Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Got this news from somewhere.
The following is not my own writing:

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Eight-year-old children publish bee study in Royal Society journal

“We also discovered that science is cool and fun because you get to do
stuff that no one has ever done before.”

This is the conclusion of a new paper published in Biology Letters, a
high-powered journal from the UK’s prestigious Royal Society. If its
tone seems unusual, that’s because its authors are children from
Blackawton Primary School in Devon, England. Aged between 8 and 10,
the 25 children have just become the youngest scientists to ever be
published in a Royal Society journal.

Their paper, based on fieldwork carried out in a local churchyard,
describes how bumblebees can learn which flowers to forage from with
more flexibility than anyone had thought. It’s the culmination of a
project called ‘i, scientist’, designed to get students to actually
carry out scientific research themselves. The kids received some
support from Beau Lotto, a neuroscientist at UCL, and David Strudwick,
Blackawton’s head teacher. But the work is all their own.

The class (including Lotto’s son, Misha) came up with their own
questions, devised hypotheses, designed experiments, and analysed
data. They wrote the paper themselves (except for the abstract), and
they drew all the figures with colouring pencils.

It’s a refreshing approach to science education, in that it actually
involves doing science. The practical sessions in modern classrooms
are a poor substitute; they might allow students to get their hands
dirty, but they are a long way from true experiments. Their answers
are already known and they do nothing to simulate the process of
curiosity and discovery that lie at the heart of science. That’s not
the case here. As the children write, “This experiment is important,
because no one in history (including adults) has done this experiment
before.”

Read more (and don't miss the *video*) here
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End of 'not-my-own-writing'.

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