But Why: A Podcast for Curious Kids

Vermont Public Radio


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!

Available on


190 episodes

Why do sharks have so many teeth?

Why do sharks have multiple sets of teeth? Why do sharks lose so many teeth? Do sharks eat fish? How do sharks breathe underwater? Do sharks sleep? Give a listen to this totally jaw-some conversation about sharks with Dr. Kady Lyons, shark researcher at the Georgia Aquarium https://www.georgiaaquarium.org/! We also tackle: Why are dinosaurs extinct and sharks are not? Were megalodons the biggest sharks in the world? Do sharks have noses? How do sharks communicate? Why do sharks bite? Why are sharks dangerous? Download our learning guides: PDF https://npr.brightspotcdn.com/49/08/c97d4ac14ea5903e1753285b2461/why-do-sharks-have-so-many-teeth.pdf | Google Slide https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1UvN163RjgsNZ3YvZ_ZS1sw-JoDGz9OI6W9BT0eboeNU/copy | Transcript https://npr.brightspotcdn.com/c7/de/5bc339da402aa1ebf10464b807d4/but-why-190-sharks-transcript.pdf __ __

Sep 23
How do popcorn kernels pop?

How do popcorn kernels pop? How do salmon know where to return to spawn? How do rabbits change colors? Why does television fry your brain? How do zippers zip stuff? Who was the fastest runner in the world? In this episode, we'll tackle all of these questions! Download our learning guides: PDF https://npr.brightspotcdn.com/1d/22/8c05b8aa489f93e01409c5d07ec9/how-do-popcorn-kernels-pop.pdf | Google Slide https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1Z8dmC9tu30EBfWEoGOLPb5-Vb26S_0w0_PIM6R-x0bY/copy | Transcript https://npr.brightspotcdn.com/ff/d9/9a0cf53147a4831db806387a7fc1/189-popcorn-repeat-transcript.pdf __ __ How a zipper works https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0omSfvaJ2Z8 Sounds Wild http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/index.cfm?adfg=soundswild.main

Sep 09
How do snakes slither?

Field trip time! Today we’re learning all about snakes while out on a search for timber rattlesnakes in New York with state wildlife biologist Lisa Pipino. Some of the questions we tackle: How do some snakes make venom? Why are some snakes venomous and others are not? Why do rattlesnakes have a rattle? How do snakes slither on the ground without legs? Why don’t snakes have legs? Why don’t snakes have ears? How do they smell with their tongues? Why do some snakes use heat vision? Do snakes sleep? Why do snakes stick out their tongues so much? Download our learning guides: PDF https://npr.brightspotcdn.com/42/26/e99eb7c646f893f6ef7fe8ccc6a5/how-do-snakes-slither.pdf | Google Slide https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1lDLDL6wjbwb5bTodQ7Z2fO03Wyr2rnP-K6s-J1Xkp2o/copy | Transcript https://npr.brightspotcdn.com/7e/c0/3a161d1343b7aef150102cfe540e/but-why-188-snakes-transcript.pdf __ __

Aug 26
Why do we feel pain?

Why do we feel pain when we get hurt? What is pain? Why do we cry when we get hurt? Why do we say ow or ouch? We’re learning about how pain works with Joshua Pate. He’s a physical therapist and author of a forthcoming children’s book series https://www.noigroup.com/zoe-zaks-pain-hacks/ about pain. Download our learning guides: PDF https://npr.brightspotcdn.com/67/e9/5cc04f7e49f9a0a3fc2953afe552/why-do-we-feel-pain.pdf | Google Slide https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1hvmUmeVjb9oBQeZGIT1WxatQzpVarlcDseSZ-cbwwvs/copy | Transcript https://npr.brightspotcdn.com/ce/53/8953d7024fdfbd16a20d9c4282fa/but-why-187-pain-transcript.pdf __ __

Aug 12
Why do we have friends?

Why do friends care about each other? How do you make friends? Can you have more than one best friend? How do you deal with a bully? We answer questions about friends and bullies with Dr. Friendtastic https://drfriendtastic.com/ (also known as Eileen Kennedy-Moore), a psychologist and author of . And we get lots of advice from kids themselves about how to make friends and deal with bullies.  Download our learning guides: PDF https://npr.brightspotcdn.com/92/6f/d4ce11e04e7a9acdb390ba045a92/why-do-people-have-friends.pdf | Google Slide https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/115hcdWoUmQpq4OM1-bGQqRNrXIdSlLMCue4ZZ2rg-yc/copy | Transcript https://npr.brightspotcdn.com/7a/c5/9f91acbf487e9d154002888d54ae/but-why-186-friends-bullies-transcript.pdf __ __

Jul 29
Why do crickets chirp?

How are crickets so loud? Why do they chirp at night? How are they different from grasshoppers? We’re talking crickets today with Karim Vahed, a cricket and katydid expert and entomologist (bug scientist) at the University of Derby in the United Kingdom. Professor Vahed also takes on some of your pressing insect questions: Do insects have bones? What do baby bugs like to do? Do insects drink water? Why are bugs so important? Download our learning guides: PDF https://npr.brightspotcdn.com/ec/3d/97ad2a0a40ca92e624e99ffdee69/why-do-crickets-chirp.pdf | Google Slide https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1j84okY8898CXMjD8q1CE_yYNQO3s4qFPnZIaeDS1nKE/copy | Transcript  https://npr.brightspotcdn.com/30/75/91f1aca64e9a981cfbd3a4e0a124/but-why-185-crickets-transcript.pdf __ __

Jul 15
Who doesn’t love ice cream?

