A month or so ago I met the UCL neuroscientist, Beau Lotto, in the Tangerine Tree Café in Totnes. Despite working in London he lives part of the week in Devon and we had a fascinating and wide ranging conversation about his activities. He has made waves in Devon with his work with children at Blackawton Primary School. A group of 8-10 year old children worked under his tutelage to produce an original study of how bees forage for food. The children also wrote a paper that was published in Biology Letters. This extraordinary study is nicely described on Ed Yong’s blog (http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/notrocketscience/2010/12/21/eight-year-old-children-publish-bee-study-in-royal-society-journal/) and it has changed the way the children are taught science in the school. Following this, groups of children from several schools around the UK were brought together in the Science Museum in London to plan and do experiments and then return to their schools with the new ideas.
I would recommend you look at the Lotto Lab web site (http://www.lottolab.org/index.asp/) to get a feel for the breadth of Beau Lotto’s activities. These include another project at the Science Museum. Here he and Dave Strudwick, the former head of Blackawton School, have set up a “Living Lab” which is designed to draw in Science Museum visitors and get them to do experiments.
Overall Beau Lotto’s work is designed to show people that science is fun, science is like playing a game and science is all around us.
You can read more in my interview with Beau Lotto in the May edition of Devon life Magazine (https://philipstrange.wordpress.com/published-stuff/devon-life-magazine/).