A group of students from Stafford has made it through to the finals of a national science and engineering competition with its project, Plan Bee.
Einstein may or may not have said ‘If the bee disappeared off the surface off the globe then man would have only four years of life left.’
Either way, it’s a fact that a third of the UK’s bee population has disappeared over the past decade and 24% of Europe’s bumblebees are being threatened with extinction. It’s time to do something about it.
Luckily, Generation Z is on it: a group of Year 11 girls from Stafford in the West Midlands is using skills in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) to try and help the bees.
The team – Saskia Conoghan, Taiah Hay and Isobel Wenlock from Walton High School – worked on a project named Plan Bee, which has got through to the finals of The Big Bang UK Young Scientists & Engineers Competition.
The aim of the project was to find out which plants bees were most attracted to and were the best for them to pollinate, so that they could inform and encourage the public on what they should be planting in their gardens.
To do this, they fully dissolved a sample of honey and analysed the solution through a microscope, looking at where pollen grains had originated. They then created an informative leaflet that will be sent to houses in the area, explaining why it is important to support the bees and what people can do to help.
The team commented: ‘The concept for our project originated from our school’s beehives. Production of honey had been low this year, so we really wanted to find a way to boost their production. We were aware that to help our bees we needed to establish what their favourite flowers were and how we could help provide more food for them.
‘We chose to do this project as we feel that people are misinformed and don’t understand the true importance bees have in our every day lives.’
‘Plan Bee is a brilliant example of how young people today are working on how they can make a positive difference to the future and we’re excited to see how they will do at UK finals at The Fair.
‘Going into its 12th year in 2020, The Big Bang Fair continues to be a great source of STEM inspiration for young people, representing an amazing opportunity for young visitors, their teachers and parents to get hands-on with a wide range of activities, workshops and shows, and engage in meaningful career conversations with professionals, all designed to bring classroom learning to life and inspire the next generation.’
Chief executive, EngineeringUK
The group will attend the competition finals, which will take place at The Big Bang Fair at Birmingham’s NEC in March 2020. Here, they will vie for top prizes including the coveted title of GSK UK Young Engineer and GSK UK Young Scientist of the Year.