That’s just one of the questions we answer in this week’s episode, which also includes instructions on how to easily make your own ice cream at home! We’ll also tackle the why and how of melting ice cream and why some flavors tend to melt faster than others! Our expert in this episode is ice cream entrepreneur Rabia Kamara, of Ruby Scoops https://www.instagram.com/rubyscoopsic/?hl=en in Richmond, Virginia. It's going to be sweet! DOWNLOAD OUR LEARNING GUIDES: PDF https://www.vpr.org/sites/vpr/files/202009/how_do_you_make_ice_cream_.pdf | GOOGLE SLIDE https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1Sb-dpu8Ad2greeILCbEuXhoS6ZJw3oxJ3wQohTt7gSY/copy  | TRANSCRIPT https://npr.brightspotcdn.com/d9/da/8deadea049669ccac5b9e6575b91/but-why-184-ice-cream-transcript.pdf After listening, if you're ready to try making ice cream at home, here's Rabia's easy recipe. INGREDIENTS: 2 cups of heavy cream 1 14oz can of sweetened condensed milk Optional additional flavorings: a splash of vanilla pinch of salt And whatever else you might want to add! (Chocolate chips, cookie crumbles, etc.) INSTRUCTIONS: Use a hand mixer to beat the heavy cream until it is the consistency of whipped cream, with peaks that hold their shape. Fold any additional ingredients into the sweetened condensed milk and add the mixture to the heavy cream and fold them together using a spoon. Put into a freezer safe container. Let freeze for about 8 hours. Enjoy!

Jul 01
Do you have to be tall to play basketball? Questions for the Washington Mystics

The Washington Mystics of the WNBA join us in this episode to answer all of your questions about the sport of basketball and what it’s like to be a professional athlete. How many basketballs does the team have? Why do balls spin when you bounce them? Who invented basketball? Why are basketballs orange with black lines? Why do men and women play on separate teams? How do injuries impact professional careers? And do you have to be tall to play hoops? Download our learning guides: PDF https://npr.brightspotcdn.com/16/df/c5f8e2c243148e2c8ffe99e35c77/do-you-have-to-be-tall-to-play-basketball.pdf | Google Slides https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/16PEi0i6__dzWg5y6eqpwN1dLZkeyVTaVcW9s_fdHJTQ/copy

Jun 17
Why are pandas black and white?

For the past 50 years, visitors to the Smithsonian National Zoo in Washington, D.C. have been able to observe giant pandas. It’s one of the few places in the United States to see these black and white bears. For our latest episode we took a field trip to the zoo to visit the three pandas currently living there and answer panda questions with zookeeper Mariel Lally. We tackle: Why do animals live in the zoo? Why are pandas black and white? Do pandas hibernate? How can we save the pandas? And check out our social media pages for lots of pictures! Download our learning guides: PDF https://npr.brightspotcdn.com/69/a0/f8e2567340dfbede08121acaa59a/why-are-pandas-black-and-white.pdf | Google Slide https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/10b9rUjqDWF4yDe-N27X3-vjZEF8a1aiQ0Ai6GNQ2iCQ/copy | Transcript https://npr.brightspotcdn.com/7a/5f/392d6dbe4957bdc81e8b70050645/but-why-182-pandas-transcript.pdf __ __ RESOURCES National Zoo’s Panadriffic Pack (games and coloring pages) https://nationalzoo.si.edu/zoo-guardians Panda Cam https://nationalzoo.si.edu/webcams/panda-cam

Jun 03
Special Episode: How do you talk to kids about violence in the news?

When there's mass violence in the news, especially when it involves children, it can be really hard to know how to speak to your kids about what is going on. In this special episode FOR ADULTS, we talk with a child psychologist about some recommended ways to approach these conversations. We first released this episode in 2016, and are heartbroken and angry that it remains so relevant.  Dr. Robin Gurwitch is a child psychologist at the Duke University Medical Center, and she has served on numerous commissions and committees about children and trauma, including the National Advisory Committee on Children and Disasters. Though this episode is for adults, we know children sometimes listen to episodes without adults around, so the information in this episode is intended to be non-traumatizing for children to hear. (Transcript https://npr.brightspotcdn.com/84/88/b4e81c38467cbe312ef880a2dad3/butwhy-181-violentnews-transcript.pdf) HERE ARE ADDITIONAL LINKS FOR MORE INFORMATION: __ __

May 25
What is climate change?

