But Why: A Podcast for Curious Kids podcast

But Why: A Podcast for Curious Kids

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!

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!

 

#238

Why do we wear clothes?

Have you ever been threading one leg through a pair of pants in the morning and wondered…why do we wear clothes anyway? Or wondered why pockets in clothing designed for girls are sometimes smaller than the pockets in clothing designed for boys? In this episode we tackle questions about clothes with fashion historian and writer [ Amber Butchart] (https://www.amberbutchart.com/) . Download our learning guides: [ PDF] (https://npr.brightspotcdn.com/82/a7/699538a441c38bb2bba0216e45a5/why-do-we-wear-clothes.pdf) | [ Google Slides] (https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/11Mb9vWWLdis-ROKfJNUzgJkSag6XOQByODL7Szu6_tc/copy) | [ Transcript] (https://npr.brightspotcdn.com/8d/91/d88e690942979346f7cff1735530/but-why-kids-159-fashion-transcript.pdf) ... Read more

12 Jul 2024

24 MINS

24:26

12 Jul 2024


#237

Who invented pizza?

How is pizza dough made? How does gluten-free dough rise? Who invented pizza? Is there pizza in every country? Is yeast alive?! Kids love pizza and they have questions! We get answers from Frank Pinello of [Best Pizza] (https://www.bestpizzawilliamsburg.com/) in Williamsburg and Scott Wiener of [Scott’s Pizza Tours] (https://www.scottspizzatours.com/) .  Download our learning guides: [PDF] (https://npr.brightspotcdn.com/f4/87/e56f68714211836f74ccb6294d03/who-invented-pizza.pdf) | [Google Slide] (https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1c8cM_FZrTPujhWIEVDeZnYIo3pITV00RySAvkZVO6q8/copy) | [Transcript] (https://npr.brightspotcdn.com/55/04/34042d6f4e7ab34abcd11f3b6547/butwhy-pizza-ep237-transcript.pdf) ... Read more

28 Jun 2024

26 MINS

26:13

28 Jun 2024


#236

Why do oranges have peels?

Why do oranges have peels? Why is the inside of an orange segmented? Why are lemons and limes so sour? Why do lemons have seeds but limes don’t? Why does fruit have juice? How many oranges are in a gallon of juice? How do seedless oranges reproduce? How are oranges available year-round? Why are the fruit and the color both called orange? We’re answering questions about citrus with Fernando Alferez from the University of Florida’s Southwest Florida Research and Education Center.  Download our learning guides: [PDF] (https://npr.brightspotcdn.com/96/d2/eacb09f04130b6a9e27ae78a4b90/why-do-oranges-have-peels.pdf) | [Google Drive] (https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1Zz9vDUDJ7ISI1VocF9qbAlsM0xCT2ReBvVCVR4qD_ic/copy) | [Transcript] (https://npr.brightspotcdn.com/91/26/0e1b34734b2c80598d41b652da58/butwhy-citrus-ep236-transcript.pdf) ... Read more

14 Jun 2024

24 MINS

24:19

14 Jun 2024


#235

Do people eat bugs?

Yes! In many parts of the world, insects are a regular part of people’s diets. Bugs are an efficient source of protein, and many cultures find them delicious. Some countries, like the US, don’t have a strong culture of insect cuisine, but that’s starting to change as people look for ways to feed a growing global population without using as many resources as we currently do. So insects might be an important part of our future diets as well. With all the talk about cicadas this summer, eating bugs has been making news for adults. So, in this bonus episode, But Why learns about cooking up insects with Joseph Yoon, edible insect ambassador at [Brooklyn Bugs] (https://www.brooklynbugs.com/) .  Download [transcript] (https://npr.brightspotcdn.com/2e/62/02ce933244c589e991e5cdbf5153/butwhy-edibleinsects-ep235-transcript.pdf) ... Read more

07 Jun 2024

14 MINS

14:18

07 Jun 2024


#234

Why do cicadas come out every 17 years?

