeness and resourcefulness all rolled into one. Ingenuity, the helicopter, is basically a drone—there’s no one inside driving it around, just as there are no people onboard the rover. But ingenuity is the first helicopter to ever test-fly on another planet!

    • 25 min
    Cool Beans: How Chocolate And Coffee Get Made

    Cool Beans: How Chocolate And Coffee Get Made

    How is chocolate made? Why can't we eat chocolate all the time? Why is chocolate dangerous for dogs? Why do adults like coffee? In this episode, we tour Taza Chocolate in Somerville, Massachusetts to learn how chocolate goes from bean to bar. Then we visit a coffee roaster in Maine to learn about this parent-fuel that so many kids find gross! And we'll learn a little about Valentine’s Day.

    • 26 min
    Why Are Cactuses Spiky?

    Why Are Cactuses Spiky?

    What makes a cactus a cactus? And what are you supposed to call a group of these plants--cacti, cactuses, or cactus?! We'll find out in today's episode, as we learn more about the cactus family with Kimberlie McCue of the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix, Arizona. She'll answer kid questions about why cacti are spiky and how they got those spikes, as well as why teddy bear cacti aren't actually cuddly! Those prickly spines that are so characteristic of the cactus family are actually modified leaves! Cacti don't have the kind of leaves like a maple or oak tree. But they might have had leaves that were at least a little more like that way way back in the past. Over time, those leaves evolved into the spiky spines we see on cactuses today because they help the plants survive in hot, dry environments. Why are cactuses spiky? -Noah, Iowa "They can be a defense mechanism to discourage herbivores - animals that eat plants - from eating the cactus. But, also, spines create shade!" explains Kimberlie McCue. "When you're covered in spines, as the sun moves across the sky, those spines are casting shadows on the body of the cactus. They're little shade umbrellas!" All cacti are native to desert environments, and some live in places where it never rains at all. So how do they get water to survive? Well, Kimberlie tells us that these plants grow not too far from the ocean. "Early in the morning, there will be fog that comes off the water. Those spines provide a place for the water to condense, form little droplets of water that run down the spine, to the body of the plant, down to the ground and to the roots." Cacti are also extremely important parts of their desert environments, as they hold soil in place and provide shelter for birds and other animals. Those insects and birds in turn help pollinate the cactus flowers. Cacti are also an important local food source for humans. Unfortunately, cacti are in danger from people who poach (illegally take) wild plants from their environment. Kimberlie McCue says one way to help make sure cacti stay healthy and plentiful is to be careful when you buy cactus plants. Check to see where the plant seller got the cactus and make sure they're taking care to be ethical stewards of these plants before you buy.

    • 30 min
    What's A Screaming Hairy Armadillo? How Animals Get Their Names

    What's A Screaming Hairy Armadillo? How Animals Get Their Names

    Why are whale sharks called whale sharks? Why are guinea pigs called pigs if they're not pigs? Why are eagles called bald eagles if they're not bald? You also ask us lots of questions about why and how animals got their names. So today we're going to introduce you to the concept of taxonomy, or how animals are categorized, and we'll also talk about the difference between scientific and common names. We'll learn about the reasoning behind the names of daddy long legs, killer whales, fox snakes, German shepherds and more! Our guests are Steve and Matt Murrie, authors of The Screaming Hairy Armadillo, and 76 Other Animals With Weird Wild Names.

    • 27 min
    Hopes And Dreams For 2021 From Kids Around The World

    Hopes And Dreams For 2021 From Kids Around The World

    As the new year dawns, what are you hopeful for in 2021?Even though the change of the calendar year is mostly symbolic, New Year's Day is often a time for looking back on the year that just passed and setting goals for the year ahead. We asked you to share your hopes and dreams for 2021, from the end of the COVID-19 pandemic to your own personal goals. In this episode, more than 100 kids from around the world offer New Year's resolutions.We'll also hear from Johns Hopkins University epidemiologist Jennifer Nuzzo, climate activist Bill McKibben and Young Peoples Poet Laureate Naomi Shihab Nye.Download our learning guides: PDF | Google Slide | Transcript

    • 41 min

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5
270 Ratings

270 Ratings

Jaiden I ,

Question!

Hi, my name is jaiden and I am in Brisbane. My question is what do narwhals use there horn for.

Nathaniel.E.R ,

Sometimes I don’t get it!

Hi my name is Nathaniel I’m 8 years old and I live on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland in 🇦🇺 Australia.some of the things just don’t make sense!!!

Perthwiz ,

Perfect podcast for the car

Our whole family, from pre-schoolers to grandparents, enjoy learning about all sorts of things on our trips in the car. Thanks so much for this podcast! And for explaining the ‘big words’.

Top Podcasts In Kids & Family

Listeners Also Subscribed To

More by Vermont Public Radio