What is climate change? What is causing climate change? How do you cool down the earth? How is climate change affecting the oceans? Kids are hearing about climate change and they have lots of questions. In this episode we explain the science of climate change and look at how humans will adapt to a rapidly warming planet. We speak with Dr. Claudia Benitez-Nelson, oceanographer at the University of South Carolina and Dr. Jola Ajibade, a geographer at Portland State University. This certainly isn’t a comprehensive look at the issue, but it’s a good way to start a conversation about this issue for families and teachers. Download our learning guides: PDF https://npr.brightspotcdn.com/cf/eb/6a9ecaad45ea96464cc3e4d897fa/what-is-climate-change.pdf | Google Slide https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1Ru2ujhx8-m3ytaFz1ONZSOyMt_DN5OooLnshWpknTAk/copy | Transcript __ __ RESOURCES NASA’s Climate Kids https://climatekids.nasa.gov/climate-change-meaning/ NASA’s Kids’ Guide to Climate Change https://climatekids.nasa.gov/kids-guide-to-climate-change/kids-guide-to-climate-change.pdf National Geographic Kids Climate Change Explainer https://kids.nationalgeographic.com/science/article/climate-change Take Action: Young Voices for the Planet https://www.youngvoicesfortheplanet.com/for-kids/ Science Moms https://sciencemoms.com/

May 20
Why do flowers bloom?

Why do flowers bloom? How do flowers grow? Why are flowers different colors? Why do people find flowers beautiful? How are seeds made? Why do plants grow from seeds? Why do we put seeds in the garden? We’re answering your questions about seeds and flowers with garden writer Charlie Nardozzi and Hannes Dempewolf from The Crop Trust. Find more answers to plant questions in two of our older episodes: and   Download our learning guides: PDF https://npr.brightspotcdn.com/0e/55/328ebb5a4fc2b7bdcf8c82089813/why-do-flowers-bloom.pdf | Google Slide https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1uChvggYYwW53Nc5FO7QZJG_TLXUGMTBf8WWhBQgdv7E/copy | Transcript https://npr.brightspotcdn.com/76/cd/6db1a75a49f59cbbcc270010fc07/butwhy-179-flowers-transcript.pdf __ __ RESOURCES Seed sprouting experiment https://www.scholastic.com/parents/school-success/learning-toolkit-blog/germinate-seeds-and-watch-them-sprout-windowsill.html Window gardening for kids https://www.ahealthiermichigan.org/2016/03/07/diy-how-to-grow-a-counter-top-garden-for-kids/ Webinar: Gardening with Kids https://www.vpr.org/inside-vpr/2020-08-21/sept-3-growing-together-gardening-with-kids-webinar-recap

May 06
Why are some people left-handed?

Why are some people right-handed and some are left-handed? And what’s up with some people being ambidextrous (equally good with both hands)? Why, in the past, did some people try to make left-handed people use their right hands? We talk with Chris McManus, professor and author of the book . We’ll even find out how common left-handedness (or left-pawedness) is in other animals! Download our learning guides: PDF https://npr.brightspotcdn.com/1c/06/1410b5c740b39fca31c01574fb7b/why-are-some-people-left-handed.pdf | Google Slide https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1z6BuvHs3m4p3DDSVza6wQXt4m7o_LpYCF03eEcTFPs4/copy | Transcript https://npr.brightspotcdn.com/6d/77/a72aa5ff4319b22716c6f6589af3/butwhy-178-handedness-transcript.pdf __ __

Apr 22
Why do pigs oink?

Why do pigs snort? And why do we call their snorts “oink” in English? We’re taking our exploration of animal noises in two directions today. First we’ll learn about why we use different words to describe animal noises, depending on what language we’re speaking. And then we’ll examine what animals are actually saying when they oink or tweet or moo! Our guests are linguist and author Arika Okrent and bioacoustic researcher Elodie Briefer, of the University of Copenhagen. Other questions we tackle in this episode: Do cows make different amounts of “moos” to say different words? Why do ducks make loud noises? Why do roosters cockadoodle-do in the morning? PLUS, so many kids sent us animal noises in different languages and we’ll hear them all! Download our learning guides: PDF https://npr.brightspotcdn.com/89/95/a862770140e3be6282caba2bb940/why-do-pigs-oink.pdf | Google Slide https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/14fkn8jmEy-h3zBSbL4b2Km5b832fDHKAEmMhtdRxuE4/copy __ __

Apr 08
How much does the moon weigh?

We’re bringing back an episode from the archives, all about the moon: Why does the moon change shape? How much does it weigh? What color is it? Why does the Earth only have one moon? Why does it have holes? Where does it go when we can't see it? Why do we sometimes see it in the daytime? And why does the moon look like it's following you when you're in the car? Answers to your moon questions with John O'Meara, chief scientist at the W.M. Keck Observatory. http://www.keckobservatory.org/ Download our learning guides: PDF https://npr.brightspotcdn.com/37/a7/ee61d36946e1988a4ba239e1f5c3/how-much-does-the-moon-weigh.pdf | Google Slide https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1RvJfpPwrgS8pWZoqjQoCguK17pTNw5en8W_0d5_tI7g/copy | Transcript https://www.vpr.org/sites/vpr/files/202008/But-Why-82-Moon-TRANSCRIPT.pdf | Coloring Page https://www.vpr.org/sites/vpr/files/202005/coloring-page-see-the-moon-moran-20200504.pdf __ __

Mar 25
Why is Russia invading Ukraine?

