Brains On! Science podcast for kids

American Public Media

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.

  • 29 minutes 29 seconds
    How do vacuums work?

    Vacuums are full of surprises! Did you know that they blow air out to suck things up? Or that old-fashioned vacuums were so huge, they had to be hauled from house to house by horses?!


    Join Molly and co-host Baker as they learn all about these awesome appliances. They’ll dig into vacuum history, shrink to the size of air molecules and explore the inside of this curious contraption, and even check out a vacuum museum in Missouri. All that, plus a tricky new mystery sound that will blow you away!


    Subscribe to Smarty Pass for ad-free feeds, bonus episodes, and ticket discounts!


    Today’s episode is sponsored by:
    - Poshpeanut.com/brainson - Receive 20% off your first order
    - Indeed.com/brainson - Receive a $75 sponsored job credit with code brainson
    - Inside Out 2 - Disney and Pixar's Inside Out 2 is coming to theaters, June 14th.



    14 May 2024, 8:00 am
  • 27 minutes 4 seconds
    How do stringed instruments make sounds?

    Have you ever wondered why a guitar sounds different from a violin? Or why a banjo is twangy and a cello is mellow? Then this episode is for you!

    Join Molly and co-host Ellie as they explore the ear-tickling world of string sounds! Together, they’ll learn about sound waves, and visit the Brains On instrument petting zoo, where they'll learn about all the amazing sounds that stringed instruments can make. Plus, a shiny new mystery sound!


    Subscribe to Smarty Pass for ad-free feeds, bonus episodes, and ticket discounts!


    Today’s episode is sponsored by:
    - Poshpeanut.com/brainson - Receive 20% off your first order
    - Indeed.com/brainson - Receive a $75 sponsored job credit with code brainson
    - Paramount’s IF - From writer and director John Krasinski comes a new film about what happens to our Imaginary Friends (IFs) when we grow up. Out in theaters on May 17th!

    7 May 2024, 8:00 am
  • 1 minute 20 seconds
    Smarty Pass Sneak Peek: Radical Design

    Looks like Marc has a beautiful new plant but doesn’t know where to put it. Direct sunlight or indirect sunlight? It’s too hard to figure out! But you know what’s not hard to figure out? Whether or not you should play Molly’s new game, Radical Design! Grab your Smarty Pass to see what producers Marc Sanchez and Rosie duPont think homes would look like on other planets!

    3 May 2024, 8:00 am
  • 29 minutes 11 seconds
    How to build a house on the Moon

    Humans have visited the Moon but we’ve never lived there. Could we build a home on our lunar neighbor? Join Molly and co-host Ira as they find out why the Moon can be a dangerous place, and what it would take to live there. We’ll imagine a visit to a lunar hotel, hear about all the stuff humans have left up there and even hear a song sung by the Moon herself!


    Featured Expert: Phil Plait, astronomer, journalist and author of several books, including, Under Alien Skies: A Sightseer’s Guide to the Universe, which uses science and imagination to paint a picture of what it would be like to vacation on the moon.


    Subscribe to Smarty Pass for ad-free feeds, bonus episodes, and ticket discounts!


    Today’s episode is sponsored by:
    - Poshpeanut.com/brainson - Receive 20% off your first order
    - Indeed.com/brainson - Receive a $75 sponsored job credit with code brainson
    - Paramount’s IF - From writer and director John Krasinski comes a new film about what happens to our Imaginary Friends (IFs) when we grow up. Out in theaters on May 17th!

    30 April 2024, 8:00 am
  • 34 minutes 25 seconds
    Are there insects in Antarctica?

    Looking for an escape? Join Molly and co-host Julian as they explore Antarctica! They’ll learn about Antarctica’s massive ice sheets and active volcanoes — plus they’ll meet the largest land animal on the continent! (Hint: it’s black, shiny, and can perch on a pencil eraser!)

    Then they’ll chat with scientist Dr. Jennifer Mercer about what it’s like to live and work in one the coldest places on the planet and explore what Antarctica was like 90 million years ago. (Hint: It was a lot like a beach resort!) And stick around for a  mystery sound that’s so cool it’ll give you goosebumps!


    Subscribe to Smarty Pass for ad-free feeds, bonus episodes, and ticket discounts!


    Today’s episode is sponsored by:
    - Sitkaseafoodmarket.com - Use promo code Molly35 to receive $35 off your first order.
    - Indeed.com/brainson - Receive a $75 sponsored job credit with code brainson
    Poshpeanut.com/brainson - Receive 20% off your first order

    23 April 2024, 8:00 am
  • 26 minutes 42 seconds
    How can you tell when food is expired?

    Have you ever taken a big ol’ whiff of rotten milk? It probably smelled like dirty socks or stinky garbage. Blech! But why does food go bad, and how can we be sure that something is fresh and safe to eat?


    Join Molly and co-host Rachel as they explore the world of food expiration dates — those little numbers and dates on food packages that help us figure out how old food is! Together, they’ll find out why food goes bad, listen to a rotten egg sing about the power of the sniff test, and learn about the history of expiration dates from Forever Ago host Joy Dolo! All that plus a treat for your ears — an all-new mystery sound!


