DiscoverBut Why: A Podcast for Curious Kids
But Why: A Podcast for Curious Kids
Claim Ownership

But Why: A Podcast for Curious Kids

Author: Vermont Public

Subscribed: 28,665Played: 683,658
Share

Description

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!
208 Episodes
Reverse
Why do wolves howl?

Why do wolves howl?

2023-05-1927:261

Why do wolves howl at the moon? Do wolves have different howls? How were wolves domesticated into dogs? How do wolves run fast for so long? What kind of habitats do wolves prefer? Why are people scared of wolves? Do they eat people? How do we protect them? But Why visits the Wolf Conservation Center in South Salem, New York, where education director Regan Downey answers kid questions about these apex predators. Download our learning guides: PDF | Google Slide | Transcript 
Do bears ever live in cities? Why do so many crows gather together on winter nights? How many raccoons are there in cities? What’s the deal with so many maple trees in Vermont? Why are flowers different colors? How are snakes born with venom? Why do some foxes turn white in the winter and others don’t? Where is a good place to observe wildlife? How do urban wild places support wildlife in cities? Naturalist Teage O’Connor answers questions from Burlington classrooms in this special live episode of But Why.  Download our learning guide: PDF | Google Slide | Transcript | Scavenger Hunt
Why are babies small and grownups big? Why are babies so helpless, instead of little versions of adults? Do babies know they're babies? How do babies grow? How do babies learn to talk? Kids have been sending us lots of questions about babies! This week we're learning more about the development of the human brain with Celeste Kidd, professor of psychology and primary investigator at the Kidd Lab at the University of California Berkeley. Download our learning guides: PDF | Google Slides | Transcript
Why do we donate blood?

Why do we donate blood?

2023-04-0714:055

One of the things that makes blood so special is we can share it with other people! Scientists and doctors have figured out safe ways to take the blood from one person and put it into the body of a different person who needs it. That’s called a transfusion. Why would someone need more blood? Doctors use blood transfusions to help people who have been in accidents and to treat people with certain kinds of cancer, sickle cell disease and other conditions. But if you’ve never heard about this before, it can sound kind of strange and alarming to think about giving away something that is so necessary to your life! In our second blood-related episode we’ll tag along with Jane as she donates some of her own blood. Download our learning guides: PDF | Google Slide | Transcript
Why do people have blood, what is it, and what does it do? How do our bodies make new blood? Is it red or blue? Why does blood taste like metal? And why do we have different blood types? Our listeners have a lot of questions about blood. We learn about blood with UVM Medical Center and Larner College of Medicine pathologist Dr. Sarah Harm.  Download our learning guides: PDF | Google Slide | Transcript
How do water slides work and how are they built? Why do you have to be a certain age or height to go down a water slide? Where does the water in water parks come from? And which is easier to design and build: a water slide or a roller coaster? First we did a little research of our own at Jay Peak Pump House Water Park. (And by “research” we mean “going down the water slides.”) And to teach us more about what’s actually happening when you take your thrill ride, we talked with water slide engineers Songyi Moon and Kelly Sall at WhiteWater West. Download our learning guides: PDF | Google Slide | Transcript
In this episode: part two of parentisms- you know, the things adults like to say that may or may not be true. So many of these sayings have to do with food: Eating carrots will improve your vision.  Drinking coffee will make you shorter. Don’t swallow watermelon seeds or they’ll grow in your stomach. We do a little fact checking on this generational eating advice with Dr. Nusheen Ameenuddin of the Mayo Clinic. And we explore a few other sayings you sent us, like why do parents always say, “Next time” when they really mean “No”? And what the heck does it mean to keep your eyes peeled? Download our learning guides: PDF | Google Slide | Transcript
We wanted to hear about the conventional wisdom, parenting myths, and downright folksy falsehoods adults pass down to kids, and boy did we get a big response! We heard from over 100 of you about everything from “Don’t swallow gum because it will stay in your stomach forever” to “Slouching will crush your organs” to “If you don’t take a shower after swimming in the pool, your hair will turn green.” In this episode (the first of two), with the help of pediatrician Nusheen Ameenuddin of the Mayo Clinic, we put these “parentisms” to the test! Find out if there’s any truth to the idea that TV will turn your brain to mush, you’ll catch a cold if you go out with wet hair, and it’s dangerous to take a shower during a thunderstorm. Oh, and by the way, this is our 200th episode!!! Download our learning guides: PDF | Google Slide | Transcript
In addition to having faces that look like a smiley emoticon, axolotls are as fascinating to scientific researchers as they are to kids because of their amazing ability to regenerate parts of their bodies, including their brains! In this episode we answer kids' questions about these curious salamanders with Dr. Randal Voss, a professor at the University of Kentucky. That lab alone has thousands of axolotls, but these creatures are critically endangered in the wild, where they live exclusively in the depleted and polluted waterways of Mexico City’s Lake Xochimilco. Questions we tackle in this episode: How do axolotls regrow parts of their brains? What did axolotls evolve from? Can axolotls survive out of water? Download our learning guides: PDF | Google Slide | Transcript
What do bison, moose, Gila monsters, parrots and snails have in common? Well….nothing, except they all appear in this episode! We’re rounding up some of the animal questions you’ve sent us lately. Why do bison walk slow but run fast? What’s the thing hanging down from the neck of a moose? Why do Gila monsters bite? How do parrots talk? Why do snails have slime? Answers from the Fort Worth Nature Center & Refuge, San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance and One Earth Conservation. Download our learning guides: PDF | Google Slide | Transcript
As we close out 2022, Jane and Melody look back at some of their favorite episodes of 2002. Why do we have friends? Why are some people left-handed? Why do pigs oink? And why is Russia invading Ukraine? Did you have a favorite episode? Let us know! Kids can record a video talking about a favorite episode and then tag us on social media or send an email to questions@butwhykids.org. Episode Transcript Full episodes Why do we have friends? Why are some people left-handed? Why do pigs oink? Why is Russia invading Ukraine? 
How do boats float?

