Curious Conversation Starters

 

Episode 25: Recess

  1.  Schools in Finland take 15 minutes of recess for every 45 minutes of learning. How does your school (or homeschool) compare with a Finnish school?
  2. Based on what you learned in the episode design your own perfect school day with breaks for recess and learning times.
  3. Do your adults work a lot? Why don’t you share what you learned in the episode and have them see if taking regular breaks to move around makes their work day better.
  4. Do an experiment the next time you are reading or doing homework. After 30-45 minutes, take a 15 minute break to play and move around. When you get back to work see if you feel more able to concentrate. What kinds of activities are the best for your breaks?

 

Episode 24: Slug Slime Band Aids

  1.  Doctors will use the slug slime inspired glue on people’s internal organs to help them heal. Can you think of any other really important scientific or medical uses the special glue could be used for?
  2. If you had your very own bottle of slug slime, what fun things woudl you do with it?
  3. If you could shrink yourself down like Mindy and Guy Raz, where would you like to go and what small creatures would you want to visit?
  4. Slugs use their sticky slime to attach themselves to wherever they are so that a predator like a bird cannot pick them up and eat them. Can you think of other cool and unique ways animals are able to escape being eaten?

 

EPISODE 23:  The Total Solar Eclipse (When the Moon Photobombs the Sun)

  1. The August 21st Total Solar Eclipse will be seen by millions of people all across America. It is the first time a solar eclipse has been visible in the U.S. in 99 years!  How WOW is that?  Make sure to view the eclipse safely!  More info here: https://eclipse2017.nasa.gov/
  2. The total solar eclipse will look different and happen at different times across the U.S.  Draw a picture of what the eclipse looks like where you are at the beginning, middle, and end and write down what time each one happens.
  3. Ancient people made up myths to explain why the sun would occasionally disappear from the sky during the day. Mindy said the Vikings thought the sun god Sol was chased out of the sky by the wolf Skoll. Pretend you are in ancient times and see a solar eclipse. Make up a myth to explain what happened to the sun.
  4. We want to hear from you about this Total WOW!  Be our SKYWitness Reporters on August 21st and leave us a message all about your experience.  Call 888-7WOW-WOW and follow the prompts.  We can’t wait to hear about your day!

For more our Eclipse Day activities home or school, click here

 

EPISODE 22:  If You’re Happy and You Know It

  1.  Mindy explained that the happiness museum is being opened inside a homeless shelter to bring happiness to a place that needs it. She said that other happiness museums might pop up in other places that need a little extra happiness. Where would you build a happiness museum?
  2. Mindy threw out her electric bill and other things that didn’t bring her joy. She said a less-cluttered life can make people happier. If you were to go around your house and throw out things that don’t bring you joy, what would they be? What would you keep for your own Museum of Happiness?

 

EPISODE 21: A Case For The Giggles

1. Today’s episode featured these jokes told by Wowzers like you!  Tell these jokes to a friend and see if you can get a laugh!

2.  Do a social experiment to see if you can make people copy you without telling them to. Try giggling, yawning, or shivering and see if your friends or family will also start doing this contagious behavior. Can you find other behaviors that are contagious too? Itching? Sneezing? Making pancakes?

3.  Try not to laugh! Another way to test out the theory that laughter is contagious is to see if you can resist laughing. Mindy wasn’t able to stop laughing when Guy started. With a friend or two take turns laughing as silly and loud as you can for five seconds. Study how long it takes before the others start laughing too.

 

EPISODE 20: CHILL OUT(SIDE)

  1.  Guy Raz talked about how the people who plan and build communities could use the calming effects of nature sounds. Using what you learned, draw up your own imaginary city with special places for people to relax and chill-out in nature. What will they look and sound like
  2. Have a family member help you find a song or video of nature sounds. Don’t talk for one minute, take deep breaths in and out, and listen to the sounds. Write or draw a picture of how you feel both in your body and in your mind. Next listen to a fast fun dance song like Mindy’s Taco song for one minute and then write or draw how you feel this time. Now compare your two sets of notes or pictures. Does it seem like the music and sounds really changed your feelings?

 

EPISODE 19: Astronauts, Clean Up Your Outer Space!

  1.  Space junk is a big problem for astronauts. But there is plenty of litter and junk on earth too, especially floating around in our oceans. Think of a special robot you could invent to clean up the floating junk that is hurting our fish, whales, seals and other sea animals?
  2. The technology used on the space junk robot was inspired by the special sticky parts of a gecko’s foot. Think about your favorite animal and what they are really good at. Sense of smell? Running fast? What kind of new technology could be inspired by your animal’s special abilities?

