It’s time for the Fun Kids Science Weekly, the weekly podcast that opens your minds to the most amazing things in the universe!
How can we save our coral reefs, and why are they so important? Marine Biologist David Smith joins us this week to tell us exactly why and how we can help!
We answer your questions on why we have such wrinkly fingers when we are in the bath too long.
And we are joined by Professor Hallux and Nurse Nanobot for the last time this week, and it’s all about the first aid kit and how this can help you in your home.
Did you know the dragonfly was so deadly? Its actually one of the deadliest creatures in the world, and we find out just why in this weeks Dangerous Dan!
Of course we are also joined by the smarted school in the universe, Deep Space High, where Pulsar is joined by some space experts to answer your questions!
Here’s the episode below:
Dan: Ahoy, hello. Welcome along. It’s a brand new episode of the Fun Kids Science Weekly. My name is Dan. Thank you so much for being there. Thank you for joining in. Coming along on this mission through the universe to discover all the science secrets that are lurking around the solar system. This week, we’ll hear all about the coral reefs, how they are the lungs of the ocean, and why they’re so important for life on Earth. And chat to a genius marine biologist called David Smith.
David Smith: Up to 90% of all coral reefs will disappear from our planet in the next 20 years unless we do something about it. So they’re critically important for us. They’re critically endangered. And now we have found a way where we can actually rebuild coral reefs underwater.
Dan: Also, we’ll take one last trip to Deep Space High with Professor Pulsar, the smartest school in the solar system, to talk about whether pets can ever go into space.
Professor Pulsar: How about this one? I think it will be right up their street.
Child: How many people have been to space before?
Libby Jackson: Hi, my name is Libby Jackson, I work for the UK Space Agency.
Professor Pulsar: Hi, Libby. Do you happen to know how many people have been to space before?
Dan: And I’ve got your questions to ask, as always, this week, they are on why our fingers go so wrinkly and pruney in the bath and whether there is anything inside the moon. It’s all on the way. In a brand new Fun Kids Science Weekly.
Science in the News: Mapping all of the species found in the UK, Pinpointing Stars, and A Radio Signal From Space?!
Dan: Let’s kick things off with this week’s Science in the News. A huge mission is underway to map all of the species that are found in the UK and Ireland. Every single one. Scientists want to know what the DNA is in every single organism around. All the plants, all the animals, all the fungi, everything. Everything. They guess there’s over 70,000 species and experts are going to track, find and map every single species.
Also, another map. The Gaia telescope is in space by Europe. We put it there and it’s building the biggest record of light in the sky. It’s trying to pinpoint all of the stars, the asteroids and the galaxies that it can see. Now, it’s already mapped 2 billion things and now it’s trying to find out more about what those things are.
And finally, this is huge news. Scientists have received a radio signal from space. Experts in China have picked up what might be a message from another galaxy. You might remember at the start of the year, we did our Mission Transmission, where we sent a radio show to space. Who knows, maybe this is some aliens getting back in touch, wanting a shout out, saying they’re locked in. It has been detected in a galaxy 3 billion light years away, which means it was sent 3 billion light years ago, which means the galaxy is 18 sextillion mile away. If we want to go there, but head off quickly, right?
Professor Hallux’s Map of Medicine – Episode 21: First Aid
Dan: It’s time for the last in our Professor Hallux Map of Medicine series. We’ve been following this for the last few weeks or so. Hallux, with his best mate, his genius helper, Nurse Nanobot. They’ve been looking inside your body, looking at what makes you ill, what makes you sick, and then who makes you better again, in the series, we’ve looked at everything from your mouth, your nose, your ears, your lungs, your heart, your feet, your hands, your arms. This week, it’s all about what goes into a first aid kit. Some of the first steps that you need to get better are in a first aid kit. And he has some top safety tips, too.
Nurse: Oh, Body! You’ve been stung on the schnoz. Professor? Professor? Get the first aid kit!