How do boats float?

2022-12-1623:186

How do big cargo ships and ferries float, even though they are so heavy? Why do boats float but stones sink? How do paddles make boats move? What’s inside those enormous container ships? We learn about the physics of floating with Fahad Mahmood, professor of physics at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. If you do any of the activities we mention in the episode, send us your videos! Download our learning guides: PDF | Google Slide | Transcript
Why do armadillos have shells? How do they roll into balls? Why are sloths so slow? Can sloths actually move fast? How do they defend against predators? Why do they have such long nails? We learn about two unique looking animals in this episode: sloths and armadillos. These mammals are part of an ancient superorder called Xenarthra and share a common ancestor. To get answers to kid questions about armadillos we took a field trip to Texas to talk with Michael Perez at the Forth Worth Nature Center and Refuge. And to learn about sloths, we interviewed Sam Trull of the Sloth Institute in Costa Rica. Download our learning guides: PDF | Google Slide | Transcript
Who invented emoji?

Who invented emoji?

2022-11-1822:2010

Emoji are those little images you can send in text messages to friends and family. Nine-year-old Leila in New Jersey wants to know how they were invented. So in this episode we find out with Jane Solomon, editor at Emojipedia and Paul Galloway of the Museum of Modern Art in New York. We learn what the first emoji looked like, way back in the dark ages of the 1990s and we explore how emoji may be a new trend, but communicating through pictures is a very old tradition. Plus, are emoji…art? Give this episode a 👂to find out! Download our learning guides: PDF | Google Slide | Transcript
But Why has answers to your dinosaur questions! When did the dinosaurs live? How many species of dinosaurs were alive in the Cretaceous period? How do dinosaurs get their names (and why are they hard to say)? Why are dinosaurs extinct? We visit Dinosaur Valley State Park in Texas to see some actual dinosaur evidence: tracks left by two types of dinosaur 113 million years ago. Download our learning guides: PDF | Google Slide | Transcript Dinosaur Valley State Park in Glen Rose, Texas has several sites where dinosaur footprints have been well-preserved. Though some of the tracks were actually chiseled out and sold before the park got state recognition and protection. In the summer of 2022, drought in this part of Texas caused riverbeds to dry out, revealing new tracks that hadn’t been seen before. These discoveries made news around the world! The rock in the area is limestone. And the tracks are largely in what are now riverbeds. But In the time of the dinosaurs, 113 million years ago, the landscape looked very different. The sea covered much of the land, and the spots where the tracks are were the seashore, full of sticky wet mud. The dinosaurs walked through the mud and left footprints, which were then covered over by silt and other sediment. As the mud got compressed and eventually turned into limestone, the tracks were preserved. The landscape changed over the millennia. As the sea receded and rivers curved through the landscape, the flowing water eroded the limestone, eventually revealing these tracks that had been covered for millions of years. Some of the tracks at Dinosaur Valley State Park are about the size of a large dinner plate look like classic dinosaur prints, with three long toes and claw marks. Those are from a dinosaur called Acrocanthosaurus. Acrocanthosaurus was shaped like a Tyrannosaurus Rex. It walked on two legs and had a large ridge down its back. It was a carnivore and likely the apex predator in its North American environment. The other dinosaur whose tracks have been found at this state park is Sauroposeidon. These tracks are much bigger and rounder, more like an elephant track. They’re so big a kid could sit inside one as if it was a bathtub! Sauroposeidon was a huge dinosaur. It walked on all fours and had a long tail and a very long neck. It weighed as much as 44 tons and was as tall as a 6-story building. In fact, it may have been the tallest animal that has ever lived! Sauroposeidon was an herbivore, and may even have been hunted by Acrocanthosaurus. The two dinosaurs lived at the same time and made the visible tracks at the park within hours or days of each other. The biggest dinosaurs lived in the Cretaceous period,145 million to 65 million years ago. It’s estimated there were as many as a thousand different dinosaur species in that time period, but only a few hundred have so far been named. Most paleontologists believe most dinosaurs died out more than 65 million years ago when an asteroid hit planet Earth.The asteroid itself didn’t kill all the dinosaurs all at once, though it was big enough to cause a lot of devastation. It also kicked up a huge cloud of dust and debris that essentially blocked sunlight from reaching the earth. This caused plants to die. Without plants, large herbivores didn’t have enough to eat. When the herbivores died, the carnivores had nothing to eat and they died, too. If you want to see the dinosaur tracks, check out our videos on YouTube.
How is cheese made?

How is cheese made?

