You are never too young to do some science…
A group of British schoolchildren may be the youngest scientists ever to have their work published in a peer-reviewed journal. In a new paper in Biology Letters, 25 8- to 10-year-old children from Blackawton Primary School report that buff-tailed bumblebees can learn to recognize nourishing flowers based on colors and patterns.
“We discovered that bumblebees can use a combination of colour and spatial relationships in deciding which colour of flower to forage from,” the students wrote in the paper’s abstract. “We also discovered that science is cool and fun because you get to do stuff that no one has ever done before.”
The paper itself is well worth reading. It’s written entirely in the kids’ voices, complete with sound effects (part of the Methods section is subtitled, “‘the puzzle’…duh duh duuuhhh”) and figures drawn by hand in colored pencil.
The project, which began three years ago, grew out of a lecture neuroscientist Beau Lotto of University College London gave at the school, where his son Misha was a student. Lotto spoke about his research on human perception, bumblebees and robots, and then shared his ideas on how science is done: “Science is nothing more than a game.”