 

EPISODE 18: Cuckoo for Cocoa: Journey to the Chocolate Forests of South America

  1. Mindy was sad that the chocolate forest didn’t turn out to be full of candy and ice cream. If you could build a magic food-forest what would be in it? A lemonade stream? A spaghetti field? Who would you bring with you and how would you eat your way through it?
  2. Chocolate is delicious, but in this episode we learned that the plant that chocolate comes from tastes bitter. It takes a lot of work to make yummy chocolate from a yucky tree. Think about what other tasty foods come from not so tasty plants? For instance – sweet, crispy, rainbow-colored breakfast cereal starts out as a plain old wheat plant – you probably wouldn’t want to go out in a field and chew on wheat. What else?

 

EPISODE 17:  BRAIN FREEZE!

  1. Next time you eat a frozen treat too fast try the trick Mindy taught Guy Raz. Put your tongue on the roof of your mouth and sing “I’m a Little Teapot.” Does it really work? Do other songs work too?
  2. There are a lot of ways to get a brain freeze, like, milkshakes, popsicles, and frozen lemonade. Guy Raz got one by drinking a brown cow. What’s your favorite frozen drink? Can you make yourself drink it slow enough to avoid a brain freeze?
  3. In the episode we learned that giving yourself a brain-freeze can be a trick to make a migraine stop. Maybe someone in your family gets migraines. Ask them to listen to the episode and see if they want to try sipping an icy treat next time they get a migraine. You might just be a headache hero!
  4. If you can’t help but drink your tasty frozen treat too fast, draw up a picture of a special cup or straw to prevent brain freeze! Remember the trick is to keep the cold stuff away from the upper back part of your mouth where the sphenopalatine ganglion nerves are.

 

EPISODE 16: Hot Buttered Popcorn…PEE?!

  1. How to listen to this episode of Wow in the World

Step 1: With your grownups help, make some hot-buttered popcorn.

Step 2: With a bowl your hot-buttered popcorn, snuggle in, and turn on this episode of Wow in the World.

Step 3: Every time you hear Guy or Mindy say the words “hot-buttered popcorn” eat a piece of popcorn.  

  1. It’s easy to describe how things taste, but describing how something smells is a little trickier!  While wearing a blindfold, have your grownups place three different stinky foods or liquids under your nose, and see if you can correctly identify each one.  Can you use adjectives or descriptive words to describe each one?
  2.  In this episode, we were introduced to the Binturong, a mammal also known as the Bearcat.  Guy Raz described it as looking like a cross between a bear and a cat.  Without looking it up, draw a picture of the Bearcat you imagined during this story.  Once you complete your drawing, look up the real thing, and see how closely your illustration resembles the actual Binturong!

 

EPISODE 15:  MOSQUITOES & HUMANS, DUCKS & BREAD

  1. In this episode, we learned about different factors that might contribute to how tasty a human might seem to a mosquito.  As a summer-time experiment. Count the mosquito bites among your friends and family.  What characteristics to the people with the most bites share?
  2. The next time you’re in the car or at the dinner table with your family, make up a story together that involves a duck, a mosquito, a pond, and a character that eats too much bread.

 


EPISODE 14:  Air Taxis in Dubai

  1. In this episode we learned about a flying air taxi drone, that will be introduced to the city of Dubai, later on this year.  Imagine three big inventions of the future that you hope to see within your lifetime.  

 

EPISODE 13:  CHIMPS & ALTRUISM AND SATURN’S EMPANADA MOON

  1. In this episode, we learned that chimps have the unique ability to be altruistic, as in acting in a way that benefits another at their own expense. Think of a time where you’ve acted altruistically. A time where you’ve done something kind or helpful for someone else, even if it was a cost to you.  Think about how you felt and how it might have made the other person feel.
  2. In this episode, we learned that NASA’s Cassini probe was able to capture close up images of Pan, Saturn’s empanada-like moon!  It makes us wonder what scientists will discover next! Imagine that you are a NASA’s youngest kid scientist on a summer camp space mission.  Write a letter home to your grownups about your amazing (made-up) discovery!

 

EPISODE 12:  THE FISH WITH THE KILLER KISS

  1. In this episode, we learn about a smoochy faced fish with a killer kiss.  Think about a food that you love so much, that you could kiss it to death.  Ask your grownups and friends to do the same!  

 

Episode 11: Invite Yourself to Dinner and How Pandas Got Their Spots

  1. As we learned in today’s episode, research shows that we humans enjoy our food more when we eat it with other people; even if that other person is ourself in a mirror! The next time you eat a snack, try eating it in front of a mirror, and be sure to start a conversation with yourself.  Get to know yourself a little!
  2. Now that we know that “Crypsis” means the ability of an animal to avoid observation or detection by other animals, the next time you’re outdoors or on a hike with your family, be on the lookout for examples of camouflaging crypsis in nature!
  3. Come up with a 60-second story that includes the following things:

 

Episode 10: Comets, Ice Age, and Human Civilization

  1. In this episode, Guy and Mindy hop in a time machine, and travel 20,000 years into the past! They find themselves in the Ice Age, stepping into what we now know as Boston, Massachusetts.  If you could travel back to a period of history to experience life at that time, where would you go?  What would you bring?  What would you want to bring back as a souvenir?  
  2. One of the ways we’re able to know so much about our ancient human ancestors, is by reading the stone carvings they left. It was their way of documenting or journaling about their lives.  Do you keep a journal?  Did your parents or grandparents keep journals when they were your age? If so, ask if they’ll share some pages with you! Think of it as a ride in a paper time machine!