2022-10-2124:275

Kids love cheese! (So do adults: Americans consume an average of 40 pounds of cheese per person per year.) In this episode we learn how cheese is made and answer all of your cheesy questions: Why are there different types of cheese? Why do cheeses have different flavors? How do you make Colby Jack cheese? How does cheese get its color? And why do we say cheese when we take a picture? We visit the Cabot Cheese factory and talk with Maegen Olsen and Panos Lekkas. Download our learning guides: PDF | Google Slide | Transcript Cheese starts with milk. Cheese is often made with milk from cows or goats, but it can also be made with milk from sheep, buffalo, camels or other mammals. (There’s even a moose-cheese company in Russia!) If the cheese is made in bulk to sell to lots of people, companies will usually run tests on the milk before they turn it into cheese. They want to make sure it doesn’t have bad bacteria or antibiotics in it. The milk is then pasteurized, which means it’s heated quickly and cooled quickly to kill any lurking bad bacteria. Next cheesemakers will add a starter culture. Starter culture is GOOD bacteria, which will eat the milk sugar (lactose), create lactic acid and drive down the pH of the milk. That helps create curds. The next step is coagulation! (Coagulation is the process of turning a liquid into a semi-solid or solid.) To coagulate the milk, an enzyme called rennet is added. Now it’s time to separate the curds from the whey. Cheesemakers will use knives to cut the coagulated milk into chunks known as curds, leaving some liquid behind. That liquid is known as whey. When milk is made into cheddar it gives a 10% yield, meaning 10% of the milk will become cheese and 90% will be left over as whey. Some cheesemakers, like Cabot, use the whey to make protein powders. In other factories it might go to waste. Next, it’s time to add salt. Salt serves as a preservative and gives the cheese flavor. If it’s a flavored cheese, things like garlic or peppers will be added at this point. The cheese is then pressed into blocks. At factories like Cabot, they pull the curds into tall towers and then add more and more, creating pressure that forms those curds into solid blocks. Smaller cheesemakers use a cheese press. In the final step, the cheese is aged. It will sit in a cold storage or cheese cave and just…get older. Cheddar can be aged for years, giving it a stronger flavor. Aging also changes the texture of a cheese like cheddar. It can get more crumbly the older it gets. Once it’s ready, it will be cut, packaged and shipped to stores.
Why do bees pollinate? How do they make honey? Why do bees have stingers? Why do (some) bees die when they sting you? What's the difference between a bee and a wasp? Does honey have healing properties? Farmer and beekeeper John Hayden answers all of your bee questions! Download our learning guides: PDF | Google Slides | Transcript | Coloring Page Bees collect nectar from flowers. Nectar is the sweet liquid that entices the bees to the flower. The bees climb onto or into the flower and suck up the nectar with their straw-like mouth and collect it in a little sac called a crop. They also collect pollen on their legs. As they move from flower to flower, they leave a little bit of that pollen on each new flower they visit. That's called pollination and it’s how flowers reproduce. Bees take the pollen and nectar back to their hives and put it into the honeycomb (six-sided cells they have built out with wax). Pollen is like protein, one of the building blocks of animal bodies, and bees use that to feed their young mostly. To turn nectar into honey, bees spit it up into other bees’ mouths and eventually they spit the liquid into the honeycomb cells. Then they fan it with their wings to evaporate some of the moisture. Once it has reached the right consistency, they seal it off with wax to store it for later. So honey is just concentrated nectar. Bees keep the honey in storage for the winter months when there are no flowers. But they make more than they need, so beekeepers take the extra honey out of the hive and leave the bees enough to survive through the winter. Bees sting to protect their hive and defend their honey from potential predators. But honeybees don’t sting unless they have to, because after they sting, their stinger gets pulled out of their body and they die! Honeybees die when they sting because their stinger has a barb on it, like a fish hook. The stinger gets hooked into your skin and then when the bee tries to fly away the hook stays in and pulls out the bee's abdomen as it flies away. Honeybees are social insects who depend on their colony to survive. So they are willing to sacrifice themselves to make sure the whole colony can survive. Honeybees are far from the only pollinator. Bees are very important to our ecosystem and there are more than 4000 species in the US alone. Butterflies, hummingbirds, and bats also play important pollinator roles. Resources How do big plants grow from small seeds? How are babies made?  Honeybee music video