The invasion of Ukraine has been the top story in the news for the last few weeks, and kids around the world are asking questions about what is happening and what it means for them. In this episode we ask Erin Hutchinson, Assistant Professor of Russian History at the University of Colorado Boulder, to help us understand the history behind this conflict. Adults: we don’t go into detail about what war looks like on the ground, but we acknowledge war is a scary topic. You may want to preview this episode ahead of time to make sure it's right for your kids. Download our learning guides: PDF https://npr.brightspotcdn.com/a6/8e/7429aeeb41d48ecfe2cfd5706e55/what-do-you-do-when-the-news-is-upsetting.pdf | Google Slide https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1EK_Szu6W6pTbIv67vFnZxZABHBEOaZPN_Ul-NeHm8m8/copy | Transcript https://npr.brightspotcdn.com/4d/46/42fee64c4d1b85755f3af8449407/but-why-175-ukraine-transcript.pdf We have collected some resources for parents/caregivers about how to talk to kids about war and ways families can help.  HOW TO TALK TO KIDS ABOUT WAR Meet the Helpers https://www.meetthehelpers.org/ Common Sense Media https://www.commonsensemedia.org/blog/how-to-talk-to-kids-about-violence-crime-and-war News Sources for Kids from Common Sense Media https://www.commonsensemedia.org/lists/best-news-sources-for-kids NAMLE Parent’s Guide to Media Literacy https://namle.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/parent_guide_final.pdf WAYS TO HELP Save the Children https://www.savethechildren.org/us/charity-stories/how-to-explain-conflict-ukraine-to-children UNICEF https://www.unicef.org/ukraine/en Eurasia Foundation https://www.eurasia.org/support-for-the-people-of-ukraine/ Donations for refugees in Moldova https://moldovamatters.substack.com/p/updated-how-to-help-refugees-in-moldova?s=w

Mar 11
How did people keep food cold in olden times?

Violet, 5, wants to know: what was life like before refrigerators? And Ellinor, 6, asks: how did they make ice in the old times? In this episode, we learn about the history of ice harvesting and the industry that built up around it, where ice cut from lakes in New England was shipped to as far away as India and the Caribbean. We hear more about this history from Gavin Weightman, author of . And we visit Rockywold-Deephaven Camps in New Hampshire, where ice is still harvested each winter from Squam Lake and used to keep old fashioned ice boxes at the camp cool all summer long. Download our learning guides: PDF https://npr.brightspotcdn.com/fb/14/768afd5c4fc2ba87b0d709893525/how-did-people-keep-food-cold-in-olden-times.pdf | Google Slide https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1xKmXoW2Re0rusxgwGQpnkBjqJHT-TWsacc95OzhbIBU/copy | Transcript https://npr.brightspotcdn.com/fa/6f/2dd9956043eca8a5c51c8af367cb/but-why-174-ice-harvesting-transcript.pdf __ __ RESOURCES Ice Harvesting Video https://www.rdcsquam.com/rdc-ice-harvest-2022/

Feb 25
Why is the heart a symbol of love?

Why is the heart a symbol of love? Why do people draw hearts when they love someone? Why do we draw hearts the way we do when they're nothing like the hearts inside of your body? And do we need a heart to love or does the brain do it? We’re learning all about hearts and symbolism with Thomas and Stephen Amidon, authors of .    Download our learning guides: PDF https://npr.brightspotcdn.com/53/6c/ea8510c34e71a08a57b489c3ebc8/why-is-the-heart-a-symbol-of-love.pdf | Google Slide https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1AEGCN2xg9rMhVn81Kx8C5Q4e_HV5CELFBKz5MUuEQHM/copy | Transcript https://npr.brightspotcdn.com/e2/f2/a9e5628e4501a83895fb008efea8/but-why-173-hearts-transcript.pdf __ __ RESOURCES How the heart actually pumps blood - TEDEd https://ed.ted.com/lessons/how-the-heart-actually-pumps-blood-edmond-hui Your Hardworking Heart and Spectacular Circulatory System https://www.getepic.com/book/50521616/your-hardworking-heart-and-spectacular-circulatory-system by Paul Mason Heart and Circulatory System Activities https://www.weareteachers.com/circulatory-system-activities/

Feb 11
How are images chosen for coins?

The U.S. Mint is producing a new series of quarters featuring American women. The first one, featuring poet Maya Angelou, has just been released. We're learning about coins are made and how images are chosen for money around the world. The US has a law preventing any living person from appearing on its money. Kenya has a new rule preventing any individual people on their money at all. Meanwhile, many countries with kings or queens have those leaders on their money while they’re still in power. Questions we tackle in this episode: How are coins made and how do they get their logos? How are presidents chosen for coins? Why does Lincoln have his shoulder in the picture while other presidents don’t? Why are coins different sizes? What are coins made of? We learn more from Rodney Gillis of the American Numismatic Association and Leigh Gordon of the Royal Australian Mint.  Download our learning guides: PDF https://npr.brightspotcdn.com/26/5d/14e437dc4b0e8672041358678625/how-are-images-chosen-for-coins.pdf | Google Slide https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1W1jgGqQqK_JFjKo_ssq2OR7t4_xHslFX83-8wlpaMc4/copy | Transcript https://npr.brightspotcdn.com/7d/5b/56e5bfbc4239814b96ab086063df/but-why-172-coins-transcript.pdf __ __ RESOURCES Coins for A’s https://www.money.org/young-numismatists/coin-education/coins-for-as U.S. Mint Collector’s Corner https://www.usmint.gov/learn/kids/collectors-corner How Coins Are Made https://youtu.be/pTm18offyuw

Jan 28
Why does the wind blow?

