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Sarah Vinluan

EDUC 722-90-3

Lab Report Template (For Age Group 3-5)


Revised Lab Assignment #2: Piagetian Concepts

Conservation of Number - ​Coin Task (using M&Ms)


Hypothesis For this task, I predict the child to say that the row of objects that is
(What do you physically longer has the greater amount.
expect?)
Procedure For this task I used M&M candy instead of coins. Before beginning
(How did you this task, I separated the M&Ms by color. Below is the list of the
interview the steps in my procedure:
child?) 1. I made two identical rows of M&Ms, each row had 8 pieces
of candy.
2. I asked the child if each row had the same amount.
3. Next, I told her to watch as I began to spread out the top row
of M&Ms. The top row of candy was now longer than the
second row.
4. I asked her if the two rows have the same amount of candy
and then asked for her reasoning.

I decided to try this task again but make the top row shorter and
closer together instead of longer. I put out new, different colored
M&Ms and made two identical rows of 10 pieces each.
1. Once again, I asked the child if each row had the same
amount.
2. Next, I began to bring the top row of M&Ms closer together
so it was shorter than the second row.
3. I asked her if the rows still had the same amount of candy.
When she gave her answer, I asked her how she got that
answer.

Result During the first part of the task, when I asked if each row had the
(How did the child same amount, the child counted each row of 8 pieces and said it
respond) was the same.

After spreading out the top row to make it longer than the second
row, the child pointed to the top row and said there was more.
When I asked how did she know that, she said because that row was
longer.

When I tried the task again and made the top row of M&Ms shorter
and closer together, instead of longer. When I asked her if the rows
still had the same amount she said that the bottom row has more
because this time that is the row which is longer.

Analysis From the child’s responses, my hypothesis was correct. I noticed


(What do the that she relies on noticing which row has a greater amount based on
responses tell you the row’s length. When the top row of candy was longer, she said it
about the child’s had more. When I switched it and made the top row shorter than the
thinking?) bottom row, she said the bottom row had more because it was
longer.
Based on this observation, I can tell that she focuses on the static
states of objects and does not take into consideration
transformations. This child is looking at the end product or position
of the objects.

Conservation of Length ​- Rod Task (using chopsticks)


Hypothesis When one of the rods are shifted to the side, I think that the child
will say that it is longer than the rod parallel to it.

Procedure For this task, I used two chopsticks. I set the two chopsticks,
horizontally and parallel to one another, in front of the child. Then I
asked her if the chopsticks are the same length. After, I shifted the
top chopstick to the side so it was about 1 inch longer than the other
chopstick and then asked the child if they were still the same length.

Result When the chopsticks were directly parallel to one another, the child
said that they were the same length. After shifting one chopstick to
the side, the child said it was longer. When I asked her how she
knew that, she pointed to the end tip of the bottom chopstick and
said that it ended there and then she pointed to the end tip of the top
chopstick and said it was longer.

Analysis Based on the child’s answers and reactions, my hypothesis was


correct. I observed her comparing the end tip of the two chopsticks.
Since the tip of the top chopstick was farther out than the tip of the
bottom chopstick, she concluded that the top chopstick was longer.
Her reasoning was similar to the conservation of number task. She
focused on the static position of the end tips of the chopsticks and
didn’t take into consideration the transformation, or movement of
the one chopstick.
Conservation of Liquid ​- Water Task (using apple juice)
Hypothesis For this task, I predict that the child will state that the liquid in the
taller and skinner container will contain a greater amount.

Procedure For this task, I used 3 glass cups (2 of equal size and one taller,
skinner glass) and apple juice because it is easier to see in a clear
container compared to water.
I began with pouring equal amounts of apple juice in the 2 equal
sized glasses. Then I asked the child if one glass has more juice,
less juice, or if they both have the same amount of juice.
Then I asked her to watch as I poured one of the glasses of juice
into the taller, skinnier glass. After, I asked her if the two glasses
had the same amount of juice.

Result In the first part of this task, the child said that the apple juice in
each glass was equal. When one glass was poured into the taller
glass, she hesitated before answering but eventually said that the
taller glass had more. When asked why, she said because the apple
juice was higher in the taller glass.

Analysis In the child’s reactions, I noticed that she hesitated for a while
before answering which glass had more juice after being poured
into the taller glass. I think this is because she noticed that the juice
was the same amount a few minutes before in the other glasses but
now the juice level in taller in the skinny glass. During the time she
hesitated, I think she was debating if the juice was the same amount
but didn’t fully understand the transformation. Therefore, she fell
back on the same type of reasoning that she used for the number
and length conservation tasks and stated that the juice which had a
higher level in the glass was the greater amount.

Class Inclusion ​- using turtle and frog toy figurines


Hypothesis When asked if there are more turtles or animals in the group, I think
that the child will say that there are more turtles.

