Vermont Public Radio

The Agency of Education is partnering with VPR to provide educational broadcast programming through the end of the school year.

May 30, 2020: Prom Goes #VTstrong

VPR is teaming up with the Agency of Education and Big Heavy World to present Prom Goes #VTstrong. Burlington DJ Craig Mitchell hosts this statewide radio prom on Saturday, May 30, 2020, at 7 p.m. Learn more on the VPR website.

Upcoming Episodes of VPR's 'But Why: A Podcast for Curious Kids'

'But Why' Podcast Broadcasting Live on Friday Afternoons

This announcement was originally posted on the VPR website on May 4, 2020.

But Why, VPR’s podcast for curious kids, will broadcast live, interactive educational programs for elementary school students on Fridays at 1 p.m. May 8 through June 19.

The programs will cover a wide range of topics related to natural science, poetry, space, history and civics. Students are invited to call or write in with their questions during each show, which will be answered by expert guests. The first program on Friday, May 8 will be about bats with guest Barry Genzlinger of the Vermont Bat Center

Some episodes will offer fun activities families can do at home in advance of the show. Educators and families can find upcoming topics at

But Why is thrilled to be able to offer entertaining and educational shows for kids during this challenging time for many families,” said host Jane Lindholm. “And I think adults will get just as much out of these radio programs, including a renewed appreciation for the curiosity and insight of our youngest listeners.” 

The series was developed at the urging of the Vermont Agency Of Education to help children and their caregivers finish the academic year from home, after schools were closed due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

“Not all Vermont students have access to high-speed internet,” said Scott Finn, VPR’s president and CEO. “This live broadcast over VPR’s statewide network will help more Vermonters have equal access to this resource.”

The Agency of Education will provide supplementary supports such as reading and other educational resources to accompany the series. Some programs will include homework assignments and writing or research prompts for the next week’s program. Teachers are welcome to include the programs in their weekly lesson plans. 

“I am very proud of our partnership with Vermont Public Radio to provide additional educational resources to Vermont students,” said Secretary of Education Dan French. “But Why has some great programming to offer, and we are grateful to be working with them to produce high quality learning materials for students.”

But Why: A Podcast For Curious Kids is an internationally-recognized podcast from Vermont Public Radio geared to listeners ages 4-10 and their adults. Host Jane Lindholm and producer Melody Bodette take audio questions submitted by kids and find interesting people to help answer them in on-demand episodes that come out every other Friday.

Questions have ranged from science to ethics, politics to family dynamics, like “Why don’t people have tails?”, “How do hurricanes form?” and “How are babies made?”

The podcast launched in 2016 and has received questions from kids in all 50 states and 62 countries. It has listeners worldwide and has exceeded a million downloads in just the last 6 weeks.

In addition to But Why Live, VPR is working with the Agency Of Education to broadcast a statewide prom and graduation ceremonies later this spring.

Supplemental Resources for Upcoming 'But Why' Podcast Live Broadcasts

Considerations for Radio Programming and Students with Disabilities (5/8).

May 15, 2020 Broadcast: Poetry

With Poetry Guy Ted Scheu and special call-outs to other poets.

May 22, 2020, Broadcast: Space Exploration

With Jim Green, NASA's Chief Scientist.

CSA YouTube Channel (science; K-12). Educational videos for all age groups about the ISS, astronauts, and other space-related material from the Canadian Space Agency. 

NASA YouTube Channel (science; K-12). Educational videos for all age groups on various NASA-related material.

Tools for Zero Gravity: Unit with resources PDF (media arts, science, ELA; grade 5). Cross-curricular unit for which students explore and develop tools and strategies to help astronauts manage day-to-day life in space. 5 Fun Things to do without Gravity (science; grades K-5). A brief page with gifs and explanations of different things that astronauts can do without gravity.

TeachEngineering: My Moon Colony (science, engineering; grades 7-9). A hands-on activity about designing your own moon colony.

PBLWorks: Journey to the Red Planet (science, ELA; grades 3-5). A PBL unit in which students apply their knowledge of space exploration to solve issues surrounding a journey to Mars.