*For a chance to be part of the Thursday Edition of Wow in the Word:  With a grownup’s help, leave us a voice message at 1-888-7WowWow.  Tell us about a big wow in YOUR world this week! We may use your message on an upcoming episode!

 

Episode 9: Dogs vs. Two-Year Olds, Tooting Cows, and Crickets for Breakfast

  1. As we discovered in this episode, dogs and two-year-olds, when it comes to social intelligence, dogs and two year olds have more in common that scientists originally thought.  With this in mind, carefully observe a dog and a toddler in your life.  Conduct your own experiments to see how the two react to things like treats, playfulness, and kisses from their parents or owners!
  2. In our story on tooting cows, and crickets for dinner, we learned that eating tiny insects could make a big difference in the health of our planet.  Imagine a potluck dinner party where all of the foods on the table involved edible INSECTS! Draw a picture of that table filled with buggy treats, or come up with some creepy crawly recipes of your own!  

 

Episode 8: Let’s Flamingle!

  1. “Would you do anything for science?” This is one question that Mindy poses to Guy Raz in today’s episode of Wow in the World.  Here are 5 Would You Rather questions to test just how far you would go to in the name of scientific curiosity! *note: ALL of these thing have been done by real scientists!
  1. Gather a few friends or family members, and see who has what it takes to be a fancy flamingo! Here are some steps to follow in order to assume your best flamingo stance:
  1. Dress in pink feathered clothing. (optional…but come one, you know you want to)
  2. Squat down like you’re going to sit on the toilet.
  3. With your back straight, bending at the hips, push your butt backward.
  4. Without leaning forward, hold your knees at a 90 degree angles.
  5. Now try this while standing on only one leg.
  6. Close your eyes, and fall asleep without falling over.
  7. Attempt to hold this position longer than everyone else.

That’s it! Last flamingo standing gets a rotten egg! 1…2….3….Flamin-GO!

 

Episode 7: Bag O’ Worms & The Velocity of Poop

  1. In this episode of Wow in the World, we learned that when wax worms are trapped in a plastic grocery bag, they will eat their way to freedom. Imagine opening a wax worm restaurant where all the menu items contain some form of plastic grocery bags! What would you name this restaurant? What would it look like? What would wax worms find on the menu?
  2. Taking what we learned about wax worms ability to process the chemicals found in grocery bags, imagine some ways that scientists can take this discovery and the information gathered from it, to help our planet in the future.
  3. In this episode, Guy Raz and Mindy found themselves at a race where the winner was determined by the velocity or the speed at which they pooped! Create an new team sport for animals that involves poop and velocity.  What kind of equipment would be involved? What would the uniforms look like? What kind of trophy would the winning team receive? Also, be sure to come up with some super pooper team names!

Episode 6: Dinosaurs’ Puzzling Backbones

  1. Imagine taking a time machine back to the late Jurassic Period, 160 million years ago.  Considering you’d be the only human living among the dinosaurs, what would you do for fun? What would you eat? What would you do to survive?
  2. Now imagine that a giant Sauropod hitched a ride on your time machine, and showed up on your doorstep in the present day! How would you disguise this 170,000 pound beast?! How would you explain it to friends and neighbors? What would you do to train it?
  3. Now that we understand the zig zaggy puzzle-like structure of a Sauropod’s spine or backbone, think about how could recreating this structure, could help to hold up other large, heavy, moving objects in our world! With this ancient technology in mind, invent your own enormous, heavy, moving creation!

*For a chance to be part of the Thursday Edition of Wow in the Word:  With a grownup’s help, leave us a voice message at 1-888-7WowWow.  Tell us about a big wow in YOUR world this week! We may use your message on an upcoming episode!

