8-10 Year Olds Research Published in Royal Society Journal
Posted on December 24, 2010 Comments (2)
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 children designed a Plexiglas cube with two entrances and a four-panelled light box in the middle. Each panel had 16 coloured lights, illuminated in clear patterns of blue and yellow. Each light had a feeder that dispensed either delicious sugar water or repulsive salty water. Once the bees had learned to drink from the feeders, the kids turned the lights on.
Some of the children’s questions when looking at what to discover using experiments:
What if… we could discover if bees can learn to go to certain colours depending on how sweet they are?
What if… we could find out how many colours they could remember?
Related: Playing Dice and Children’s Numeracy – Kids on Scientists: Before and After – Test it Out, Experiment by They Might Be Giants – What Kids can Learn – Tinker School: Engineering Camp – Teen diagnoses her own disease in science class
And some of their comments:
“When can we do the bees again?”
“That was brilliant.”
“I don’t get it.”
To that end, he asked four independent experts in vision to review the paper, and only one questioned its scientific merit. That helped to convince Chris Frith, an editor for Biology Letters. Frith agreed to publish the work after soliciting four more reviews (all positive) and the commentary from Maloney and Hempel.