What causes wind? How is wind created?  Why does the wind blow in different ways? How does the wind start blowing and what makes it stop? Why is it windy by the ocean? Why does it get windy when the weather is changing? How is it you can you feel and hear the wind but not see it? Why is the wind sometimes strong and sometimes cold? Answers to all of your wind questions with National Weather Service Meteorologist Rebecca Duell. Download our learning guides: PDF https://npr.brightspotcdn.com/ff/20/a802665542fa9883d38ff57b603c/why-does-the-wind-blow.pdf | Google Slide https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1_h0job0ZdpzjuSEEEUqxo0tnC99TOnHifaI4F_iw1mQ/copy | Transcript https://npr.brightspotcdn.com/cc/75/eac163ee41bbb7999849161c8a08/but-why-171-wind-transcript.pdf __ __ RELATED EPISODES What’s What With The Weather? https://www.vpr.org/programs/2016-12-09/whats-what-with-the-weather How Do Meteorologists Predict the Weather?  https://www.vpr.org/programs/2019-11-08/how-do-meteorologists-predict-the-weather EXPERIMENT One way to see the wind is to put some steam or smoke into the air. Which way is it blowing? Be sure to have an adult help you! Or you can look at a smokestack or chimney. Which way is the smoke blowing? Are there other ways you can see the wind?

Jan 14
What Would You Invent? Ideas From Kids

We asked our listeners: if you could invent anything what would it be? And we got so many fantastic ideas from kids all over the world: a solar cooler, a chimney that changes carbon dioxide to oxygen, a slide that gives you an ice cream cone at the bottom, and more. Some kids would like to invent robots that do their chores, flying cars, teleporting devices to take them back in time, and even a bully behavior zapper.  This episode is all about creativity! But how do you take a great idea and turn it into reality? We’ll get advice from teenage brothers Ayaan and Mika’il Naqvi, who invented, patented and now sell Ornament Anchor after Ayaan came up with the idea in fourth grade.  Download our learning guides: PDF https://npr.brightspotcdn.com/b7/7b/a06a41bc4c6799db175fd0f21132/what-would-you-invent-ideas-from-kids.pdf | Google Slide https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1jVtqAQgKnutAoVQdhiZ9lNw-P6t8jqIffeqefdAp1ZQ/copy | Transcript https://npr.brightspotcdn.com/d8/15/d243fc144139ac2afe9a45600c2c/but-why-170-inventions-transcript.pdf __ __ LEARNING RESOURCES Little Inventors https://www.littleinventors.org/  Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/8073.Cloudy_With_a_Chance_of_Meatballs U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Resources for Kids https://www.uspto.gov/kids/index.html Camp Invention https://www.invent.org/programs/camp-invention

Dec 31, 2021
Why do seasons change?

Why do seasons change? Why does it get darker earlier in the winter and why is there more daylight in the summer? Why are some seasons warm and some are cold and icy? Why do some places not have seasonal changes at all? We’re learning about solstices, equinoxes and seasons in this episode of But Why. Our guide is John O’Meara, Chief Scientist at Hawaii’s Keck Observatory. And kids around the world tell us what they like best about their favorite season.  Download our learning guides: PDF https://npr.brightspotcdn.com/7c/45/acb161b647ada1a04c7e8d09473d/why-do-seasons-change.pdf | Google Slide https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1FkVzzK26xzrIZF71NgSfaWVhPZy9BH4PluujWHLdBqs/copy | Transcript https://npr.brightspotcdn.com/ae/b4/6af899c24ad8be98a068656caee8/but-why-170-seasons-transcript.pdf __ __

Dec 17, 2021
How Are Babies Made?

How are babies made? We speak with Cory Silverberg, author of for answers to questions about how we all come into the world. This is a conversation that welcomes all kinds of families as we answer questions about why babies don't hatch out of eggs, why boys have nipples, why girls have babies but boys don't and why some people look more like one parent more than the other. Later in the episode we also explore how we get our last names and how two people can have the same last name when they're not related. We made this episode with our youngest listeners in mind, but parents may want to preview this episode on their own or listen with their kids.  Download our learning guides: PDF https://npr.brightspotcdn.com/45/48/a87af5fa4f408b5a0563ed77103d/how-are-babies-made.pdf | Google Slide https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1ffXHA52utVnNP6wYesFAHHsRRbNv3l0QKrN5RgpbNUs/copy | Transcript https://npr.brightspotcdn.com/7a/ba/d9ad12f64d259ef54dfafdd67e10/but-why-168-babies-transcript.pdf * > "How are babies made?" - Wade, 7, Charlottesville, Va. __ __ BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS FROM CORY SILVERBERG BOOKS GEARED TO KIDS 4 - 7 (ISH) By Cory Silverberg and Fiona Smyth A book about where babies come from that works for every kind of family, regardless of who is in it and how the child came to be. By Laurie Krasny Brown and Marc Brown A simplified and clear introduction to reproduction, genitals, and touch. Leaves out a lot of kids and families, but better than most. by Brook Pessin-Whedbee and Naomi Bardoff Also simplified, but a good introduction on gender identity written and illustrated for younger children. BOOKS GEARED TO KIDS 7 TO 10 (ISH) By Valorie Schaefer and Josee Masse Only for girls, and not trans inclusive, but still one of the best books to cover a range of sexuality and puberty related topics. By Robie Harris and Michael Emberly Covers reproduction including intercourse gestation and birth, with a focus on heterosexual, gender normative parents and kids. By Cory Silverberg and Fiona Smyth Covers body parts, boundaries, touch, and an extensive gender section for kids and families of all identities and orientations. By Colt Keo-Meier, illustrated by Jesse Yang A picture book about a kid who knows they aren't a girl, but isn't sure if they are a boy.

