Most kids I’ve met are good scientists. They don’t know a lot, and when they see something new they research it either by a modified literature search (this would be the “why?” stage of child development) or direct experimentation or, more often, both. And then they revise their theory as necessary. This sometimes leads to hilarious results, but it is much much better than incurious jaded “everybody knows” attitudes that become more prevalent with age and supposed maturity.
What kids are not, usually, is schooled in the formalisms of publishing research. So I’m delighted to see that a couple adults not only helped these kids get published, but that they let the kids find a good question, test it, and report the results. This is, I am sad to say, one of the best-written science papers that I’ve read in months.
The Wired article:
8-Year-Olds Publish Scientific Bee Study.
The full paper, published by Biology Letters is available free online:
(The image, by the way, is by RAYWAL65, from this page: http://www.morguefile.com/archive/display/221277 )