A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this podcast.
STEM topics are taught clearly, with multiple explanations and examples to support and clarify. Lots of scientific terminology is included, which may be tough for younger listeners to fully understand. Humor helps support understanding -- e.g., a gleeful microbe gets his scientific message across by singing about the joys of feeding off of bacteria in your mouth. Includes some social-emotional learning within science lessons.
A key idea is that science is a normal part of daily life and there are explanations and reasons for most things that happen to and around us. Normalizes having feelings including fear and anxiety because we're genetically designed to have them. Tips for calming anxiety are given, including an explanation of the Mammalian Dive Reflex (suggests putting ice on your face to slow the heart rate and make you feel calmer). Other strategies (meditation and deep breathing) are mentioned and practiced to aid with anxiety. Curiosity is encouraged through asking kids to submit questions to be answered in episodes.
Positive Role Models
Molly Bloom, the kid guest hosts, and all invited experts are positive, knowledgeable, and relatable. Molly guides kid hosts so they are seen as leaders and part of the presentation. The goal of the podcast is to fill the gaps in curious Latino children's science education, but it's worth mentioning that the kids and the experts are English speakers who've been dubbed in Spanish.
The goal of the podcast is to address the gaps in STEM education for Latino kids. Kid hosts do a nice job in pronouncing Spanish words and are easily understood by Spanish speakers, but the mechanical and measured sound of their speech implies that they are not native speakers and are reading a script phonetically. As explained at the beginning of each episode, scientists and experts are non-Spanish speakers and are dubbed in Spanish. Male and female scientists are represented.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Brains On! en Español is a science-based podcast encouraging kids' curiosity and intended to bridge the gap in STEM education for Hispanic and Latino children. It's the Spanish-language counterpart to Brains On!. Themes addressed are relevant and interesting, including smelly bodies, dreams, insect vision, and feelings. Host Molly Bloom is a strong leader, giving kid guest hosts lots of opportunities to shine as budding scientists. The fast pace of information delivery and use of technical scientific terms can be a challenge for younger listeners. The podcast is presented in Spanish, but it's explained at the beginning of each episode that the experts featured are dubbed by actors. While it's a reliable Spanish-language resource, it's not necessarily reflective of Latino culture. It also should be noted that there are only six Spanish-language episodes, while its English-language counterpart has hundreds and continues to produce episodes weekly. Even so, this is a great starter podcast to invite Spanish-speaking children to fall in love with science or even to teach Spanish during science lessons.
Is It Any Good?
This Spanish-language STEM podcast offers meaty scientific material on several topics. Brains On! en Español's variety-show approach is likely to appeal to kids and adults, since it makes learning far more entertaining than your average science lesson. Molly Bloom brings her themes to life in a way that helps kids understand complicated scientific topics and see themselves as curious scientists. While each episode is in Spanish, the opportunity to represent Latino scientists is missed, as scientists and experts included in each episode are not native speakers, but are Spanish-dubbed.
The podcast's audio quality and use of sounds make it humorous and entertaining. Kids will feel a connection to the show as they enjoy the interactive nature and hear questions from their peers answered in each episode.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
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