A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this podcast.
Episodes include simple debate concepts as guests make arguments for why their side is best. Hosting and humorous interludes give definitions and examples of debate ideas like rebuttal, opposition research, argument, ad hominem fallacy and red herring fallacy. Each episode includes facts from science and/or history in their arguments. Teaches both debate and critical thinking skills, including using facts and researched information to back up opinions and judgements.
Overall effect is modeling debate as a fun, entertaining, and interesting practice from which we can all learn, rather than a personal or mean experience of arguing differing opinions. Fun and positive tone around debate consistent throughout hosting, judge commentary, debate rounds, and interludes. Empowerment to stand behind opinions and be confident in decisions. Communication skills highlighted.
Positive Role Models
Guest judges are older kids or teens who talk about their inspiring interests and pursuits. Guests who argue for each side of the debate model humor, creativity, intelligence, and positivity as they present their opposing opinions and compete for the judge's vote. When a guest gets flustered and throws an off-hand joking insult like, "and they smell!" into their argument , it is laughed off and not directly addressed. Kids act as guest judges for each episode and model using critical thinking to explain what arguments were persuasive to them.
Some debaters highlight diverse cultures when explaining the interesting histories of topics, like Mexican silver mines as the origin of tacos, or ancient Egyptian mythology as early evidence of ghosts being important to peoples' lives. Debates are fair and friendly, but no special emphasis on diversity and inclusion.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Smash Boom Best teaches and models debate skills on kid-friendly topics like fairies and giants, spaceships and submarines, and Pikachu and Mario. With entertaining music, sound effects, and interludes, adult debaters present their sides, always emphasizing humor, creativity, and quality of information, as they try to convince a kid judge which side is best. Arguments usually include some interesting information about science or history, and some topics lend themselves to more suspense and mystery. Connections to managing disagreement in real life or debating on social issues are not explicitly discussed. Content is largely kept light, positive, and fun. A great go-to for debate techniques and fun facts that both kids and adults will find fun and engaging.
Is It Any Good?
This podcast is the next best thing from the American Public Media team that created Brains On!. Smash Boom Best is a well-produced, well-researched and entertaining way of teaching debate skills. Even if younger listeners don't quite grasp the debate concepts, they may enjoy hearing funny people talk about topics accessible to them, like apples vs. bananas or horses vs. dolphins. Between interesting older kids acting as guest judges and good information about debate ideas, this podcast might inspire older listeners to pursue new interests in science, history, or debate. Smash Boom Best brings out the friendly and fun sides of argumentation.
While high on entertainment and educational value, the podcast does not explicitly relate debate settings to real life disagreements, larger social-emotional lessons, or debating as activism to improve our world. Visit the website to find topics that might interest the family, and steer clear of spooky topics for more sensitive listeners. The site has good opportunities for kids to feel involved, whether by voting for their winners or proposing other debate topics, as well as resources for educators teaching students how to debate.
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.
Suggest an Update
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