30 Animals That Made Us Smarter
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A Lot or a Little?
The parents' guide to what's in this podcast.
What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that 30 Animals That Made Us Smarter is a BBC-produced science podcast inspired by a book of the same title and hosted by the book's author, Patrick Aryee. The topics are complicated and may be hard to get through for the less science-focused, so it's probably best for science and tech lovers in fourth or fifth grade and up -- though no content in the show besides comprehension is inappropriate for younger listeners. As it's a British pod, it uses metric measurements. Aryee is knowledgable and has an easy, friendly tone that doesn't talk down to kids. Each weekly episode covers a different advance in tech or science that was inspired by an animal -- for example, solving sewage treatment issues in India using the cow's unique digestive process or the idea that the sneaky way a mosquito sucks your blood is the key to pain-free needle pricks in the future.
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What’s It About?
30 ANIMALS THAT MADE US SMARTER is a BBC World Service podcast about how studying animals has helped humans solve tricky technical, scientific, engineering, medical, and other problems. Episodes are about 15 minutes long and go into quite deep scientific detail about animal biology and how scientists have used animals' unique adaptations to help humans in some way. For example, the way manta rays feed offered a solution to cleaning micro plastics from the ocean with filters that don't get clogged.
Is It Any Good?
These stories are fascinating explorations of biology, science, engineering, and tech. The host of 30 Animals that Made Us Smarter, Patrick Aryee, goes pretty deep on the science, and because episodes are only about 15 minutes long and Aryee covers a lot of detailed explanation of animal biology and science or tech in that time, the shows are dense. For those who aren't science-minded, it might be harder to get through. But for the science lovers in the house, the innovations are super cool and the explanations thorough.
Aryee, who has a BBC, filmmaking, and conservationist background, is very professional. He's also easygoing and comfortable with the technical material, and his is the only voice you'll hear in the cast. He addresses environmental issues as well as medical and engineering feats. The sound is studio-clean with subtle sound effects that don't compete with the host.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about other ways that animals help humans, like they do in 30 Animals that Made Us Smarter. Do you have a pet that helps you -- like a watchdog? Or have you ridden a horse? What are some other examples?
Podcasts like this one are geared toward curious listeners. Were you interested in the topics you heard about? Which one of the podcasts you listened to inspired your curiosity? What do you think is the value of being curious?
What question about scientific innovations involving animals would you want to ask?
Parents and kids who are inspired by an episode can go deeper into the topic by doing their own research and by clicking the "Find out more" link on the show's website.
- Release date: March 24, 2019
- Genre: Science & STEM
- Average Run Time: 15 minutes
- Website: http://www.bbcworldservice.com/30animals
- Host: Patrick Aryee
- Publisher: BBC World Service
- Pricing structure: Free
- Topics: Wild Animals
- Last updated: February 7, 2023
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