200 episodes

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! Science podcast for kids American Public Media

    • Education for Kids

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.

    Meet Gitanjali Rao, Time Magazine's first-ever Kid of the Year

    Meet Gitanjali Rao, Time Magazine's first-ever Kid of the Year

    Today we have a special episode featuring an old friend of ours -- scientist and inventor Gitanjali Rao. Time Magazine recently named her the first-ever Kid of the Year!

    We first met Gitanjali back in 2018, when she was the co-host for a series of episodes we did all about water. Back then, she was a 12 year old who had recently won 2017 Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge.

    Now, she's a very busy 15 year-old who is an inventor, STEM advocate and author. Molly and Gitanjali chat about how kids can turn their ideas into reality, and why kids shouldn't be afraid to share their viewpoints and skills with the world -- we need them!

    Gitanjali has also written a book, which you can check out here.

    Also, you can hear Gitanjali judge a very science-y Smash Boom Debate: Helium vs Neon!

    Check out the water series that Gitanjali co-hosted:


    What’s in your water?

    The wonderful weirdness of water

    Keeping water healthy, one clue at a time

    Burning rivers of fire

    • 22 min
    How do synthesizers work?

    How do synthesizers work?

    Synthesizers are a very recent invention, especially when you compare them to acoustic instruments, like pianos and guitars. In this episode, we learn how these machines with keys, knobs, switches, buttons and sliders actually make sound. We’ll also travel back to the 1960’s and hear how synth pioneers like Bob Moog helped bring these sound making devices into the mainstream. Plus, we’ll check in with Suzanne Ciani, who has been using her synthesizer to create iconic sounds for movies, television and video games for over 50 years! All that plus a striking Mystery Sound and Moment of Um that answers the question: Do airplanes have a speed limit?



    Today’s episode is sponsored by Sun Basket (sunbasket.com/brainson promo code: brainson)

    • 35 min
    Why is it so hard to break a habit?

    Why is it so hard to break a habit?

    If habits are really stuck, we don't think much about them -- we just do them! Some habits are good (like brushing your teeth in the morning) and others are not as good (like biting your nails).

    Today we find out what parts of our brains help us form habits and why it's actually super useful to not have to think so hard about everything. Gungador tries to break a bad habit, and we find out the best tips for ditching habits we want to leave behind.

    Plus: A brand new mystery sound and a Moment of Um that answers the question: "How do 3D glasses work?If you want to join the Brains On fan club and get a mailing of awesome temporary tattoos, have an adult sign up or update your mailing address at brainson.org/fanclubToday’s episode is sponsored by KiwiCo (kiwico.com and promo code BRAINSON) and Purple (purple.com/brainson10 and promo code BRAINSON10).

    • 30 min
    Smash Boom Best: Flowers vs Rainbows

    Smash Boom Best: Flowers vs Rainbows

    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 RainbowsSanden 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 debate, find Smash Boom Best wherever you listen to podcasts. There are over 30 debates ready for your binge listening this holiday season! Play along at home by yourself -- or with your family! You can find score sheets and other fun stuff at smashboom.org

    • 15 min
    Bones from the inside out

    Bones from the inside out

    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 be back with new episodes on Jan. 5th. Until then, we’d love for you to go check out our sister show Smash Boom Best (smashboom.org). We’re also going to be doing a live virtual hangout in November where you can ask Molly, Marc, Sanden and Menaka all your questions. Anything you want to ask, we’ll answer! If you want to join us, the first step is to sign up for our totally free fan club (brainson.org/fans). In November we’ll send an email out to the fan club with more details about this free, virtual hang out. So keep an eye out for that!This episode is sponsored by KiwiCo (kiwico.com/brainson), Ancestry (ancestry.com/brainson), Purple (purple.com/brainson10), Guardian Bikes (guardianbikes.com/brains), and Pillsbury Grands Cinnamon Rolls (pillsbury.com/products/cinnamon-rolls). You can support the show and help us keep making new episodes at brainson.org/donate

    • 32 min
    Why do siblings annoy each other?

    Why do siblings annoy each other?

    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 droplets?



    This episode is sponsored by:

    KiwiCo (https://kiwico.com/brainson)

    Ancestry (https://ancestry.com/brainson)

    White Hat Jr. (https://www.whitehatjr.com/)

    General Mills Pillsbury (https://www.pillsbury.com/products/cinnamon-rolls)

    If you want to find out more about how to stop bullying, please go to Stop Bullying Speak Up: http://includesomeone.com/

    • 36 min

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