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! 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 | Google Slide | Transcript Sharks are a type of fish. They’ve been around for millions of years and their body plan hasn’t changed much in that time! Sharks’ skeletons are made of cartilage. They don’t have any calcified bones - so the only part of a shark that gets left behind in fossil records is their teeth!  Megalodons were the biggest shark, but they are extinct (despite sensational TV shows that claim otherwise). The latest research suggests megalodons were bigger than modern day humpback whales! Sharks and other fish breathe by extracting oxygen from water by the use of their gills. Gills are made of very thin tissue. The blood inside the tissue picks up oxygen from the water and brings it into the organs in the fish’s body.  Sharks evolved to have sharp teeth to grab slippery fish and other prey. If they break a tooth, they can regrow a new one, and they just drop the old one. Easily replacing a tooth that breaks off is a strategy that allows them to keep hunting. Their teeth grow continually through a shark’s life, moving forward in their mouth kind of like on a conveyor belt, maturing as they go. So when a tooth falls out a new one moves forward. Some sharks lose whole rows of teeth, like dentures, all at the same time. All sharks are carnivores, eating fish, seals, and sometimes other sharks. Some species, like whale sharks, filter feed, mostly on zooplankton but sometimes phytoplankton (sea plants) as well. Sharks have been known to attack humans, but humans actually aren’t great prey for them because we lack a thick layer of blubber or other energy the sharks are on the hunt for. Usually sharks attack when they mistake a human for something else, like a seal.  Sharks go through periods of sleep or rest, reducing brain activity.  Sharks have a fantastic sense of smell. It helps them find their prey. 
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 | Google Slide | Transcript Inside the husk is a tiny little droplet of water surrounded by something called the endosperm. The endosperm is what you're actually eating when you eat popcorn. When you heat up popcorn, the tiny droplet of water gets hot and turns into steam. That steam pushes through the endosperm and turns it kind of soft and that endosperm builds up pressure and explodes through the husk. When it explodes, that soft gelatinous endosperm hits cooler air and it hardens up in whatever shape it has exploded into. So that's why popcorn has all those funny shapes and feels kind of like foam. Salmon are born in freshwater, but then spend their lives in saltwater. They return to the freshwater to spawn (lay and fertilize eggs) and die. Some salmon return to any body of freshwater to spawn, but some salmon have special ways of finding their way back to the place they were born. They use a kind of internal compass to head back to the spot. Other fish rely on their sense of smell to find their way back to fresh water.  Animals that turn white in winter use the length of day as their cue to stop producing pigment in their fur. Their bodies can sense the hours of daylight, and when the daylight starts getting shorter, their hormones will tell the cells to stop producing melatonin.  Hormones tell the cells what to do to shut off the production of pigment in the fall and to turn it on again in the spring. It's not because the days and the nights get colder or warmer.  The fastest runner in the world is Usain Bolt. He's the fastest man who's ever been timed. He's a Jamaican sprinter, and he holds the world record for both the 100 and the 200 meter sprints. He has nine gold medals at the Olympics and 11 world championships. His record for the 100 meter sprint is 9.58 seconds. That is super fast. That's more than 23 miles an hour. Want to pop your own popcorn from kernels? Find a big pan with a tight-lid. Pour two tablespoons of cooking oil in the pan. Then add a half a cup of popping corn. Cover the pan and turn the heat to high. In a few minutes the popcorn will start to pop. Turn off the heat. Open the lid when the popcorn stops popping. Enjoy! How a zipper works Sounds Wild
How do snakes slither?