Professor Hallux: With you in a minute! Just adding in some medical machinery to the Map of Medicine. An MRI and a microscope.
Nurse: Stop fiddling. I need the first aid kit. Where did you leave it?
Professor Hallux: It’s on the window sill.
Nurse: Got it. There’s a frog in this box! Where are the cream and plasters?!
Professor Hallux: Oh, yes. I needed a box for Fabian, the French forest dwelling frog. He’s very rare, you know.
Nurse: Here’s the first aid stuff. It’s in the teapot. Don’t you know that first aid is more important than a flaky old frog?
Professor Hallux: You’re right. I’m sorry. Why don’t you give us a clinical crunch on first aid whilst I get some cream on Body’s nose?
Nurse: Happy to! Right. If you hurt yourself when at home, you probably won’t need to see the doctor. First aid is a way to treat minor injuries like stings, grazes and bruises.
Professor Hallux: And to do that, every house should have a first aid box. Normally, these are green with a white cross on the front, so they’re easy to find. Does your house have one? Do you know where it is? Do you know what’s inside? Let’s load up the map of medicine to find out more.
Nurse: Now first aid boxes are all there to do the same thing to help treat minor injuries. But the contents aren’t always exactly the same. Some things are always sensible to include. First thing: Plasters. Now, plasters are something I’m sure you’ve seen before. They’re sticky bandages you can put onto cuts and grazes to keep the dirt out. But before you put on a plaster, stop! All cuts and grazes need to be dirt free. Running the grazed bit under a tap can remove loose mucky bits, but if it needs cleaning, antiseptic wipes can help, so they’re worth having in your kit. The next thing you’ll find in the box might make you think of Mummies in the Pyramids. Bandages. They’re strips of fabric that can be used on their own to support hurt joints, or with sterile pads to dress larger cuts. The triangular shaped bandages are just the thing to make a sling for hurt arms. They’re made of fabric, too. Although you could use a scarf in an emergency.
Professor Hallux: Don’t forget the gloopy stuff. Always fun, a bit of gloop, I reckon.
Nurse: Yes, you may find creams in the box, but they’re not for fun. Antihistamine creams help soothe rashes and stings, just like Bodies. And antiseptic creams can soothe grazes, too.
Professor Hallux: What about medicines? Have you done them yet?
Nurse: Medicines that stop things hurting are called painkillers. Also useful to have in a first aid box. But remember, kids, never touch medicines. Get your paws off. It can be dangerous if you have too much medicine, so grownups need to be in charge of measuring it out.
Professor Hallux: It’s no good just having a lovely box of plasters and cream, though. It’s worth making your home a safe place for everyone who’s in it. Some things that keep us safe are big things. Uh oh, sounds like I burnt my toast. Only kidding. That noise was a smoke alarm. And you should definitely have one in your home and test the batteries regularly. But the other things you can do to stay safe are little things.
Here’s my top three tips. Oh, go on, then. You can introduce them. Fabian, you can be our first aid frog. He says slow down, especially when you’re on the stairs. Lots of children end up hurt due to falls on staircases, so take it one step at a time.
Tip two tidy up your toys. Keeping floors clutter free can help prevent falls. And if you have younger brothers or sisters, it will stop them putting small things like marbles into their mouths, which could give them a tummy ache or even choke them.
What’s our last tip, Fabian? Oh, good one. Stay well away from hot things. Grownups should make sure they’re safely out of bounds. Things like kettles, toasters and matches can cause serious burns or even death. Just leave them alone. They’re rubbish to play with anyway. Let’s have a quick disgusting detail, Nurse. There’s just time before we go.
Nurse: Oh, I love good disgusting detail. First aid boxes haven’t always been around, but throughout history, people have had their own remedies and cures for their aches and pains. Mainly because even 80 years ago, doctors were really only for the rich. But some of the home remedies were, well, a little weird. An old Irish remedy for earache was to boil a cockroach in oil and shove the bug in your lug hole. And a remedy for a cold was to share your bed with your dog. They believed the dog would catch the cold and you would be cured.
