Do plants feel pain? Why are butterfly wings so colorful? Are whiskers a sixth sense? Can there be a connection between coal mining and discovering new planets? As always, the best ideas come from better questions. And this is one podcast that gives us the ticket to them.
Have you ever found yourself with a vexing problem and just randomly ran it by a child? If you have, you may remember with a smile that they popped out with an elegantly simple solution. Maybe they even asked a more fundamental question than you were asking yourself.
This is the wonder of a “beginner’s mind”. And that’s why the podcast we are recommending to you is made for kids but perfect for all of us, at any age! Want to rekindle the “better questions” part of your brain? Let’s get to it!
Listen to the questions of a child and you will see a better starting point for most problem-solving.
The lines of thought available to children are boundless. This is, in a large part, because they are not hemmed in by countless outside considerations as most adults are: protecting their egos, values or prior knowledge.
They can observe something we might not even notice, like a man cutting back some bushes. Then they ask a simple question, “Do plants feel pain?” And if they ask that question of the right person, they will often tumble into the rabbit hole of wonders that our world provides.
Can we go on these journeys of possibility with them?
The answer is an emphatic, “Yes!” And better yet, we can crack the door open on our own child-like curiosity. And, perhaps, rekindle the kind of thought process that will lead us to no end of solutions in our lives. This is definitely an article you’re going to want to share.
Let us introduce you to the podcast, Tumble.
It’s an innovative, funny, and fascinating look at the world of science. While its target audience is kids, it’s also the perfect place for us adults to learn some great things too!
Tumble is not just bringing cool scientific wonders to kids and adults around the world. They are fanning the embers of curiosity we all have, and thereby inspiring the next generation of physicists, biologists, engineers, researchers and thought leaders who will change the world we all share for the better!
Really, none of us should ever get in the car with anyone over the age of six and not throw on an episode.
Their web address reads SciencePodcastforKids.com, and yet I’ve never listened to one that didn’t transform my own way of thinking in some major way!
Let me show you what I mean by that…
Just listen to the first 3 or 4 minutes of the episode below. First off, you’d have to go a long way to find a cuter kid, asking a better question on the internet! And then, the funny hosts bring you right into your comfort zone with a couple of comments that are so clever. Then the magic of the celebration starts!
Within the first few minutes, you’ll learn why the grass in your yard puts out such a memorable smell when you mow it!
Maybe science tells us that plants do feel a kind of pain? Check this out…
I really hope you’ll listen to that one all the way through! By the end, they are throwing down one remarkable wonder after another. (Spoiler alert: just the recorded sound of a munching insect can make a plant respond in an amazing way!)
Tumble is a story of innovation at its best.
People who find the best innovations almost never rise through the rank in the field they are innovating. Instead, they come to the task as an outsider. And because they are unburdened by protecting their egos and previous knowledge, they ask better questions about the problem at hand.
Tumble’s creator is just that sort of innovator.
Lindsay Patterson, the creator, co-host, and producer of the Tumble podcast told me that she never had a head for science. The topic left her cold because she thought — even well into her 20s — that everything there was to know had been discovered. She says, “In school, I totally missed the point of science, that it is a process of constant discovery.” It was only by a fluke, after graduating from college as a creative writing major, that she landed a first freelance job writing for a science radio show.
On her first assignment, she interviewed a well-spoken scientist who was trying to study problems that Lindsay cared about too; many to do with protecting the environment. When she got off the phone, Lindsay’s worldview had shifted.
She realized that science was an elevating journey of deeper and deeper understanding that often creates breakthroughs that are leaps of insight for everyone.
Fortunately, she had a boss who thought that her beginner’s mindset was a tremendous asset and she was hired full-time.
Marshall Escamilla, Lindsay’s husband, and co-host brings a great sense of humor and a master’s degree in music education to the project. He taught music for 14 years in Austin, Texas, in an environment Lindsay describes as, “Imagine a School of Rock-type situation, with a jazz band and music theory thrown in for good measure.” Now, he continues his work as an educator working at an international school in Barcelona and teaching music lessons.
They both seem to celebrate their way through every episode with a sense of wonder that is infectious, driving home the notion that every aha moment in science, is not the end, but rather a heady, exciting beginning!
Making Science Fun!
With the help of their partner Sara Robberson Lentz–who has edited and produced episodes and is now in charge of expanding Tumble’s reach as their head of partnerships–Tumble has changed what science podcasting can look like.
Tumble reminds us of how remarkably interconnected the world is. Turns out, there’s a fun connection between seals and No-Shave November. What if all those newly grown beards and mustaches gave men the ability to ditch their senses of sight and smell, and gain some Ninja-like abilities to find what they want?