How do snakes slither?

2022-08-2635:113

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 | Google Slide | Transcript Snakes are ectothermic - meaning they are cold-blooded and rely on their environment to regulate their body temperature. Snakes like to bask on warm rocks to stay warm. A rattlesnake’s first rattle segment is called a button. They shed their skin once or twice per year and each time they do, they get a new rattle segment. Rattle segments sit on top of each other, and when rattlesnakes shake their tail, the segments rattle. This noise is a warning to predators to stay away. Some snakes lay eggs. Others develop eggs that grow and hatch inside their body, meaning the snakes give birth to live young. Rattlesnakes give birth to live young but only stay with their babies for about a week. Those babies follow their mother’s scent trail back to the den for winter. Some snakes are venomous, but not poisonous. What’s the difference?! Venom is delivered through a bite or a stinger, while poison is usually inhaled, swallowed, or absorbed through the skin. Snake venom is a lot like saliva, except it’s toxic. Snakes create it using a special gland. They then use their venom to immobilize or kill their prey before they eat it. They sometimes use their venomous bite as a defense as well. Snakes do have nostrils and can smell through their nose a little bit. But they mostly use their tongues to smell and sense their environment. They stick out their tongues to pick up scents. And then they rub their tongues on a special organ at the top of their mouths, which sends a message about the scent to their brains. Timber rattlesnakes live in the Eastern US and are different from some of the other well-known rattlesnakes in the Western US. In much of the northeastern states they’re considered threatened or endangered. People shouldn’t try to look for these snakes because of the possibility of disturbing the snakes or their habitats.
loading
Comments (124)

Kira Luison

Hello. As a lover of wearing beautiful and high-quality clothes, I can advise you one online store with affordable prices. I advise you to look here https://www.meadowweb.com/collections/shirts/beams . Nice sellers with whom you can solve any issue. I liked the attitude and prices. If you are interested, you can browse the store and find something for yourself.