Professor Hallux: Not much fun for the poor dog, though. Well, I hope you all stay safe until the next time you can join me to explore the map of medicine.
Answering Your Questions: Why do our fingers go wrinkly in water? & Does the moon have a core?
Dan: Let’s get to your questions, then. If you’ve got anything sciencey that you want answered on this show, you need to leave it as a review for us over on Apple podcasts. I see it, I do the digging and then hopefully, fingers crossed, I’ll give you a shout on the show. Alfie and Elodie are in Jersey and they want to know why fingers go wrinkly in the bath?
Have you ever noticed that with yours, you’ve been having a soak for quite a long time. Your fingers go all pruney, don’t they? They look a little bit like an alien. Well, here’s what happens inside your fingers, your blood vessels, they’re the things that move blood around your body. They shrink when they get hot. Your brain sends a message to make them do this. And because there’s less blood in your fingers, it makes them thinner and that makes the skin fold and it makes them wrinkly.
Now, experts don’t exactly know why this happens with the blood vessels in your fingers. They think we’ve evolved this skill to make us better at grabbing and gripping things underwater. It gives us a bit more purchase. When we need to hold on to things, the wrinkles can help it stick to us and scientists think that’s what happens. Alfie and Elodie, thank you for the question.
Here’s one from Brodie, who is ten, who wants to know, does the moon have a core? Yes, experts think it does have a core. We’ve not drilled down into it, but they think it is 300 miles wide. And they think that is the inner core, which is made of solid iron, pretty much one element, just solid iron. Now, outside of that is a hotter liquid iron core, the outer core. Now, that’s another 200 miles wide.
So, all in all, the core inside the moon is massive and it’s full of iron. Brodie, thank you for the question. If there’s something you would like answered on this show, on the Fun Kids Science Weekly next week, leave it as a review for us on Apple podcasts.
Interview with Marine Biologist Professor David Smith
Dan: It’s the Fun Kids Science Weekly. Now, there is a brand new idea that’s around and it’s a way to save the world’s coral reefs. We can find out more with marine scientist Professor David Smith. Thank you for being there, David.
David Smith: Thanks, Dan. Lovely to be here with you.
Dan: We hear so much about coral reefs, but I’m not 100% sure what they are. Someone said once, they are the lungs of the world, something like that. Can you tell us more?
David: Yeah, I think maybe a good way of thinking about it is that the sort of rainforests of the ocean, so coral reefs are made up of lots of different animals, but the base of a coral reef is made up of a small animal which has a special relationship with seaweed, actually. And together they produce these big, complex physical structures that other types of animals call home.
So on a coral reef, you can have lots of different species of fish, species of turtle, lots of different what we would call invertebrates, like crabs and the like. So about a quarter of all marine life in the oceans are found on coral reefs. They’re really important
Dan: And why do they need saving? What’s going on down there?
David: Well, unfortunately, Dan, although they’re very important for biology and for us as people, about a billion people depend on coral reefs of food and income. They are critically threatened. We think, and the latest science tells us that up to 90% of all coral reefs will disappear from our planet in the next 20 years unless we do something about it.
So they are critically important for us. They’re critically endangered. And now we have found a way where we can actually rebuild coral reefs underwater. And that’s what we’re trying to do as part of this programme, actually rebuild a coral reef.
Dan: Now, I want to get to the good news in a little bit. Just very quickly, one last question about the bad news. What could go wrong? So you say that within 20 years, they could all be gone. So in 21 years time, if there’s no coral reefs, how does that affect us and the world?
David: It’s a great question. There’s lots of stuff that is impacting on coral reefs. Climate change is one of the biggest problems that we face. But we are also, unfortunately, in the past, we’ve used different types of techniques to fish coral reefs and that has been unsustainable and damaging. So really destructive practises. And I think probably people didn’t realise how valuable and how sensitive they are.