This spring, trillions of periodical cicadas are emerging from the ground, where they’ve spent 13 or 17 years feeding on xylem (basically, tree juice).  The two specific broods emerging this year have not come out at the same time since 1803, and kids may be hearing a lot of news about these loud insects. So today we’re tackling the cicada questions you’ve sent us: Why do cicadas come out every 17 years? What do cicadas eat? Why are there more cicadas at night than in the morning? Why do cicadas molt? How do cicadas get babies? We speak with Dan Gruner, professor of entomology at the University of Maryland, to get answers. Download our learning guides: [PDF] (https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1wx12-bjthI1lD-9KnS3Z6IKzvUTxgf3u3bpztXKwdI8/copy) | [Google Slide] (https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1wx12-bjthI1lD-9KnS3Z6IKzvUTxgf3u3bpztXKwdI8/copy) | [Transcript] (https://npr.brightspotcdn.com/95/1e/c2dc9a0b43a88391b5dec4c0cd68/butwhy-cicadas-ep234-transcript.pdf) ... Read more

31 May 2024

19 MINS

19:43

31 May 2024


#233

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. Alesandra, 3 of Bella Vista, Arkansas wants to know why we can't hold air. In this episode from 2020, we’re joined by anthropologist Hugh Raffles, a professor at The New School, and by astronomer John O'Meara, chief scientist at the [ Keck Observatory] (http://www.keckobservatory.org/) . And we have special scoring by cellist [ Zoë Keating] (http://zoekeating.com/) . Download our learning guides: [ PDF] (https://www.vpr.org/sites/vpr/files/202009/where_does_the_sky_end_.pdf) | [ Google Slide] (https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/18WcbtMGjb76wTbMQdx2teFnLt7jn0dukgeU8jEJVXU4/copy) | [ Transcript] (https://www.vpr.org/sites/vpr/files/202010/But-Why-119-Sky-End-TRANSCRIPT.pdf) ... Read more

17 May 2024

23 MINS

23:11

17 May 2024


#232

What's cool about cockroaches?

That’s a question a lot of people have, honestly. But a kid named Rosie was bold enough to ask us to investigate why. So, in the latest episode, we dig in on why cockroaches get such a bad rap and why you might want to reconsider if you’re not a fan. Only two percent of the world’s cockroaches are considered pests. Those are the ones that can live in houses and potentially make us sick. But the vast majority of cockroaches don’t bother humans at all! Some, like the social cockroach species known as termites, work to decompose organic material and are hugely important to our environment. So where do people learn negative attitudes toward insects? We dig deep into insects with Jessica Ware, an entomologist and curator at the [American Museum of Natural History] (https://www.amnh.org/exhibitions/permanent/gilder-center/insectarium) . She’s also the host of the [PBS digital series] (https://www.pbs.org/show/insectarium/) [Insectarium] (https://www.pbs.org/show/insectarium/) . Answers to your questions about cockroaches, termites, dragonflies, praying mantises and more! Download our learning guides: [PDF] (https://npr.brightspotcdn.com/be/c6/c86269894539bebe8ec95ed4a51a/why-are-cockroaches-so-yucky.pdf) | [Google Slide] (https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/17Kiia_f7g2bkbq3Q08HNPxT9Czr-H2fd97ka9vw1oLs/copy) | [Transcript] (https://npr.brightspotcdn.com/63/ba/594837254826af620e2960fa9b2e/butwhy-cockroaches-ep232-transcript.pdf) ... Read more

03 May 2024

29 MINS

29:36

03 May 2024


#231

How do crocodiles chomp?

Why do lizards have scales? Why are reptiles cold-blooded? Why do lizards have long tongues? How do lizards grow their tails back? Are crocodiles dinosaurs? What’s the difference between an alligator and a crocodile? Why do crocodile eyes look like they have mirrors in the back? How do crocodiles chomp? Why do crocodile teeth stay sharp? Why are crocodiles green? Why do crocodiles swim? Answers to all of your crocodile and alligator questions with Venetia Briggs-Gonzalez, one of the researchers known as the Croc Docs at the University of Florida. Download our learning guides: [PDF] (https://npr.brightspotcdn.com/0f/b3/86c824af4bca8be75dd2cc092c42/how-do-crocodiles-chomp.pdf) | [Google Slide] (https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1cmGungS5SXWErb2nAek5ZKjn3zmshb5nIDHs7jUf6T4/copy) | [Transcript] (https://npr.brightspotcdn.com/59/c6/ea8c167041ffa746616c31cabd48/butwhy-crocodilians-231-transcript.pdf) ... Read more

19 Apr 2024

32 MINS

32:04

19 Apr 2024


#230

Why do ballerinas wear ballet shoes?

