Brains On! A podcast featuring science for kids and curious adults.
Brains On!

Brains On!

From MPR News

A podcast featuring science for kids and curious adults.

Most Recent Episodes

Angry: All about feelings, pt. 3

This is the third of our four-part series on feelings. Today we're learning why we all get angry and what to do with that emotion. We'll get in touch with our inner Super You Person and learn what physical reactions anger can trigger in our bodies. We'll also hear how our listeners describe their anger and talk to NPR reporter Michaeleen Doucleff about the different flavors of anger that people describe around the world. Plus: Mallika Chopra shares another meditation to try when you're feeling mad. For more on meditation and mindfulness, you can check out Mallika Chopra's book for kids, Just Breathe. Today's episode is sponsored by KiwiCo (kiwico.com/brainson), Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls the Podcast (rebelgirls.co/podcast), New Cloud Control Cat Litter by Arm & Hammer, and Aunt Fannie's (auntfannies.com/summer and coupon code BRAINS). You can support the show at brainson.org/donate

Sad: All about feelings, pt. 2

This is the second episode in our four-part series on feelings! In this episode, we're covering the small and big parts of sadness. Because this episode touches on some heavy pieces of sadness — we recommend kids listening along with an adult, so you can talk over any questions that come up. But this episode has plenty of fun stuff, too! We'll learn about how social animals — from goldfish and penguins, to humans — all seem to get sad sometimes. We'll talk about some ways to help handle sad feelings (doctor-approved pet cuddles, anyone?). And Neptune and Pluto will join us to cover a few ways to help friends or family members who are feeling blue. Mallika Chopra will also share a meditation to help with sad feelings. In fact, she leads meditations in each episode of this series. For more, you can check out Mallika Chopra's book for kids, Just Breathe. Another note about sadness: everybody feels sad sometimes, and that's totally normal. It can help to talk about your sadness with someone, like a friend or parent. But sometimes sadness can feel overwhelming. If you don't feel like you have anybody to talk to and feel unsafe, there are people ready to listen. Call 800 273-8255. It's a free phone call, and people are there all the time, ready to listen and help. This series is a collaboration with Call to Mind, American Public Media's mental health initiative. This episode is sponsored by Rebel Girls the Podcast (rebelgirls.co/podcast), KiwiCo (kiwico.com/BRAINSON for a free trial), Relay (relaygo.com/BRAINS for 15% your Relay purchase on Amazon) and New Cloud Control Cat Litter by Arm & Hammer.

Happy: All about feelings, pt. 1

Where do feelings come from? And why do we have them? In this four-part series, we're digging deep into our emotions. In this first episode, we're getting happy! We'll get a play-by-play of the chemicals in our brain that trigger joyful feelings, and use the zoom ray to see what good vibes do for our bodies. We'll also hear about how each of us have different emotional thermostats and why thinking about our feelings can help us figure out what to do with them. At the end of this episode — and every episode in this series — Mallika Chopra shares a meditation that can help us manage our feelings. For more on meditation and mindfulness, you can check out Mallika Chopra's book for kids, Just Breathe. This episode is sponsored by Old El Paso, Rebel Girls the Podcast (rebelgirls.co/podcast), Relay (relaygo.com/BRAINS for 15% your Relay purchase on Amazon) and New Cloud Control Cat Litter by Arm & Hammer.

Thinkin stinkin: Why we smell

You may have noticed some strong smells coming from your feet, your friend's breath, or your brother's armpit. Where do these body odors come from? We'll meet the microscopic organisms responsible and visit the kingdom of Footsteros. We'll also find out why we might find these naturally occurring smells so disgusting. Plus: A brand new Moment of Um answers the question: Why do stink bugs stink? This episode is sponsored by Cloud Control Cat Litter by Arm & Hammer, Bona Premium Spray Mop (bona.com/brainson), and Quip (getquip.com/brainson). You can support the show at brainson.org/donate

Forever echo: Can a sound wave go on forever?