The way it will affect us would be, quite simply, that the very health of the ocean itself will suffer. We don’t know what the consequences will be for the entire of the oceans, but if you remove a quarter of all it’s species, there’s likely to be big changes in fish populations and the amount of fish in the ocean and it’s capacity to function. So it would be a terrible thing to see then. There is hope, but it’s a very urgent problem that we need to deal with.
Dan: I remember being in Australia and going diving in the Great Barrier Reef and I remember first getting into the water and then kind of spinning a left just around the nose at the front of the boat and then seeing it, seeing it in front of you. And it’s like colours that your eyes can’t even describe. What’s it like for you, David, you’re a diver going into these magical kingdoms. It’s like something from a Disney movie, but all the time!
David: Dan, it’s just a A privilege of a lifetime to dive on a reef. The first time I dived on the reef, I was very young and I’ve been diving every day. Well, not every day, but a lot since. Over 8-9,000 times I’ve dived on coral reefs. It’s a magical system. You can get close to reef and find new species doing really funky stuff and living together and finding unique ways to live together on a very small scale.
Or you can swim off a reef and look left and right and see it stretching miles into the distance. There are two kingdoms underwater and again, more species there than anywhere else on the planet. So it’s really busy, it’s a really noisy environment and it’s extremely colourful and they’re extremely important for us.
Dan: It is noisy! That’s the first thing that you noticed, I remember, is hearing, like, the it was almost like the chomping of the fish on the coral.
David: Yeah. One of the fun things, actually, there’s this big species of parrotfish, it’s called a parrotfish, because they have a beak like a parrot and they can be really large, and if you follow them, you can see them crunching up the coral and when they let produce clean sand, and that’s important for beaches.
So it’s a really noisy place and a lot of the science we’ve done, actually recently, is trying to understand what makes that sound. And we can actually use the sound of the reef to measure its health.
So, yeah, noisy reef. And when you dive on a degraded reef or a damaged reef, it’s deathly quiet, it’s grey and it’s really eerie. So the sound is really important. It plays lots of different roles.
Dan: So we’ve sold how brilliant these things are. I guess the people listening to dive on them, to experience them in the future, they’re going to need to be around. How are you planning to save these things, David?
David: Well, we started a programme a long time ago, actually, but we really kicked it off in grand fashion in 2021 when we spelt the words hope by planting corals back into these damaged systems. It’s a bit like planting trees, in a sense.
You can get corals which have broken off in nature naturally and you can put them back onto a reef to regrow what is the trees equivalent to a forest. And that’s what we’re doing in many locations around the world, in those areas where we know are really important and are likely to stand the test of time. And we’re regrowing the coral. You regrow the coral, then all the fish come back and the reef comes alive. When you do that on a big enough area, that reef will start to reseed other reefs and get people excited about the fact that we can make this positive change in our lifetime. So it’s all about regrowing and rebuilding a coral reef.
Dan: Amazing. And I know that you want adults to get involved with this. It’s such a shame. It’s such a shame that not everyone can. But just if a mum or dad is out there, wants to be a hope ambassador, what do they need to do? Tell us more.
David: Well, first thing, I think, is that we should be using the next generation of marine biologists, which probably most of your listeners Dan, and I encourage people, children listening, to get excited about this amazing place that you’ll get to visit hopefully in the future. But the adults listening, they are more than welcome to apply to our ambassador programme, which is really sort of an opportunity of a lifetime, to join our coral reef restoration teams in the Maldives, where we’ve started a new programme, get trained for a week in the UK on coral reef restoration, then fly out to the Maldives and actively restore and rebuild the coral reef with us and the local community in the Maldives. And also a multiviant ambassador who they’ll be twinned with and learn about what it’s like living on the reef and some of the problems that they face.
