Did you know there are around 250 different species of bees in the UK?
Neither did we, but now we’re looking at bees in a whole new way since talking with Professor Dave Goulson at the University of Sussex.
We’ve always been interested in developing a kit, or something that families can go away and do together as a their own mini scientific study. Recently we produced a small piece of research for the Royal Society looking at how schools manage and value their interactions with parents. We’ve always known how important family learning is (or at least the openness to learn within families) and doing this research showed us that although there is robust evidence of the benefit families learning together in numeracy and literacy, there isn’t as much when it comes to doing science together.
This got us thinking – what about plants? Families could do a mini scientific study on plants as they are longitudinal (as long as you keep them alive) and accessible.
We presented this idea to the local Women’s Institute group who were willing to give us their thoughts on the concept, for which we are very grateful. The feedback was that there is an appetite for open-ended science activities that they can do with the children in their lives, but it needs to be something that they themselves are happy to get to grips with.
This led us to the Buzz Club run by the University of Sussex. Buzz Club run a series of citizen science projects that ask the public to capture field data about our pollinating insects. Together we’ve been looking at the possibility of asking families to pollinate strawberry plants with hand-made artificial bees to help show how pollination works and why it’s important. Hopefully this is an idea that we can create a real ‘buzz’ about next summer – and everyone gets to eat strawberries which can’t be bad.