Why Are Whales So Big?

How do whales spray water? Why are humpback whales so fat and blue whales so long, and why are blue whales blue? Do whales have belly buttons? How do you weigh a whale? And how do whales drink water in the salty ocean? We have a whale of a time answering questions about these ocean-dwelling mammals with paleontologist Nick Pyenson, author of Spying on Whales: The Past, Present and Future of Earth's Most Awesome Creatures.

Why Can't Kids Vote?

In the United States, where But Why is based, we have a big election coming up. Election Day is officially on November 3rd. But more Americans than usual are voting in advance this year, sometimes in person at their town hall or city office. And sometimes by mailing in their ballot-that's the piece of paper where they mark down who they want to vote for. People in lots of states are voting for their governors, who help run their states, or their Congresspeople, who work in Washington to help run the country. But the position that's getting the most attention is the election for who will be president for the next four years. We learn about voting and elections with Erin Geiger Smith, reporter and author of Thank You For Voting and Thank You For Voting Young Readers' Edition. Also: how does the government work? Why haven't we had girl presidents before? Why are Democrats called Democrats? Why are Republicans called Republicans? Download our learning guides: PDF | Google Slide | Transcript Who Invented The President? Who Makes The Laws?

Why Are Some Animals Pets And Others Are Lunch?

This episode may not be suitable for our youngest listeners or for particularly sensitive kids. We're discussing animal ethics with author Hal Herzog. In a follow up to our pets episodes, we look at how we treat animals very differently depending on whether we think of them as pets, food, or work animals. Why do some cultures eat cows and others don't? Why do some cultures not have pets at all? And is it okay to breed animals like dogs that have significant health problems even though we love them? Herzog is the author of Some We Love, Some We Hate, Some We Eat: Why It's So Hard to Think Straight About Animals. Download our learning guides: PDF | Google Slide | Transcript

Why Do Dogs Have Tails?

Why do dogs have whiskers? Why are dogs' eyesight black and white? Why do dogs have so many babies? Why do dogs have tails and we don't? Why are dogs thumbs so high on their paw? Why don't dogs sweat? Why do dogs roll in the grass? Why aren't dogs and cats friends? Veterinarian and dog scientist Jessica Hekman has answers. Download our learning guides: PDF | Google Slides | Transcript | Coloring Page | Dog Breed Quiz | Answer Key

Why Do Cats Sharpen Their Claws?

Why do cats purr? How do cats purr? Why can't we purr? Why do cats "talk" to people, but not other cats? Why do cats sharpen their claws? Are orange cats only male? Why do cats like milk and not water? Why are some cats crazy? Can cats see color? All of your cat questions answered with Abigail Tucker, author of The Lion in the Living Room. Download our learning guide: PDF | Google Slide | Transcript | Coloring Page

Vaccines, Masks and Handwashing: A Coronavirus Update

In this installment, we follow up on our March episode about the novel coronavirus now that we know more about COVID-19 and how it spreads. Dr. Krutika Kuppalli, assistant clinical professor of infectious diseases at the Medical University of South Carolina, returns to answer questions about the things we can do to keep ourselves and those around us safe. And we'll learn about what vaccines are, how they're developed and the accelerated process for developing a coronavirus vaccine. TRANSCRIPT

How Do You Make Ice Cream?

How is ice cream made? Why does ice cream melt? Why does some ice cream melt faster than others? We'll answer your questions about this summery concoction with Rabia Kamara, of Ruby Scoops in Richmond, Virginia. It's going to be sweet. Download our learning guides: PDF | Google Slide | Recipe | Transcript

What Happens To The Forest After A Fire?

Why do forest fires happen? What happens to the forest after a fire? Sometimes you send us questions about things you've heard about, and sometimes you send us questions about your experiences. We'll hear from 5-year-old Abby in Australia who wanted to know more about the bush fires near her home earlier this year. Liam and Emma tell us about their wildfire experiences in California, and we get answers to your questions from Ernesto Alvarado, professor at the University of Washington. Download our learning guides: PDF | Google Slide | Transcript

Why Do Ladybugs Have Spots? Do Dragonflies Bite?

This week, we're getting out our bug nets and talking about dragonflies and ladybugs! Why do ladybugs have spots? How many different types of ladybugs are there? How do they crawl on the ceiling without falling down? Where do dragonflies and ladybugs sleep? Why are dragonflies called dragonflies? Do they bite? We're joined by Kent McFarland, a research biologist at the Vermont Center for Ecostudies and the co-host of another great VPR podcast called Outdoor Radio. Download our learning guide: PDF | Google Slide | Transcript

But Why Live: A Musical Celebration

In this special live episode But Why had a musical celebration with Mister Chris, the Junkman and May Erlewine, and we heard your songs. You can listen to But Why Live at vpr.org and call-in every Friday at 1 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time through June 26, 2020. This program is in collaboration with the Vermont Agency of Education to bring interactive educational opportunities to students while schools are closed. TRANSCRIPT | EDUCATION RESOURCES

But Why Live: A Discussion About Race And Racism

In this special live episode But Why held a discussion about race and racism with the authors of ABCs of Diversity, Y. Joy Harris-Smith and Carolyn Helsel. You can listen to But Why Live at vpr.org and call-in every Friday at 1 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time through June 26, 2020. This program is in collaboration with the Vermont Agency of Education to bring interactive educational opportunities to students while schools are closed. TRANSCRIPT | EDUCATION RESOURCES

But Why Live: Trees

In this special live episode learned about trees and tree communication with scientists Alexia Constantinou and Katie McMahen of the Simard Lab at the University of British Columbia. You can listen to But Why Live at vpr.org and call-in every Friday at 1 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time through June 26, 2020. This program is in collaboration with the Vermont Agency of Education to bring interactive educational opportunities to students while schools are closed. TRANSCRIPT | EDUCATION RESOURCES

But Why Live: Kid Press Conference with Governor Phil Scott

In this special live episode we held a kid press conference with Vermont Governor Phil Scott. You can listen to But Why Live at vpr.org and call-in every Friday at 1 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time through June 19, 2020. This program is in collaboration with the Vermont Agency of Education to bring interactive educational opportunities to students while schools are closed. TRANSCRIPT | EDUCATION RESOURCES

Why Do Spiders Have Eight Legs?