Dec 03, 2021
Do skyscrapers scrape the sky?

Why is the Burj Khalifa so tall? That’s what 5-year-old Simon wants to know. The Burj Khalifa is the tallest building in the world and it’s located in Dubai. 6-year-old Isabel, who lives in Dubai, visited the tower and gives us the bird’s eye view in this episode! Plus, Janny Gédéon, architecture educator and founder of ArchForKids answers lots more questions about tall buildings: How are tall buildings built? How do they stay up? Why are so many buildings squares or rectangles? How do they make buildings that are taller than cranes? RESOURCES Architecture workshops and online learning: ArchForKids https://archforkids.com/ Download our learning guides: PDF https://npr.brightspotcdn.com/a1/ca/f9ab4b4a4607896504de775bf3a0/do-skyscrapers-scrape-the-sky.pdf | Google Slides https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/16k0ve9hQR4fgbDmPsBlr1SDN0vbhr45vFmMarNV2iio/copy | Transcript https://npr.brightspotcdn.com/b8/fc/da1629684850a22000c2a2cb8b72/but-why-kids-167-buildings-transcript.pdf * > Why is the Burj Khalifa so tall? - Simon, 5, Chicago __ __ ACTIVITY Try making the tallest tower you possibly can, just using paper. (Newspaper works great if you have some newsprint lying around. But printer paper or construction paper is fine, too.) You should focus on making it strong and stable. Strong means that it can hold something. Stable means that if it’s pushed to the side it can stay upright. You can use cardboard for the base, but otherwise, see how you can do with just paper. Need a hint? Janny says to think about the ways you’d stay stable when playing sports.

Nov 19, 2021
How do squirrels climb trees?

Squirrels are everywhere. Three hundred or so species of these often adorable rodents live on every continent except Antarctica. No matter where you live, city or country you’re bound to have squirrels nearby. How much do you know about our bushy-tailed neighbors? How fast do squirrels and chipmunks run? Why do squirrels have big bushy tails? Do squirrels get sick? Why do they like nuts better than berries? How do squirrels eat acorns? How do squirrels sleep? Are squirrels nocturnal?  Answers to your squirrel questions with Ben Dantzer, scientist at University of Michigan. Plus some observational activities you can do to learn more about squirrel behavior! DOWNLOAD OUR LEARNING GUIDES: PDF https://npr.brightspotcdn.com/54/dd/45f10ae74f748d1fef4df582005a/how-do-squirrels-climb-trees.pdf | GOOGLE SLIDES https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1gQfC_5mxZ1PHWchEg3qx8Ti9GuTak6yqyQcWM_3kPpU/copy | TRANSCRIPT https://npr.brightspotcdn.com/6d/bd/043d68dc4f1f94b6da96704c478b/but-why-166-squirrels-transcript.pdf SUBMIT YOUR SQUIRREL OBSERVATIONS TO INATURALIST https://www.inaturalist.org/ * > How do squirrels climb up trees? -Rachel, 5, Alabama Squirrels have long nails and they have five digits (fingers or toes) on their paws just like us.  And squirrels are expert climbers. “Some tree, or arboreal, squirrels are really well adapted to climb up trees whereas ground squirrels also have nails or claws, but they use them primarily for digging and not for climbing,” explains Ben Dantzer. “Tree squirrels have this especially long middle digit that helps them climb up and down trees.” So an extra long middle finger and they can do something else that humans can’t. “The most helpful thing they can do is when they climb down a tree, squirrels can turn their back feet around when they’re climbing down head first. They turn their rear feet entirely around so they can use those claws to hang down from a tree and walk down easily.” What? Tree squirrels can turn their feet all the way around so they’re backwards when the squirrel is climbing down a tree?! Time to go outside and see if you can observe that in the wild!