Today we shout out our love for the ECHO! (echo echo) Discover how these curious callbacks happen and why we hear them in some places but not others. We'll also play you the longest echo in the world and take you to an echo-proof room. Plus, an actual echo stops by to share its new podcast and we hear the answer to this Moment Of Um question: why can wild animals drink dirty water when humans need clean water? Today's episode is sponsored by Loacker (loackerlove.com/powermom2019), Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls the Podcast (rebelgirls.co/podcast), Philo (philo.tv/brains) and New Cloud Control Cat Litter by Arm & Hammer. You can support the show at brainson.org/donate

The hows and whys of hair

The hair on our heads is on our minds. We have fun with follicles and learn about how they make hair. Our experts help us decipher what makes hair black or brown, blonde or red, and even why it turns gray. From eye lashes to ear and nose hair, this episode has it all. Why do humans have hair and not fur? Why is there hair on the top of our heads? How does hair grow? How does hair become curly or straight? Plus: A brand new Moment of Um answers the question: "Why does my dad get fuzz in his belly button?" This episode is sponsored by Philo (philo.tv/brains), New Cloud Control Cat Litter by Arm & Hammer, Bona Premium Spray Mop (bona.com/brainson) and Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls the Podcast (rebelgirls.co/podcast). You can support Brains On at brainson.org/donate

Why are smartphones so hard to put down?

Screens are everywhere these days! We're taking a look at why smartphones are so addictive, and how our devices affect us. Our co-hosts took on a bold challenge for this episode: they went a week without phones or tablets. We'll hear how their experiment went, then Sanden will fill us in on the brain chemical that trains us to love our screens. We'll also learn why the predictability of messages and alerts on smartphones makes them extra hard to put down. Plus, we'll get a few tips from Catherine Price, the author of How to Break Up With Your Phone. Price has more resources for screen time habits at https://phonebreakup.com/. And! A new moment of Um: why are bruises blue, and how do we get them? This episode is sponsored by "The Last Kids on Earth" by Max Brallier, available wherever books are sold, and Quip (getquip.com/brainson). You can support the show at brainson.org/donate

Mystery Sound Extravaganza 2019

This episode is an ear-tickler! Guess your way through eleven mystery sounds — one from a scientist, and ten from listeners like you! Plus, another mystery: what's making Marc and Sanden dance to the sounds of a door jamb and a printer? Stick around for all these reveals, and the answer to a new Moment of Um: Why is air invisible? This episode of Brains On is sponsored by the Kevin Henkes book, "Sweeping up the Heart," Panama City Beach (visitpanamacitybeach.com), and Philo (philo.tv/brains). You can support the show at brainson.org/donate

Carnivores: Plants and animals that bite back

Most plants get the energy and nutrients they need from water, sunlight, air and soil. But carnivorous plants get key nutrients from a different source: bugs. We'll find out how they do it and talk about the mystery of how venus fly traps snap shut. Plus: Two gardeners – one very experienced and one just starting out – offer their tips for growing venus fly traps. So that's plants, but what about animals? Carnivores are animals that only eat other animals – so how do they get the vitamins, minerals and fiber that we humans get from eating plants? We take a trip to a salad bar with some animal pals to find out. This episode is sponsored by: Bona premium spray mop (bona.com/brainson), The Kevin Henkes book, ""Sweeping up the Heart," Panama City Beach, (visitpanamacitybeach.com), Madison Reed hair color (madison-reed.com) - use promo code brainson at checkout for 10% off. You can support the show at brainson.org/donate

Carnivores: Plants and animals that bite back

Flush! Where does our poo and pee go?

Every time you flush, your poo and pee start an epic journey. From the toilet, to the sewers, to a treatment plant, our waste travels quite a distance only to end up cleaner by the end. We'll hear from a "PooTube" star about her experience with "the flush." We'll also hear about ancient sewers, a "fatberg" under London and a toilet that cleans waste on site. Plus, our Moment of Um answers why you can feel your heart beating in your neck of all places. Sponsors for this episode include: The new Kevin Henkes book, "Sweeping Up The Heart," Panama City Beach (visitpanamacitybeach.com), Calm (Calm.com/brainson) for 25% off premium subscription, Quip (getquip.com/brainson) to get your first refill pack free. You can support the show at brainson.org/donate

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