Category Archives: Media: Podcasts

Listening Now: Brains On!

logo_taglineBrains On!: A Podcast for Kids & Curious Adults hosted by Molly Bloom, produced by Marc Sanchez, writing and reporting by Sanden Totten; Available on iTunes, Apple Podcast, Stitcher, iHeartRadio, TuneIn, Spotify, and NPR One

Synopsis: Brains On! is a podcast featuring science and kids produced by American Public Media. We ask questions and go wherever the answers take us. Sometimes that means talking to a food scientist or a snake handler, other times that means putting on a play about sound waves or writing songs about sleep. A different kid co-hosts each episode. We talk to them about the interesting stuff they’re doing and the things they think about. It’s a science lesson for your ears – so join us and turn your brains on! – from the website

This podcast is another one of many that has helped to support the STEM movement, helping kids and adults alike get in touch with hard science (psychology is considered a soft science). The hosts tackle things from farts to how airplanes fly to why mosquitoes are so annoying to how our brains read books – and so much more! I also think it is unique to have different kid co-hosts each show that come on and talk a little bit more about their experiences with the topic. One of the episodes even featured some kid inventors that have won national awards for helping to tackle issues that they notice in their everyday lives. It was inspiring to me because there was never anything quite this big when I was growing up and I’m always so excited to hear about how kids are going out and exploring and interacting with the world around them. I remember science fairs being a huge deal when I was in school and in some school districts around the country they still are a big deal. You can also sign up for a monthly newsletter that gives some extra special bonus content to go along with the episodes. It’s a great way to get inspired to get out there – here are so many things to do and explore and showcase their smarts – you just have to know where to look.

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Listening Now: Tumble Science Podcast for Kids

tumbleTumble: A Science Podcast for Kids hosted by Lindsay Patterson and Marshall Escamilla; Available on iTunes and Soundcloud

Synopsis: Join Lindsay and Marshall as they talk to scientists and explorers about science and ask those burning questions we’ve forgotten we wanted to ask about the world around us.

The podcast may be aimed at kids 8-12, but its designed to be listened to as a family. This makes sense to me, partially because of the advent of the STEM movement. The Tumble Manifesto asserts that “We struggle with understanding science in society” and I feel that to an extent that this is accurate. It’s not uncommon to hear the phrase ‘science/research suggests…’ in the media, but what does it really mean? It means that a lot of curious people saw a problem, asked a question, and through a process of research and trial and error experimentation, came up with a (plausible) answer. And that is really what this podcast is after: inspiring curiosity. Kids are some of the sharpest observers of the world and unfortunately, that curiosity about the world often gets stifled by the principle of belief. Science isn’t so much about belief as it is about wonderment: once upon a time, mankind wondered about celestial bodies, whether or not the Earth was really round, and what kept up from floating off into space. But there are so many other questions that need to be asked and answered, and others that have been asked that still need smart, curious people to answer them. That’s what makes this podcast so enjoyable: it encourages kids to go out and explore and discover the world around them. It wants to foster the future generations so that they will go out and do their own investigations rather than depending on society at large to spoon feed them the answers. Plus, science is just cool. Seriously. Like, consider this for a moment: we see stars (balls of gas burning billions of miles away) as small points in the sky, but because they are so far from Earth, it’s possible to still see a star even after it has stopped burning (for one reason or another). And it all has to do with how light travels through space. Every time we turn on a light in our house, it’s because a scientist/engineer figured out a way to bring electricity to the homes of the populace. My point is, we need to know and reinforce that it’s okay to ask questions, that we need to be going out into our backyard and communities and exploring the world around us and telling stories about what we find, and this podcast does that. So next time you have a problem, try science. You never know what you might find.


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Filed under Media: Podcasts