Nov 05, 2021
Why is it a shot? Kids’ questions about COVID vaccines

On October 26th, an FDA advisory panel will meet to discuss whether or not to recommend the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for kids ages 5 to 11. With potential approval coming soon, we’re answering questions from kids and parents about the vaccine, including: Why does it have to be a shot? How do vaccines work? How does a vaccine trial work? Should an 11.5yo get the shot as soon as it’s available or wait until age 12 to get the larger dose? We speak with Sofia and Nico Chavez and their parents. The kids took part in the vaccine trial at Stanford University. We’re also joined by Dr. Jenna Bollyky, an investigator in the Stanford trial site, and Dr. Mark Levine, Vermont’s Health Commissioner.  Download our learning guides: PDF https://npr.brightspotcdn.com/92/8b/1fd4778e4c8da18ab734ac76a7c1/why-is-it-a-shot-kids-questions-about-covid-vaccines.pdf | Google Slides https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1jQAalrBkj3C8nL3Fher2Bjs6GNNKLnim9nFjfIrjNzY/copy | Transcript https://npr.brightspotcdn.com/15/58/70a05d0a4cee97c67b084c0531ce/but-why-165-mrna-transcript.pdf Strategies to prepare kids for shots https://www.chla.org/blog/rn-remedies/ouch-prepare-your-child-shots  Vaccine Info from the CDC https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/recommendations/adolescents.html.  * > “Why do they have to use needles for shots?”  - Nina, 6, Maryland “In general, vaccines are a way to train your immune system without having to get sick,’ explains Dr. Bollyky Your immune system is how your body works to fight off sickness from things like viruses. Most vaccines use a small protein from the virus you want to fight, or from a similar virus – and they put that little protein in your body in a very small and weakened or changed amount to help your body learn how to fight the real invader. But giving the vaccine as a drink or a pill wouldn’t work, because of your stomach acid! “Whenever we want to give a protein or something that your body turns into a protein, the acid in the stomach does a really good job of breaking down that protein. So it’s really hard to get a vaccine that comes as a pill,” Bollyky says.     * > “Why can’t we drink medicine to keep us safe from the virus, instead of shots? - Eloise, 5, Texas    In order to get that vaccine into your muscle, where it needs to go, a doctor or a nurse uses a thin needle. They do have to poke you, but that doesn’t mean they like it. “If we could give it as a pill we would,” Dr. Bollyky promises! While that poke might hurt, sometimes the anticipation of the shot is worse than the real thing.  The reason your arm sometimes aches after getting a shot is that the immune cells are coming to be educated. “The cells around where the medication was delivered, they’re doing their job, they’re taking in the information they need and are starting to train your immune system,” Dr. Bollyky assures us. “So that immune response is exactly what you want to teach your body to fight the infection should you encounter the real virus later.”  It’s normal to feel a little tired or run down after some vaccines, including the COVID vaccine. But if you feel very ill, you should contact a doctor or health care provider.

Oct 22, 2021
How Do Apples Grow?

Why do apples have stems? Why do fruits start out as flowers? How did the first apple grow when no one was there to plant its seed? Why can you make a seedless grape and not a seedless apple? Why are apples so juicy? How is apple juice made? Why are apples hard and pears soft? In this episode we take a field trip to Champlain Orchards https://www.champlainorchards.com/ in Shoreham, Vermont to learn more about apples. Our guides are 10-year-old Rupert Suhr, his father, Bill, and apple expert Ezekiel Goodband.  Download our learning guides: PDF https://npr.brightspotcdn.com/41/60/e5336a8f4693b8ef50ba893d61ec/how-do-apples-grow.pdf | Google Slide https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1hwniCm4n1dSRmbxYte3XuiWoysIV4kXHTMDDFV7UgJQ/copy | Transcript https://npr.brightspotcdn.com/6d/9f/39efb8044d65967d91d422c99f24/but-why-164-apples-transcript.pdf  Flower to Fruit Image https://kidsgrowingstrong.org/about-fruit/ * > Why are some fruits a flower before they’re fruit? - Grayson, 8, San Jose, California Actually ALL fruits start as flowers (but not all flowers turn into fruit). Growing fruit is a way that some plants reproduce. Fruit is the nice ripe container that holds the seeds, which humans or animals will eat and then spread around (often through their poop), allowing new plants to grow. But that process begins with a flower. The outer part of the flower often has beautiful colors and shapes and smells—and that’s all part of the way the plant tries to attract a bee or other pollinator: “The flower has an ovary at the base of the petals. The petals are enticing a bee to come with the pollen from another blossom that it’s visited and there’s some nectar that the bee can collect and while the bee is doing that it’s shedding some pollen,” explains Ezekiel Goodband. “That pollen completes the information that the apple needs to start growing. So the flower is to attract the bee.” That ovary at the base of the flower will start to grow and that will become the apple that you eat. If you look at the bottom of an apple—the opposite end of where the stem is attached to the tree—you can actually see where the flower used to be. It even kind of looks a little bit like a tiny flower.

Oct 08, 2021
How Deep Is The Ocean?