Space Colony Design Planner PDF (visual arts, science connection; grade 4). A plan sheet with discussion questions to support students in creating a 2D drawing of a design for a colony on another planet. STEM at Home for K-4 Students (STEM; K-4). NASA’s STEM Engagement site containing an assortment of activities for K-4 students. STEM at Home for 5-8 Students (STEM; 5-8). NASA’s STEM

NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory: Teach (K-12) Science, technology, engineering and math resources, workshops and activities.

Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum: Educator Resources (STEM; K-12) Interactive activities and archived lectures (pioneers in flights, historians, scientists).

Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access: How Things Fly (STEM; 4-8) Introduce students to four elements of flight through experiments.

Scholastic: Meet Mae Jemison (Language Arts; Grades 3-8); Students improve content reading skills and vocabulary as they learn about the first black female astronaut.

Mystery Science There is going to be a special live science show done by Mystery Doug on Thursday, May 21st at 1p.m. Doug is excited to answer kids’ questions with the help of astronaut Jessica Meir, who filmed videos for us while she was in space!

Supplemental Resources for Previous 'But Why' Podcast Live Broadcasts

May 8, 2020, Broadcast: Bats and Beavers

With Barry Genzlinger of the Vermont Bat Center and Kim Royar of Vermont Fish and Wildlife. Listen to the episode on

Supplemental Resources: Bats

  • National Geographic Kids: 5 Reasons Why Bats Are the Best (science; grades) This article contains facts about bats.
  • National Geographic Kids: Bat Myths Busted! (science). This article disproves popular myths about bats
  • Scholastic: Into the Bat Cave: 7 Science Activities (science). This resource contains facts about bats as well as learning activities.
  • Texas Parks and Wildlife: Keep Texas Wild (science). This resource includes the PDF, Hanging Around with Bats, as well as discussion questions and activities.
  • PBS Learning Media: Wild Kratts Video Clips (science; grades 1-5). This collection contains informational video clips, support materials, and linked standards.
  • Storytime Readalouds: Bats (literacy; grades 1-4). This YouTube video is a readaloud of an informational text about bats.
  • Storyline Online: Stellaluna (literacy; PreK-2). In this YouTube video, Pamela Reed reads the famous children’s book, written and illustrated by Janell Cannon.
  • Sesame Street: Batty Bat (music; movement; grades PreK-K). This classic song on YouTube by Sesame Street’s Count Von Count, leads younger children in a waltz counting bats.
  • PBS Learning Media: Bat Mobile (fine motor; grades PreK-K). This printable mobile craft features Sesame Street character, Count Von Count, and his Muppet bats. Younger students can practice grasp and fine motor skills by using crayons and scissors.

Download this resource list.

Supplemental Resources: Beavers

  • PBS Learning Media: Beavers (science). This video about beavers is accompanied by support materials and standards alignment.
  • National Geographic Kids: Slideshow (science). This slideshow contains images and facts about beavers.
  • PBS Learning Media: Build a Dam like a Beaver (engineering, design; K-2). This video and supporting material discuss and explore strategies to stop and divert water flow using basic materials.
  • Teach Engineering: Engineering for the Three Little Pigs (engineering, design; grades 2-3). This video guides students through testing the strength of different building materials.
  • Art extension: Artist Discussion Questions & Extension Activity (visual arts; grades 4-6). This is a PDF with discussion questions on the work of Patrick Dougherty & Andy Goldsworthy and a general art-making activity.
  • Patrick Dougherty (visual arts; grades 4-6). This is the site of a contemporary artist who uses natural materials to construct site-specific artworks. This video shows a time lapse of his work.
  • Living your Wild Creativity: Andy Goldsworthy (visual arts; grades 4-6). This is an online gallery of work by environmental artist Andy Goldsworthy.
  • Little Readers Read Aloud: Boris Beaver (literacy; PreK-1). This YouTube video is a read aloud of the children’s book written and illustrated by Marcus Pfister.
  • Vermont Institute of Natural Sciences (VINS) Building a Beaver Dam (engineering, literacy; grades PreK-5). In this hands-on activity, students build and test their dams. Prompts are available for students to respond and reflect verbally or through writing or drawing.

Download this resource list.

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Vermont Agency of Education
Secretary Daniel M. French
1 National Life Drive, Davis 5
Montpelier, VT 05620-2501

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