Why do people dance? Where did ballet come from? How do you make pointe shoes for ballet? How does practice make you better at things? But Why visited [Dance Theatre of Harlem] (https://www.dancetheatreofharlem.org/) to get answers to these questions with company artists Derek Brockington and Lindsey Donnell. Download our learning guides: [PDF] (https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1PXNjf2YbgYPG_vsvotlojJI1R4kJzAdCaaKQjbuv8bI/copy)   | [Google Slide] (https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1PXNjf2YbgYPG_vsvotlojJI1R4kJzAdCaaKQjbuv8bI/copy) | [Transcript] (https://npr.brightspotcdn.com/ef/2a/ac573ace476c8fbf93448c7c54a9/butwhy-ballet-ep230-transcript.pdf) ... Read more

05 Apr 2024

18 MINS

18:03

05 Apr 2024


#229

What is a solar eclipse?

A solar eclipse is coming to North America on April 8, 2024. The moon will line up perfectly between the Earth and the sun, blocking out the sun’s light and casting a shadow that will pass over parts of Mexico, the United States and Canada. People in the path of totality will experience a few minutes of darkness during the day as the moon perfectly covers the sun. Those not in the path of totality in those countries will still experience a partial solar eclipse. In this episode, we’re answering questions about the eclipse and talking about how to keep your eyes safe if you’re watching it! We speak with Bridgewater State University solar physicist Martina Arndt, Fairbanks Museum planetarium director Mark Breen and Thomas A. Hockey, author of America’s First Eclipse Chasers. Download our learning guides: [PDF] (https://npr.brightspotcdn.com/05/a0/378b548440f993be0b06fb6f1d38/what-is-a-solar-eclipse.pdf) | [Google Slide] (https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1uDDSoRQgH8FKMl-IzGYNYS4-NPV_26GE8fixym2AoHk/copy) | [Transcript] (https://npr.brightspotcdn.com/05/11/d972fd6c4b88b689621aba05180e/butwhy-229-eclipse-transcript.pdf) ... Read more

22 Mar 2024

29 MINS

29:11

22 Mar 2024


#228

How do invasive species take over?

Why are there Burmese pythons and chameleons in the Florida Everglades? We might not know how those animals arrived but they are causing damage to the natural ecosystem. An invasive species out competes native plants and animals in an ecosystem. So how does this happen? But Why travels to the Everglades to learn more about how and why species end up in places they shouldn’t. Plus, why are we sometimes told to kill invasive insects like the spotted lanternfly? Download our learning guides: [PDF] (https://npr.brightspotcdn.com/96/9e/e38fb4a54582a8fdb771d1f89fae/how-do-invasive-species-take-over.pdf) | [Google Slide] (https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1rOeVEXJxeIdAZuYd7WQQkWRSONSPaBcVGFsFcXrRpIM/copy) [Transcript] (https://npr.brightspotcdn.com/ff/c9/f349b1e042509886c35877b97fd5/butwhy-invasives-ep228-transcript.pdf) ... Read more

08 Mar 2024

28 MINS

28:06

08 Mar 2024


#227

Can snowstorms have thunder?

How is snow made and what’s it made out of?  Why is it white and sparkly?  Why do snowflakes look different? Can snowstorms have thunder? Why do some places, like mountains, get more snow than others? Answers to all of your questions about snow, with Seth Linden, who works for the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado. Plus we hear what it’s like to live at the top of Mount Washington, famous for its extreme weather, from Alexandra Branton, a meteorologist who works at the observatory at the top of the mountain, even during the frigid winter. Download our learning guides: [PDF] (https://npr.brightspotcdn.com/40/59/7cc7e1af4372b08d260bfcd7e3af/can-snowstorms-make-thunder.pdf) | [Google Slides] (https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/18yLKFIyaFI-gKG2IOFBs7daoENPs_qvx0hRf3g164AY/copy) | [Transcript] (https://npr.brightspotcdn.com/0a/50/d054465e4a81b07b8ad0a660435f/butwhy-snow-ep227-transcript.pdf) ... Read more

23 Feb 2024

32 MINS

32:49

23 Feb 2024


#226

Why do we need glasses?

How do glasses work? Why do some people need glasses and other people don’t? Why do we have different eye colors? We answer your questions about glasses and eyes in the second of two episodes with Dr. Sujata Singh, a pediatric ophthalmologist at the University of Vermont Medical Center. And we hear from Maggie, a kid with low vision, about what it’s like to need glasses.  Download our learning guides: [PDF] (https://npr.brightspotcdn.com/fc/77/5036f97a4d79b209c3329fa33490/why-do-we-have-two-eyes-if-we-only-see-one-image.pdf) | [Google Slide] (https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1D_GjKj2okVJTubEPkTh7DTw8kxQaKkIx4ZLypTxf0fo/copy) | [Transcript] (https://npr.brightspotcdn.com/cf/d2/728d32c74b178258af6d43ee7a05/butwhy-glasses-ep226-transcript.pdf) ... Read more

09 Feb 2024

26 MINS

26:22

09 Feb 2024


#225

Why do we have two eyes if we only see one image?

