Start ’em young

December 22, 2010 § Leave a comment

Via Not Exactly Rocket Science, here is a link to a paper written by children aged 8 to 10, published in the Royal Society’s Biology Letters.  It describes original experiments probing how bees make decisions about which flower to go to, designed and carried out by the children with some assistance from a teacher and a neuroscientist at University College London.

What’s nice about this is that the children were clearly allowed to write what they wanted about their experiment.  An example from the discussion: “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)”.  They obviously had fun doing the work, and even had fun writing it up (one of the titles reads “(e) Training phase 2 (‘the puzzle’ … duh duh duuuuhhh)“).  Despite the informality of the language, there is no lack of clarity about what was done and why.

The paper is open access until the end of the year. Read it, and weep for your lost innocence…

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