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More about Smart Kids

Monday, January 10, 2011, 23:31 EDT Leave a comment Go to comments

When I posted last week about the Canadian girl who discovered a supernova, I had forgotten about a similar story I had bookmarked to blog about later. This one is from England.

A group of British schoolchildren may be the youngest scientists ever to have their work published in a peer-reviewed journal. In a new paper in Biology Letters, 25 8- to 10-year-old children from Blackawton Primary School report that buff-tailed bumblebees can learn to recognize nourishing flowers based on colors and patterns.

[ . . . ]

After a learning trial in which the bees overwhelmingly chose the sugar-bearing “flowers,” the students took the sugar water away to see if the bees would still go for the previously rewarding circles. The bees chose right 90.6 percent of the time, the kids reported.

The students then designed follow-up experiments to try to understand how the bees chose correctly. They built a similar setup with green flowers in the center to see if the bees used spatial patterns and ignored color. Most of the bees seemed confused and chose randomly, but two went straight to the green, central flowers.

The children’s paper is available online.

Kids are much smarter than most adults give them credit for. Encourage them to aim high and they will show you just how smart.

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