14/01/23

What do science and play have in common? Neuroscientist Beau Lotto thinks all people (kids included) should participate in science and, through the process of discovery, change perceptions. He’s seconded by 12-year-old Amy O’Toole, who, along with 25 of her classmates, published the first peer-reviewed article by schoolchildren, about the Blackawton bees project. It starts: “Once upon a time … “

Glossary

  • bond – a thing used to tie something or to fasten things together
  • intrinsic – belonging naturally; essential
  • zeal – great energy or enthusiasm in pursuit of a cause or an objective
  • epitome – a person or thing that is a perfect example of a particular quality or type

Think about it

Answer the questions below. 

  • What does Beau say about perception, information and the human brain? (1:39)
  • Why might it be problematic for people to see things differently? (2:13)
  • In what way can uncertainty be beneficial? In what way can it be dangerous? (3:03)
  • What is the evolution’s answer to uncertainty? Why? (4:06)
  • What was the aim of Beau’s experiment and why didn’t he and his team get funding? (5:15)
  • What was the question Amy and other kids wanted to explore? Why did it seem so interesting to them? (7:12)
  • What was the procedure? (8:06)
  • What was unusual about the paper which was written after the study was complete? (10:09)
  • What was the initial reaction of the editors of the scientific journal? (10:58)
  • What was the reaction to the paper once it got published? (12:34)
  • What is Beau’s idea of science? (14:20)
  • What does Amy say about the way she sees science?

 

Practice makes perfect

Fill in the blank spaces with the missing words.

Now here, I want to share the stage with someone quite special. Right? She was one of ________ young people who ________ involved in this study, and she’s now one of the youngest published scientists in the world. Right? She will now, once she comes ________ stage, ________ be the youngest person to ever speak ________ TED. Right? Now, science and asking questions ________ about courage. Now she is the personification of courage, because she’s going to stand up here and talk to ________ all. So Amy, would you please come up? (Applause) (Applause) So Amy’s going to help me tell the story of what we call ________ Blackawton Bees Project, and first she’s going to tell you the question that they came ________ with. So go ahead, Amy.

 

Fill in the blank spaces with the the verbs in brackets used in in the correct tenses.

The puzzle we came up with ________ (be) an if-then rule. We asked the bees ________ (learn) not just to go to a certain color, but to a certain color flower only when it’s in a certain pattern. They ________ (be) only rewarded if they ________ (go) to the yellow flowers if the yellow flowers were surrounded by the blue, or if the blue flowers were surrounded by the yellow. Now there’s a number of different rules the bees can learn to solve this puzzle. The interesting question is, which? What was really exciting about this project was we, and Beau, ________ (have) no idea whether it would work. It was completely new, and no one ________ (do) it before, including adults. (Laughter)The puzzle we came up with ________ (be) an if-then rule. We asked the bees ________ (learn) not just to go to a certain color, but to a certain color flower only when it’s in a certain pattern. They ________ (be) only rewarded if they ________ (go) to the yellow flowers if the yellow flowers were surrounded by the blue, or if the blue flowers were surrounded by the yellow. Now there’s a number of different rules the bees can learn to solve this puzzle. The interesting question is, which? What was really exciting about this project was we, and Beau, ________ (have) no idea whether it would work. It was completely new, and no one ________ (do) it before, including adults. (Laughter)

Explore it more

The Blackawton Bee Project

 

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