Kid Scientists Cause a Buzz

January 5th, 2011 by

Today, I’m taking a break from our regularly-scheduled programming to focus on reading and writing of a kind that we don’t normally feature on Kidsmomo: a scientific paper. And not just any scientific paper (not that I’m all that familiar with them personally), but one that was written by 8- to 10-year-olds in England!

When I read the news, I just thought it was so cool that I HAD to share it with you guys. It’s not everyday that a professional magazine publishes the work of kids — but that’s exactly what happened in this case! Recently, a journal called Biology Letters published a report that was authored by students at Blackawton Primary School, working with a scientist from University College London.

According to the journal’s website, “Biology Letters publishes short, innovative, cutting-edge research articles and opinion pieces, accessible to scientists from across the biological sciences.” Also, the kids’ report had to go through peer review before it was accepted for publication — and it totally got the seal of approval from all the actual certified scientists who read it. So that seems like a pretty big deal to me!

What’s the report about? I thought you’d never ask! It’s about… bees! (Hence my puntastic title for this post! [virtual bow for your virtual applause]) The students discovered that bees can learn and remember cues based on color and pattern — which their publishers called a “genuine advance” in the field of insect color and pattern vision! But I’ll let you read the students’ conclusion in their own words:

“This experiment is important, because, as far as we know, no one in history (including adults) has done this experiment before. It tells us that bees can learn to solve puzzles (and if we are lucky we will be able to get them to do Sudoku in a couple of years’ time).”

There’s lots more, if you want to read the whole report. But no pressure; instead, you can check out the article that first clued me in to this amazing accomplishment. Or… go out and find some bees for your own experiment! JUST KIDDING! (Please don’t do that. I don’t want your parents to sue Kidsmomo. Really.)

— Karen

Karen has been stung by bees three times. Maybe there’s a way to teach them to avoid any human who’s Karen-colored…

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Lightbulb diagram from DoubleM2’s flickr, attributed to the Brockhaus and Efron Encyclopedic Dictionary

Bee photo from masochismtango’s flickr

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