Everyone has to read this article by Alom Shaha
a Paper in Biology Letters today demonstrates how important it is for pupils to conduct their own original scientific experiments……
A scientific paper published today in the prestigious Royal Society journal Biology Letters reveals that “bumble-bees can use a combination of colour and spatial relationships in deciding which colour of flower to forage from.” This is an exciting discovery that deepens our knowledge of the buff-tailed bumble-bee (Bombus terrestris) and is described in an accompanying commentary as a “significant piece of research giving a novel insight in the colour and pattern vision of the bee”.
However, there is a more important discovery that is included in the paper, a discovery that I hope readers of this blogpost and the original paper will share with as many people as possible – the authors, while researching the behaviour of bees, “also discovered that science is cool and fun because you get to do stuff that no one has ever done before”.
As you’ve probably guessed, the authors of this particular paper are not your usual research team. The research was “conceived, carried out, summarized and written up by a class of 8 to 10 years olds” from Blackawton Primary School in Devon. The paper is deliberately written in “kids speak”, which, as well as being charming (“if we are lucky we will be able to get them to do Sudoku in a couple of years’ time”), serves as a constant reminder that this work was genuinely carried out by young schoolchildren.
I’m not qualified to judge the significance this paper may have in the world of bee science, but as a science teacher I can completely agree with one statement in the paper: “This experiment is important, because no one in history (including adults) has done this experiment before.” The students of Blackawton Primary School are a lucky bunch because they have had an educational experience which, sadly, most school science students never get to have: carrying out a genuinely original piece of scientific work…….. read more