Curious Conversation Starters


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?