    Subscribe to Smarty Pass for ad-free feeds, bonus episodes, and ticket discounts!


    Today’s episode is sponsored by:
    - Sitkaseafoodmarket.com - Use promo code Molly35 to receive $35 off your first order.
    - Indeed.com/brainson - Receive a $75 sponsored job credit with code brainson
    Poshpeanut.com/brainson - Receive 20% off your first order

    16 April 2024, 8:00 am
  • 24 minutes 2 seconds
    How does ibuprofen help stop pain?

    Ouch! If you’ve ever stubbed your toe, gotten a paper cut or fallen off your bike, you know that getting hurt is no fun. Sometimes we can take medicine to help feel better, like ibuprofen. But how does that medicine know where to go in our bodies to stop the pain?

    In this episode, Molly and kid co-host Skylar explore where pain comes from and chat with expert Dr. Amanda C de C Williams about why it’s useful. Then they’ll eavesdrop on an ibuprofen pill on its first day of work to find out how it does its job. And of course, an all new mystery sound!


    Subscribe to Smarty Pass for ad-free feeds, bonus episodes, and ticket discounts!


    Today’s episode is sponsored by:
    - Sitkaseafoodmarket.com - Use promo code Molly35 to receive $35 off your first order.
    - Indeed.com/brainson - Receive a $75 sponsored job credit with code brainson

    9 April 2024, 8:00 am
  • 1 minute 22 seconds
    Smarty Pass Sneak Peek: Mystery Sound Investigation

    Oh no! It looks like Brains On host Molly Bloom and producer Marc Sanchez are in some deep trouble, and the only way to get out of it is with an extra special game of Mystery Sound. Will either of them be able to guess the right sound? Grab your Smarty Pass to find out!

    5 April 2024, 8:00 am
  • 26 minutes 17 seconds
    Everything you need to know before the 2024 solar eclipse

    On April 8, a total solar eclipse will be visible on a path that crosses North America, from the west coast of Mexico to the east coast of Canada. In this episode, Molly and co-host Aminah cover all your eclipse essentials: What causes an eclipse? What’s it like to experience one? How do you watch one safely? (Spoiler alert: Don’t stare at the sun without special eyewear. Really. Please. Don’t do it.) Plus, indigenous science educator Nancy Maryboy tells us about Navajo and Cherokee traditions during an eclipse and we’ll meet Dr. Ralph Chou, a scientist who has seen 29 total solar eclipses. And, of course, a stellar new mystery sound!


    Come see Brains On live in Washington, DC, Princeton, NJ, and Brooklyn, NY! Get tickets here: brainson.org/events


    Subscribe to Smarty Pass for ad-free feeds, bonus episodes, and ticket discounts!


    Today’s episode is sponsored by:
    - Sitkaseafoodmarket.com - Use promo code Molly35 to receive $35 off your first order.
    - Indeed.com/brainson - Receive a $75 sponsored job credit with code brainson

    2 April 2024, 8:00 am
  • 37 minutes 15 seconds
    Are UFOs real?

    We love a good mystery, and UFOs are magnificently mysterious! But are they real? In this episode, Marc and Sanden take over the Brains On feed with a new episode of their radio show, Hoax Hunters. They’ll look into the myths and hoaxes surrounding UFOs (which stands for unidentified flying objects). Plus, they’ll talk about what kinds of things often get mistaken for UFOs and how you can stay smart and skeptical when hearing shocking information. And of course, an episode about mystery will have an all-new Mystery Sound!


    Read more about Val Johnson from MPR News.


    And if you love Hoax Hunters, check out our Making Sense of Myths series!




    Come see Brains On live in Washington, DC, Princeton, NJ, and Brooklyn, NY! Get tickets here: brainson.org/events


    Subscribe to Smarty Pass for ad-free feeds, bonus episodes, and ticket discounts!


    Today’s episode is sponsored by:
    - Sitkaseafoodmarket.com - Use promo code Molly35 to receive $35 off your first order.
    - Indeed.com/brainson - Receive a $75 sponsored job credit with code brainson

    26 March 2024, 8:00 am
  • 1 minute 1 second
    Join us for Brains On live in April!

    Hello friends! We're so excited to announce that Brains On is coming to the east coast!


    We’re doing three live shows -- in Washington DC, Princeton, New Jersey and Brooklyn, New York!


    Our live show is a super fun journey through the brain, featuring magic tricks, a game show, mystery sounds and even dancing! You can get tickets at brainson.org/events


    Plus, after each show, we're having a VIP party, where you can meet and play games with me, Marc and Sanden.


    And -- if you're not able to make it to our live shows in person, we'll be doing a virtual event in April that anyone can join! Tickets for that are also available at brainson.org/events


    Thanks so much for listening to Brains On and we can't wait to meet you in Washington, DC, Princeton, New Jersey and Brooklyn, New York! Again, you can get your tickets at brainson.org/events. Hope to see you there!

    19 March 2024, 4:12 pm
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