I know. I had no idea. Dive into this and learn about the most adorable and remarkable kind of research!
Truthfully, I haven’t found an episode I didn’t love.
In fact, my husband and I recently had a 4-hour drive and we experienced a kind of “time machine” effect courtesy of Tumble! We listened to one episode after another. We would frequently pause them to have deep conversations about the clever moments in the podcast. And when we arrived, we both had the sense we had leaped forward in time, barely remembering anything about the drive at all.
And what happened next was another pleasant surprise: day after that day, our minds seemed to unconsciously churn out new ways to solve old problems that we had preying on our minds! There’s some science to that too! Turns out if we go to sleep in the right state of mind, our brains continue to work in the background. 3
Why should we care?
As a result of Tumble’s remarkable knack for inspiring both adults and children, they are growing an amazing following of over 76,000 global listeners!
As their following and impact grow, they improve the future for all of us by nurturing our curious minds.
You might be surprised to learn that rates of science literacy are extremely low. In plain talk: most people don’t know much at all about science. And that limits everyone’s ability to be expanded by the potential of our information age.
Lindsay reminded me that because our ease with science is so low, many of us hold notions that are very out-of-date. This causes us to cherry-pick from a very small number of possibilities. She recommends the book Unscientific America by Sheril Kirshenbaum if only for us to appreciate how important it is that we turn this ship around.
She also pointed out that there is absolutely no need for us to label ourselves as “not a science person”. Science is a tool for problem-solving. And, if we’ve got a problem, there is probably a scientific insight that would put our brains on to a great resolution.
What are you giving your attention to before bed or in those car or commuter rides? Is it opening your mind or your kids’ to the kind of information that makes us better problem solvers?
Young minds and older minds need to know what’s possible to think in terms of possibility themselves! This next episode is a great example of that.
Here, Lindsay interviews an 18-year-old, Anna Humphrey, who won the Regeneron Science Talent Search. She earned a prize of $250,000 for inventing a new way to find undiscovered planets outside our solar system.
This is a great illustration of how natural curiosity and discovering a solid method of inquiry can be applied to any problem. Anna’s journey started in the 4th grade when she learned about a coal mining practice called “Mountain Top Removal” and was horrified. Here’s how someone goes from being a fired-up 4th grader to an astrophysicist by age 18!
Maybe that’s the equation for innovation: Curiosity + Passion + A Solid Method of inquiry = Great New Ideas!
What Can You Do Next?
We need to support organizations like this by getting the word out that they exist and celebrating them with our “clicks”. The best way to do that is to share, share, share this article. It will land in front of countless people who would enjoy Tumble and share it themselves. The more adults and children who are inspired, the more we all get a different future filled with possibilities that would not exist without Tumble. This is how you can be part of a wave of goodness that is changing the future.
Your help would go a long way on Tumble’s Patreon Page. And share this great resource with friends!
If you want a few more episode suggestions, Lindsay sent over a few of her favorites too! She loves:
You can also go explore their full library over on their website!
We came across Tumble in the course of our research for an article we did on the topic of Coprolites. It’s chock full of conversation starters! If you missed that piece, here’s the link:
Take a look, you’ll find we had some fun writing an amazing article about something top of mind in our times: dinosaur poo. Knowledge like this is sure to raise eyebrows at your next social gathering. And yes, I’m very serious about that!
Have a great day! Share the work of innovators who are making the world a better place.
Stay curious, open and hopeful!
~ Dr. Lynda
Curious for more?
We write a lot about science here at EWC! So, if you’d like to explore more great science content go check out the science section of our library.
- Tumble Podcast. “The Secret Senses of Plants.” Tumble. Tumble Podcast, 26 Jan. 2018. Web. 17 Sept. 2019. <http://www.sciencepodcastforkids.com/single-post/2018/01/27/Plant-Senses>. ↩
- Tumble Podcast. “The Science of Whiskers.” SoundCloud. Tumble Podcast, 5 Apr. 2019. Web. 17 Sept. 2019. <https://soundcloud.com/tumble-podcast/the-science-of-whiskers>. ↩
- Rodriguez, Kate. “How Einstein and Edison Solved Problems in Their Sleep.” Inc.com. Inc, 01 Aug. 2016. Web. 17 Sept. 2019. <https://www.inc.com/the-muse/albert-einstein-thomas-edison-your-half-asleep-brain-can-solve-problems-better.html>. ↩
- Tumble Podcast. “The Tale of the High School Astronomer.” SoundCloud. Tumble Podcast, 23 Mar. 2019. Web. 17 Sept. 2019. <https://soundcloud.com/tumble-podcast/the-tale-of-the-high-school>. ↩