We’re exploring a part of the world that not much is known about—in fact, you could be one of the people who help us understand and learn more about this very important, and very large, part of our earth. The land underneath the ocean is as varied and interesting as the terrain up on dry land—with mountains and canyons, plains and forests. (That’s right, forests! There are kelp forests where the kelp is as much as 150 feet tall!) In this episode, what’s known--and unknown--about the bottom of the ocean. How deep IS the deepest part of the ocean? And how was the Mariana Trench formed? We get answers from Jamie McMichael-Phillips and Vicki Ferrini of Seabed 2030 https://seabed2030.org/, a global collaboration designed to map the sea floor, by 2030. RESOURCES Download our learning guides: PDF https://npr.brightspotcdn.com/c0/79/2d735c2746d2b76cd39bac3f738a/how-deep-is-the-ocean.pdf | Google Slide https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1t3AvlRDsIQUUVWQvmCxj-gTL4CauQZAyGW7YxR4uRzM/copy | Transcript https://npr.brightspotcdn.com/96/8c/0837dea044ae84039c1222962818/but-why-163-oceanfloor-transcript.pdf Seabed 2030  https://seabed2030.org/ Visual: What Lurks In The Depths Of the Ocean? (CBC Kids) https://www.cbc.ca/kidscbc2/the-feed/what-lurks-in-the-depths-of-the-deepest-ocean * > “How deep is the deepest part of the ocean?” –Freya, 8, Wellington, New Zealand The deepest part of the ocean is the Challenger Deep, 11,034 meters in the Mariana Trench. It’s about seven miles deep! How did the trench get so deep?  The same processes that formed canyons and mountains on dry land also formed the depths of the ocean and the islands that peek above the water. In the case of the Mariana Trench, it was formed by the process of subduction—when one tectonic plate slides under another. A tectonic plate is a gigantic piece of the earth’s crust and the next layer below that, called the upper mantle. These massive slabs of rock are constantly moving, but usually very slowly, so a lot of changes to the earth’s structure take place over a long time. But sometimes something like an earthquake can speed that process up. A trench is formed when one plate slides or melts beneath another one. The Mariana Trench is the deepest trench in the world—farther below sea level than Mount Everest, is tall!

Sep 24, 2021
Why Do Americans Use The Word ‘Soccer?’

Kala wants to know why we say soccer in the United States, when the rest of the world calls the game "football." In this episode we hear from people who make their living in the game: professional players, coaches and commentators. DOWNLOAD OUR LEARNING GUIDES: PDF https://npr.brightspotcdn.com/87/dd/eb92619241468034adbab4ad47c4/why-do-americans-use-the-word-soccer.pdf | GOOGLE SLIDE https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1in9AWZD32rQJ8Ds3Xh3LJ6m4zUZLVlj_z5pgmRFpHZk/copy | TRANSCRIPT https://npr.brightspotcdn.com/d6/76/dbb4f39140a1b054566b7476cccb/but-why-162-soccer-transcript.pdf * > “Why is soccer called 'soccer,' instead of being called 'football?'” - Kala, Colchester, Vt. "It's an interesting question because so many people around the world play the game of football," said David Saward, now-retired men's coach at Middlebury College. "What happened with the words soccer and football goes back to the 1800s when the game was developed. There were two groups of people in Britain who got together to set the rules of two different games, one that was known as rugby football, and another that was known as association football. From those two first words: 'rugby' and 'association,' came two very separate games. Rugby was abbreviated to the word 'rugger.' And out of the word 'association' came 'soccer.' That's the root of where the two differences came." So although these days you probably won't hear many Brits calling the sport "soccer," the word actually originated there. Americans brought the nickname to the US, and as the sport became popular, soccer stuck. "When you look around the world," says Coach Saward, "there are all sorts of different forms of football: American football, Australian rules football, Gaelic football, rugby football and association football. I think for the clarity of everyone over here when we say the word football, we think of people running around with helmets and pads on; so soccer is a very clear distinction."

Sep 10, 2021
Who Invented Money?

In this episode of we visit a credit union to learn what money is all about. And Felix Salmon, Anna Szymanski and Jordan Weissman from Slate Money http://www.slate.com/articles/podcasts/slate_money.html answer questions about why money plays such a big role in modern society. How was money invented? Why can't everything be free? How do you earn money? How was the penny invented? Why are dimes so small? Download our learning guides: PDF https://npr.brightspotcdn.com/09/af/c11376ce4bdb867e73c76590a148/who-invented-money.pdf | Google Slide https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1armGc5mXGraE_o06Ux2Ny6ai7p6Gf5SZcsEWwxsF78g/copy | Transcript https://npr.brightspotcdn.com/33/62/db5838c048b0aa34d802adb68a8b/but-why-161-money-transcript.pdf Related Episodes: What Is The Biggest Number? https://www.vpr.org/programs/2017-11-22/what-is-the-biggest-number Resources: How To Talk To Kids About Money https://www.npr.org/2021/07/27/1021262899/finance-money-tips-kids-families-conversations, Million Bazillion podcast https://www.marketplace.org/shows/million-bazillion/ * > Who invented money? - Luca, 9, Ashland, Ore. There's no first person we can point to who invented money. The idea of money has evolved as human society got more complicated. In the early days of humankind, people mostly bartered. Bartering is essentially trading. But over time people realized they needed to have a system for dealing with things when there wasn't an easy trade. If you have something I want but I don't want anything you're offering because I really need something else, how do we work it out? That's where the earliest forms of money emerged. First they were things like shells or rocks. Then pieces of clay with symbols or faces pressed into them. These things don't have much value by themselves, but if everyone agrees that they're going to use them as a symbol of value, you can trade them and start a system of payment. Eventually these objects became more formalized, turning into coins and paper dollar bills, like the ones we use today. These days there's another method of buying and selling: the credit or debit card.

Aug 27, 2021