So there’s a real opportunity for guys to actually, aspiring ocean conservationist, if you like to actively engage in the refreshing practises, and that’s open to everyone. You don’t have to be a marine biologist to do this, you just need to be a very enthused, passionate individual who can swim, obviously, who wants to make a difference in the world.
Dan: Amazing. Well, listen, Professor David Smith, thank you so much for joining us.
David: Absolute pleasure, Dan. Thank you very much.
Dangerous Dan: Dragonfly
Dan: It’s time for this week’s Dangerous Dan, where we take a look at some of the meanest, some of the cruellest things in the universe. This week, it’s all about the best hunter in the world. And it might not be who you think…
You might think the ferocious lion or a snapping shark is the world’s best predator. But get this, the world’s best hunter is actually a dragonfly. They’ve got a long tail, they’ve got four wings, they’ve got two huge eyes. They’re normally quite brightly coloured.
Now, in insects, when something is brightly coloured, normally that’s to attract them over, to make them appear like a flower, to make them enticing. Now, dragonflies live all over the world, except from on Antarctica at the South Pole. And scientists have found they are the world’s best hunters. They catch more than 95% of the prey that they target, which is twice as successful as a Great White Shark. It’s four times as good as a lion. That means if you’re another insect to mosquito or a fly, an ant or a bee, there’s very little chance of you getting free if a dragonfly wants you for dinner. It’s got these huge eyes which give a massive view of the world. And it perches on a leaf quite high, waiting for prey to fly nearby.
It’s got lightning quick reactions. A special neuron detects the tiniest of motions and movements from its prey and kind of, without realising, it will adjust, it’ll move, it will spin, it will flick. They can fly at 60 miles an hour. They’ve got strong arms and wings which catch the prey. And when it gets something, there’s almost no chance of it escaping. And that means the best hunter in the world, the beast that’s going straight on our Dangerous Dan list is the dragonfly.
Tim Peake on life in Space and ‘Lightyear’
Dan: Now, have you ever wondered what life is like actually in space, floating around through the big black void? One person who knows, he’s a really good friend of the show, Tim Peake. He spent months on board the International Space Station and he stars in the brand new movie Lightyear, which is the Buzz Lightyear origin story. It’s out in cinemas now and he’s been telling us at Fun Kids what life was like floating through the galaxy.
Tim Peake: Well, actually, on board the space station, there are things that are much, much easier. Things that are much harder, you can imagine. Just the harder things is the isolation, it’s the pressure, the fact that you’re in a high stress environment where mistakes are not really tolerated and then things go wrong and things break. You got to deal with emergency scenarios.
But on the plus side of space, wow. You have an amazing team on the ground who are making everything run as smoothly as possible every day. On board the space station has been scheduled for you and it’s designed to be as meticulous as possible. You’re never, ever going to live and work in an environment like that, where your day job has been so well planned, with so much support from an amazing team. So there are things that are tough, but there are things that have been made easier for you.
Dan: Now you can hear more of that interview the full chat with Tim Peake on the brand new Stream It podcast, where we give you all the best picks, the top tips for what you can watch at home or on the big screen in the movies. It’s Stream It the podcast, which you can listen to wherever you’ve got this show.
And that’s it for this week’s Fun Kids Science Weekly, thank you so much for listening. If there’s anything sciencey that you want answered on this show, you need to leave it as a review for me over on Apple podcasts. You can find us there while you’re on Apple. It’s one of the best places that you can hear loads of our science series. You’ve heard Deep Space High and Professor Hallux today, we’ve got loads more of them on there. We’ve also got podcasts about tonnes of other subjects, about history, about travel, about the world. You can listen to them too, on Google, Spotify, the free Fun Kids app and wherever you get your shows. And Fun Kids, we are a children’s radio station from the UK. You can listen all around the country on your dab digital radio. And that free Fun Kids app.Add a comment