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Bees Score Goals: Intermediate Level

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Translation Available: Spanish

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04/04/2017

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Bees Score Goals Transcript: Intermediate Level

This week’s news story takes us to London, England.

Recently, scientists at the Queen Mary University of London successfully trained several bumblebees to score goals by moving a ball into a hole on a special board. This experiment shows bees have strong problem-solving skills and how their thinking abilities are much more complex than humans originally believed.

Here’s how the experiment worked. In the first part of the experiment, scientists used a plastic bee attached to a stick to move a tiny yellow ball into the hole, as a real bumblebee observed. Then, in the second part of the experiment, scientists released the real bumblebee onto the playing field. Whenever the bee would successfully make a goal, it would get some sugar water as a reward. Soon, the bee learned to quickly push the ball into the goal every time.

Finally, in the third part of the experiment, the scientists released a few more bees onto the playing field. As the other bees watched the original bee make goals and get the reward, they learned to do the same thing. Then, when different colored balls were placed onto the field closer to the hole, the other bees realized they should push the new balls to get their reward quicker. This means the bees were able to learn both by using observation and by using their own independent thinking.

The results of this experiment show bees are smart enough to learn new tasks, even if those tasks aren’t things they would normally need to do in their natural habitats. Scientists believe these results demonstrate how if bees ever face new types of dangerous situations in the wild, they’ll be able to adapt and quickly pick up new survival skills.

Lesson Plan: Intermediate Level

Lesson Plan: Intermediate Level

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Task Sheet: Intermediate Level

Lesson Plan: Intermediate Level

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1

It is possible to train bumblebees to score goals by moving a ball into a hole on a special board.

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2

How did the experiment work?

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3

What conclusions did the scientists draw after analyzing their results?

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