What shape are our eyes? What are they made of? How do they work? What’s the point of having two eyes if we only see one image? Why do we blink? What’s the point of tears and why are they salty? We answer your questions about eyes in the first of two episodes with Dr. Sujata Singh, a pediatric ophthalmologist at the University of Vermont Medical Center. Download our learning guides: [PDF] (https://npr.brightspotcdn.com/fc/77/5036f97a4d79b209c3329fa33490/why-do-we-have-two-eyes-if-we-only-see-one-image.pdf) | [Google Slide] (https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1D_GjKj2okVJTubEPkTh7DTw8kxQaKkIx4ZLypTxf0fo/copy) | [Transcript] (https://npr.brightspotcdn.com/06/3d/fa2613204e1fbb6bef0b119cbd36/butwhy-eyes-ep225-transcript.pdf) ... Read more

26 Jan 2024

29 MINS

29:51

26 Jan 2024


#224

What if the world started spinning backward?

We’ve collaborated with our podcast friends at What If World to bring you the first (and only) episode of…But Why If World! In this episode we jointly answer some “what if” questions. What if cereal could talk to us? What if dinosaurs didn’t lay eggs? What if the world started spinning backwards? Take a listen to this curious collaboration. Download [transcript] (https://www.podtrac.com/pts/redirect.mp3/dovetail.prxu.org/_/326/deb0a803-6eaa-4942-ac05-c19fc5fd2024/ButWhy_WhatIf_Ep224.mp3) ... Read more

12 Jan 2024

24 MINS

24:24

12 Jan 2024


#223

What makes you happy?

For our last episode of each year, we often like to ask our listeners around the world to send us something fun. This year, we wanted you to tell us what makes you happy and you had a lot to share on that topic! Our listeners find happiness in spending time with friends, family, and pets and in doing activities they love: playing with friends, toys, arts and crafts, participating in sports, watching movies, and riding bikes. Two people say the special sandwiches their adults make them are what bring them happiness. And some kids told us learning new skills is especially exciting for them. In this episode: a happiness bonanza with all the responses we got. Plus we talk with a happiness expert: [Gretchen Rubin] (https://gretchenrubin.com/) . She’s the author of the Happiness Project and host of a podcast called Happier with Gretchen Rubin.  Download our learning guides: [PDF] (https://npr.brightspotcdn.com/11/ef/c907d2714761be0939467c2913e9/what-makes-you-happy.pdf) | [Google Slide] (https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1WOjuxA7rnDXtoLDH_wuNs_4JoFAOcJG7yJdSF5-4mi0/copy) ... Read more

29 Dec 2023

53 MINS

53:36

29 Dec 2023


#222

What's it like to be bilingual?

Almost half the people in the world speak at least two languages. And, it turns out, that includes a lot of But Why listeners! In this episode we talk about what it’s like to speak multiple languages and kids from around the world share phrases in many different languages so we can all learn something new! Plus, linguist and professor Anna Babel answers questions we’ve gotten about languages, including: What does it mean to be bilingual? Why do some people speak two or three languages? How many languages can someone learn? Download our learning guides: [PDF] (https://npr.brightspotcdn.com/01/9b/a0fbb2bf4b11bc8d9bf15da97222/whats-it-like-to-be-bilingual-1.pdf) | [Google Slide] (https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/15DvZ8D-L_MhLqu7A3URm7A0g0YdcrU5k-t7-C8MNuNs/copy) | [Transcript] (https://npr.brightspotcdn.com/13/fd/517d957d4624963e397f3f19c5d6/butwhy-222-bilingual-transcript.pdf) ... Read more

15 Dec 2023

34 MINS

34:57

15 Dec 2023


#221

How are electric guitars made?

How are electric guitars made? How are guitar strings made? And how, exactly, do guitars work? We’re answering questions about electric guitars with local luthier (guitarmaker) Lea in Burlington, Vermont. Creston gave us a tour of his studio–including his custom glitter room, to help us understand what goes into making an electric guitar. Download our learning guides: [PDF] (https://npr.brightspotcdn.com/bf/44/31afcd414ff8a971882ce1d4c859/how-are-electric-guitars-made.pdf) | [Google Slide] (https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1rekKnxstsP8YutRqxgUOTWdnW_st0lOxWPy4_bERGkk/copy) ... Read more

01 Dec 2023

24 MINS

24:31

01 Dec 2023