School children’s original research on bees is published by journal
Science teacher and writer Alom Shaha celebrates a rare piece of original research by school children and how it found its way into a Royal Society journal.
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.