Why don't spiders stick to their own webs? How do spiders walk up walls and on ceilings without falling? Why do spiders have eight legs and eight eyes? How do they make webs? And silk? What's a cobweb? How do spiders eat? And why are daddy long legs called daddy long legs when they have to have a female to produce their babies?! We're talking spiders today with arachnologist Catherine Scott. Download our learning guides: Transcript| Coloring Page

But Why Live: Words and Language

In this special live episode we learn about words and language with linguist John McWhorter, host of the podcast Lexicon Valley. You can listen to But Why live at vpr.org and call-in every Friday at 1 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time through June 19, 2020. This program is in collaboration with the Vermont Agency of Education to bring interactive educational opportunities to students while schools are closed. TRANSCRIPT | EDUCATION RESOURCES

But Why Live: Space Exploration

In this special live episode we learn about space and space exploration with Jim Green, NASA's Chief Scientist. You can listen to But Why live at vpr.org and call-in every Friday at 1 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time through June 19, 2020. This program is part of a collaboration with the Vermont Agency of Education to bring interactive educational opportunities to students while schools are closed. TRANSCRIPT | EDUCATION RESOURCES

How Does Slime Work?

What is slime and how do you make it? What makes glue sticky? Why does mixing diet coke and Mentos make an explosion? How does glow in the dark stuff glow without batteries? We're talking about sticky things like slime and glue in this episode. Plus, bonus: explosions! The branch of science we're focusing on is called chemistry. Chemistry is basically the study of stuff and what it's made of, and how different substances interact with one another, sometimes even combining to make new stuff. Our guest is Kate Biberdorf, professor of instruction at the University of Texas, better known as "Kate the Chemist." Her new book is called The Big Book of Experiments. Download our listening guide: PDF | Google Slide | Transcript | Puffy Slime Recipe | Experiments

But Why Live: Poetry

In this special live episode we learn about poetry and writing with Poetry Guy Ted Scheu, Rajnii Eddins, and we hear your poems! Get your pencils ready; we'll be doing some fun writing exercises as well. You can listen to But Why live at vpr.org and call-in every Friday at 1 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time through June 19, 2020. This program is part of a collaboration with the Vermont Agency of Education to bring interactive educational opportunities to students while schools are closed. TRANSCRIPT | EDUCATION RESOURCES

But Why Live: Bats and Beavers

In this special live episode, we learn about bats and beavers! First up, all about bats with Barry Genzlinger of Vermont Bat Center. Then, we learn about the industrious beaver with wildlife biologist Kim Royar of the Vermont Department for Fish & Wildlife. Listen live at vpr.org and call-in every Friday at 1 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time through June 19, 2020. This program is part of a collaboration with the Vermont Agency of Education to bring interactive educational opportunities to students while schools are closed.

Where Does The Sky End?

Where is the border between sky and space? That's what 5-year-old Matthias of Durham, New Hampshire wants to know. Allesandra, 3 of Bella Vista, Arkansas wants to know why we can't hold air. We're going to get scientific, but also philosophical and imaginative with anthropologist Hugh Raffles, astronomer John O'Meara, and, a special treat, cellist Zoë Keating, who scored the episode for us to help us really feel it! Download our learning guides: PDF | Google Slide

Circle Round: The Fallen Sparrow

We're sharing a new episode from one of our favorite podcasts, Circle Round. Jane Lindholm co-stars with Molly Bloom (Brains On!, Smash Boom Best) as twin sisters who reap what they sow in this story with origins in Korea, Tibet, Japan and China.

Why Do Cookies Taste Better With Salt? And Other Cooking Questions

We head to the kitchen to answer cooking and food questions. Why does food taste better with salt? Why do we need salt to make sweet things like cookies? Why do seasonings taste good in food but not so much on their own? Why are marshmallows soft? Why do egg whites go from clear to white when they're cooked? How are expiration dates determined? Answers to your food questions with Molly Birnbaum, host the podcast Mystery Recipe and editor of America's Test Kitchen Kids. Download our learning guide: PDF | Google Slide | Transcript

Why Do Baby Teeth Fall Out?

We're talking about teeth with a friendly dentist! How do teeth become loose? Why do our baby teeth fall out? Why do people only have two sets of teeth? Why don't babies have teeth when they're born? Why are teeth white? Why do we have gums in our mouth? How does toothpaste clean your teeth? How does sugar make cavities? We get answers from Theron Main, a pediatric dentist at Timberlane Dental Group in South Burlington, Vermont. Download our learning guides: PDF | Google Slide | Transcript

'Are Llamas Ticklish?' And Other Silly Questions

We're answering 9 questions that put a smile on our faces, and we hope they make you chuckle, too. Plus, you might actually learn something from some of the answers! Are llamas ticklish? Why do pickles and cacti look alike? What are boogers made out of? How do fish see underwater without goggles? Do skunks like their smell? Do pigs poop? Are elephants afraid of mice? Are jellyfish made of jelly? Why are yawns contagious? Guests include Jo Blasi from the New England Aqarium, naturalist Marry Holland, therapy llama-handler Shannon Joy, and Elephant Listening Project researcher Peter Wrege. Download our learning guides: PDF | Google Slides | Transcript | Coloring Page