1 Jul 14

North Ayrshire students take part in the 'Big Bumblebee Discovery'

St Palladius Primary School in Dalry is one of hundreds of schools across the UK taking part in EDF Energy’s new mass participation citizen science experiment - The Big Bumblebee Discovery. The initiative is designed to address real scientific questions and inspire a new generation of science enthusiasts.

A group of P3 and P4 students from St Palladius Primary School visited EDF Energy’s Hunterston B Power Station to find out more about the experiment, and take a special tour of the site.

The Big Bumblebee Discovery, which EDF Energy is running in partnership with the British Science Association, will see students across the country act as real-life scientific researchers. Each school that has signed up will be given a plant of lavender, and students are being asked to monitor the different species of bumblebee they spot near it in their playground over the summer.

The experiment utilises a citizen science approach – the method of using a large number of public researchers, in this case school children, to each collect a sample of data. The hope is that by encouraging large number of individuals to pool their knowledge and efforts, data can be collected quickly and efficiently to help answer scientific questions.

Results will be used by researchers from the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology to map bumblebee numbers across Britain and what impact changing population numbers have on crop pollination.

Miss McKenna, Class Teacher, at Palladius Primary School, said: “The students really enjoyed their trip to Hunterston Power Station, and are now looking forward to taking part in the Big Bumblebee Discovery. It’s a great opportunity to get involved in a real-life science experiment, whilst getting close to nature and having fun along the way.”

The Big Bumblebee Discovery, is year one of The Great EDF Energy Experiment – a five year initiative launched in partnership with the British Science Association, which aims to inspire 100,000 children into science. It builds on EDF Energy’s long-standing commitment to education and aims to encourage children to think differently about STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) subjects by making them more engaging, approachable and relevant.

Campaign ambassador, science broadcaster and TV presenter Dallas Campbell said: “It’s great news that Palladius Primary School and so many other schools across the UK are taking part in the Big Bumblebee Discovery. Although young people are often inspired by science at a young age, by the time they get to secondary school they’ve already discounted it as a career option – meaning that fewer people are going on to study science in further education. The Great EDF Energy Experiment is a great way to ensure young people are inspired and excited by science and encourage them to see the opportunities it can hold for them in the future.”

In 2008, EDF Energy launched its award winning education programme, The Pod, which now has more than 18,500 registered schools and reached over 10 million school children. Likewise, launch partner the British Science Association, runs a number of successful education initiatives including CREST Star, which has been key to engaging primary children with science and encouraging positive opinions of STEM over the last seven years.

Other schools can still sign up to take part in the experiment by logging on to www.beediscovery.org.