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UK pupils publish paper in academic journal

Discussion in 'Jukwaa la Elimu (Education Forum)' started by Mallaba, Dec 27, 2010.

  1. Mallaba

    Mallaba JF-Expert Member

    Dec 27, 2010
    Joined: Jan 30, 2008
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    LONDON- A primary school science project has for the first time appeared in Biology Letters on Wednesday, which is an internationally recognized peer-reviewed academic journal.
    The research was undertaken by a group of pupils aged between 8 to 10 at Blackawton School in Devon, UK, who investigated the way that bumblebees see colors and patterns.

    The young scientists found evidence that bees are able to learn and remember cues based on color and pattern in a spatially complex scene, which is a significant advance in the field of insect color and pattern vision.
    "This paper represents a world first in high quality scientific publishing and I am proud that Biology Letters is supporting this highly innovative approach to science education", said Professor Brian Charlesworth, editor of Biology Letters, which is owned by the UK's Royal Society.
    The project was coordinated by Dr. Beau Lotto, a neuroscientist of University College London. He told Xinhua that the kids "have ownership of the project", which means they asked the question and then provided answer with experiments. Lotto trained the bees, offered some professional instruments in the field of studying bees, and transcribed the kids' words into text.
    However, the kids have no idea of past scientific literature in the field. Such kind of reference is a necessity for scientific papers these days. So two experts, Laurence Maloney of New York University in the US and Natalie Hempel de Ibarra of University of Exeter in the UK, wrote an accompanying commentary, which put the kids' findings in the scientific context for readers.
    The commentary agrees that the kids' work is a genuine advance in the field of insect color and pattern vision, which is generally poorly understood even for adult scientists. And the paper did successfully go through the process of peer review for publication in Biology Letters.
    "When I found out that we were publishing it in an adults' newspaper, it's like Wow, I am really proud of myself", said Misha, a boy in the group, who seems still unclear about the difference between the journal and a newspaper.
    "Our pupils devised, conducted and wrote up an experiment which resulted in genuinely novel findings, so they deserve to be published," said Dave Strudwick, Head of Blackawton School.
    "For some children they now see science as a 'great job' and something they continue to want to be," he added.