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

Unattributed, Discover, Dec 28, 2010
Commentary by Stephen Downes

This story has been all over the web and even in traditional media over the last couple of weeks. In a nutshell, a class of eight-year-old children from Blackawton Primary School has published a study of bees in Biology Letters, an academic journal published by the Royal Society. Now all due scepticism cautions us to point out that the authors had the ample help and support of Beau Lotto, a neuroscientist at University College London and skilled self-promoter (hence his TED talk), and David Strudwick, Blackawton's head teacher. Still. The publication is the culmination of a project called 'i, scientist', designed to get students to actually carry out scientific research themselves. And that, not the gee-whiz publication, is the heart of the story. Children can and should contribute to real-world science, and moreover, this is the best way, in my view, to help them learn.
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