Episode 5: Pokemon Go Make Some Friends & The Noisy Sounds of Silence

  1. In this week’s episode, we learned that researchers from the University of Wisconsin found a connection between kind and friendly people, and people who play Pokemon Go.  They also discovered that shy people playing Pokemon Go tended to be less shy while playing the game.  See if you and a friend can invent a new game that combines kindness, making new friends, and lots of laughs and fun!
  2. In the Pokemon Go story, Guy Raz and Mindy argue over whether too much screen time will turn your brain to “mush.” What do you think?
  3. This week, we learned that noise pollution in protected wildlife areas is becoming a big problem. The next time you’re outdoors, find a safe spot to sit down and make a collection of the sounds that you hear.  Make a list of these individual sounds, and note how many are natural, and how many are human-made.  Close your eyes and observe how humans and nature interact in the world we share.
  4. Be a bird translator! Listen carefully to a tweeting conversation between two birds outside. Imagine what they are saying to each other. In your translation, are they laughing, fighting, singing? Write out your translation of this conversation, and share it with a friend!
  5. With your family, friends, or classmates, think of some creative ways (both big and small), that we humans can cut down on the amount of noise pollution we bring to wildlife areas.  

Episode 4: A Hermit Crab Housing Crisis and The Great Human vs. Rabbit Race

  1. In the Hermit Crab Smackdown story, Mindy invites Guy Raz to take a peek inside her head. Draw a picture of what you saw inside YOUR head as you were listening!
  2. Imagine that you are a hermit crab who sells beach-front shell homes to other hermit crabs. Create a one-page advertisement for for the ultimate dream shell or neighborhood. What features would it have? What kinds of words would you use to describe it? Be sure to include an illustration!
  3. In the hermit crab story, we learned that the quality of the shell matters to the overall health and strength of the hermit crab living inside of it. We also discovered that unhealthy and weak hermit crabs, may actually work even harder than the healthy and strong hermit crabs when it comes to fighting for the shell they want.  Can you think of a time when hard work and determination helped you to achieve something that once seemed out of your reach?
  4. In our story about heels and humans, we learn that in a running race, a rabbit would actually beat the fastest human on Earth!  See if you can find a grown-up to time you walking from one end of a hallway to the other; once while walking heel to toe, and once walking from toe to heel.  Take note of which type of walking feels more natural, which feels more balanced, which takes more energy? Next, try the same thing while you run, and see if you notice any differences!
  5. Make up a 60-second story involving a race between the fastest human on earth, a rabbit, and a hermit crab. Be sure to throw in a carrot casserole, and a big surprise before any characters reach the finish line!

Episode 3: Your Shoelaces on G-Force and Bubble Gulpies of the Future?

  1. In the story about gravitational force and our shoelaces, Guy Raz describes a mechanical engineer as someone who works on designing, creating, operating, and understanding how machines work. How do you think the work of a mechanical engineer makes your life easier?
  2. Guy and Mindy take a roller coaster ride to show how g-force works. Design a roller coaster of your own, and don’t forget to give it an awesome name!
  3. In the story about the Ooho future water, we learn about the invention of a disposable water container, that is edible! Using this method, can you think of other food or drink packaging that could be replaced by this same biodegradable packageless packaging? What would it look like? What would you name it?
  4. In this episode, we learned that while plastic water bottles are recyclable, far too many are thrown away and end up in landfills and our oceans. Can you think of some inventive ways to encourage people to recycle these bottles after using them
  5. Make up a 60-second story that involves the following from today’s episode:
    1. Character: polar bear
    2. Setting: amusement park
    3. Plot: A character winds up in the middle of a water balloon fight.

Episode 2: Corn Your Toes And Blast-Off To The Moon!

  1. Guy Raz declares the landfill to be “the worst place on earth for a picnic.” Can you imagine and even worse place for a picnic? What would it look like? What would it smell like? What’s the worst thing that could happen? Describe the scene!
  2. Mindy declares that the earth is starting to “freak out” because of the amount of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere. Can you come up with an unusual or inventive way for you and your friends to help to limit your own carbon footprints?
  3. Now that we know that corn can be used to create sustainable products like forks, knives, and even shoes, what else can you imagine being made out corn?
  4. Imagine that your class is chosen as the very first group of kids to take a field trip to the moon! How would your class prepare? What would be written on the permission slip? What kind of rules would be set? What would you set out to learn and discover? What could possibly go wrong?
  5. Let’s pretend that you’ve just won a round trip ticket to Mars; BUT, you could only pack ONE item. What would that item be?
  6. Spend the next seven days on the lookout for big WOWs in YOUR world. When you find one, make a note of it, and share it with a friend!

Episode 1: The Search For Planet 9 And Our Sushi-Powered Brains

  1. Imagine that you are an inventor looking for lost planets. What kind of new equipment would you invent to help find Planet 9. What would you call this piece of equipment, and how would it work?
  2. Now that we know that the cerebral cortex is the part of our brain that helps us to do things like plan ahead, imagine spending one week without it! Who would do better, you or your grownups? Name three times you’ve put your cerebral cortex to work in the past 24 hours.
  3. Imagine you’re put in charge of a new exercise class that mixes physical exercises with gratitude exercises. What would this new class look like? What would it sound like? And most importantly, what would you call it?