Apr 27th
Reply

Sashi Stefano

I'm looking for stylish clothes. It should be inexpensive and of high quality. I love nice clothes, but they are expensive now. So I want something both inexpensive and of high quality.

Apr 27th
Reply

Fa Al

thanks

Nov 22nd
Reply

Dottie Tansley

hi

Sep 9th
Reply

Mahdi315

Where can we finde the transcriptions?

Jul 24th
Reply (2)

Jack Mandel

this podcast needs to upload more. :(

Jul 15th
Reply

lindi

crazy people doesn't like icecream 😒😔

Jul 4th
Reply (2)

Miguel Ángel García-Ariza

terrible explanation, just trying to put the same hysteria and exceptionalism of gringo grown ups into younger gringos. propaganda right from the onset of their lives. Terrible episode, just shows how decaying the US society is.

Jun 16th
Reply (2)

Farzaneh

very good 👍

May 24th
Reply

Dylan Dunn

You helped me understand it so well!

Apr 15th
Reply

K

This is the first episode we've ever listened to of this podcast and we're never listening again. The guy going on and on about how it's a parents "job", "duty", and a basic parenting requirement to check under their bed for monsters and whatnot was so condescending, smarmy, and he honestly sounds like he doesn't have children or he's not a good parent. What you're doing when you check each and every sound out for them is teaching them to solely rely on YOU to make them not scared anymore. That teaches them to be scared of every noise, that they need to get an adult to check out every noise, and to rely on other people not to be scared. Absolutely terrible parenting and I'm so glad we didn't let our son listen to this by himself.

Dec 27th
Reply

cartoon cat

hola

Dec 8th
Reply

Jessica Rebella

being racist is the worst thing you can do trust me just except everyone ok and be nice ok🙂🖤🤍👍👍🌗⬛⬜

Nov 30th
Reply (2)

Cupcake_EmilyCutie

why is the sky blue?

Aug 1st
Reply

Cupcake_EmilyCutie

why are there bears in the world?

Aug 1st
Reply

이지은

I have listened to almost all of your podcasts!♡♡

Jul 23rd
Reply

samaneh

thanks jane

Jul 15th
Reply

Abriana Alanzo

I have to tell you all how to get the right cure for your disease, I'm from Mexico, i was having Herpes Simplex Virus for over 2 years, then i came across a review of people saying that they got treated from Herpes Simplex Virus by Dr. Muhammad, So i give a try by contacting him through his email and explain my problem to him. He told me all the things I need to do and also give me instructions to on how to take the remedy, which I followed properly. Before I knew what is happening after two weeks the HERPES SIMPLEX VIRUS that was in my body got vanished . . I'm recommending you and anyone out there who is looking for any type of cure, Heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes, asthma, arthritis, Alzheimer's disease, chronic disease, HPV. Email: drmuhammadcenter@outlook.com or whatsapp +3228081804

Jun 25th
Reply

fyiimcrazy

Wow, thanks for helping me learn about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. I know this is in 2021, 2 years later, but I still listened to it. This is very inspiring. I hope Mary's thoughts get to enter the real world!( I'm not a fake, I actually acted in doctor who, look me up)

May 13th
Reply

fyiimcrazy

Amazing. Thanks for helping me learn about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. I know this is in 2021, but I listened to the podcast even 2 years later.

May 13th
Reply
Download from Google Play
Download from App Store