Procedures For this task, I used small animal toys in the shape of turtles and
frogs. Before beginning the task, I lined up 6 turtles and 4 frogs.
Then I asked the child if all the toys in this group were animals and
she said yes. I asked what kinds of animals they were and she said
turtles and frogs. Next, I asked her if there were more animals or
more turtles.
Analysis/Result When I asked the child if there were more animals or more turtles,
she spent about a minute thinking and then told me that there were
more turtles. I asked her how did she know that and she began
counting the turtles and then the frogs. She said she knew because
there are 6 turtles and only 4 frogs.

Critical thinking From her response, I came to the conclusion that in regards to
understanding class, this child can only focus on a single
dimension. She agreed with me in the beginning of the task that all
the toys were animals, but she was only able to focus on the fact
that they were turtles and frogs. She came to the conclusion that
there were more turtles instead of animals because when she
counted, there was a greater amount of turtles compared to frogs.

Seriation - ​using pipe cleaners of different lengths


Hypothesis I predict that the child will not be able to successfully rearrange the
pipe cleaners from tallest to shortest.

Procedures For this task, I used 5 straight pieces of pipe cleaners that were cut
at various lengths. I placed the pipe cleaners in front of the child.
They were arranged randomly in a row. I asked her rearranged the
pipe cleaners from the tallest to shortest.

Analysis/Result When I asked her to rearranged the pipe cleaners from tallest to
shortest, she happily said that she did this at school before with
blocks. She preceded to rearrange the pipe cleaners from tallest to
shortest. She seemed very confident with this task and completed it
correctly.

Critical thinking My hypothesis was incorrect. The child was able to successfully
complete this task. I think this is because she had arranged objects
by height before in school. Based on this, she is gaining an
understanding of relations.
Reflection
The child that I interviewed is a five and a half year old female. She is currently in
kindergarten at a public school. Based on her reactions from the Piagetian tasks, I came
to the conclusion that she is in the preoperational period and is developing typically for
her age. She understands relation and I predict that she will soon understand conservation
of liquid.
Before beginning my interview, I wrote down the steps to each piagetian tasks
and formed my hypotheses. My hypotheses were based on the textbook information
about children in the preoperational stage. Out of the five tasks, one of my predictions
were incorrect.
The first two Piagetian tasks that I conducted were the conservation of number
and length tasks. In the conservation of number task, the child relied on the length of the
row to determine which row had a greater amount. In the conservation of length task, the
child relied on the position of the end tip of the chopstick to determine which chopstick
was longer. In this task, she noticed that the tip of one of the chopsticks was farther to the
side compared to the other, so she concluded that it was longer. I noticed that she didn’t
focus on the starting points of the chopsticks.
Based on the child’s reactions and answers in the first two tasks, I came to the
conclusion that she focuses on the static states of objects, not their transformations.
Piaget theorized that this is one of the basic qualities in children’s thinking at this age
(Siegler & Alibali, 2005). In the conservation of number task, the child focused on the
static state of the candies before the transformation and after the transformation. She
treated them a separate occurrences instead of a single occurrence that went through a
transformation. The conservation of length task was very similar. She used similar
thinking to determine which chopstick was longer. This child did not take into account
that the objects could go through a transformation to change their appearance without
changing their amount or length.
The third task that I conducted was the conservation of liquid task. After pouring
one glass of apple juice into the taller and skinner glass, she hesitated for a while before
answering which glass had more. During this time, I think she was contemplating that the
juice in the taller glass was still the same amount because she just saw it poured from the
other glass, but I noticed she was struggling in determining her answer. In the end, she
said that the taller glass had more juice because the level of juice was higher compared to
the other glass. Based on her hesitation, I think that she might have considered the
transformation but it was difficult to understand so she fell back on the similar reasoning
that she used for the previous two tasks. This could be evidence that she is beginning to
take transformations into consideration and may soon understand conservation of liquid.
The fourth task that I conducted was the class inclusion task. I used small turtle
and frog toys. Before beginning the task, she agreed with me when I asked her if both of
the turtles and frogs were animals. When asked if there were more turtles or animals, she
said that there were more turtles. When asked how she knew that, she began to count the
6 turtles and 4 frogs. She believed that there were more turtles than animals because the
number of turtles were greater than frogs. Based on her answer, I concluded that this
child can only focus on a single dimension at a time. She only focused on the fact that
there were turtles and frogs, not that they were also animals. I think that this is because
the physical differences between the turtles’ and frogs’ appearances were more striking
and obvious than the fact that they were animals. This supports Piaget’s theory that one
limit of preschoolers thinking is that it centers on individual, striking features of an object
to the exclusion of less, striking features (Siegler & Alibali, 2005).
The final task that was conducted was the seriation task. When asked to arrange
the pipe cleaners from tallest to shortest, the child said that she has done this at school
before with blocks. Then she confidently arranged the pipe cleaners in the correct order. I
think that she has a good understanding of relation because she has practice with it at
school. ​This task is the one section of the interview in which I would like to re-do or
improve. Since the child was able to successfully and comfortably complete the seriation
task, I wish I had extended the task by giving her an additional pipe cleaner. This
additional pipe cleaners would be given at the end of the task, right after she arranged the
other pipe cleaners. The task would have been for her to insert this last pipe cleaner in the
correct spot. I believe that I would have learned more about her reasoning and
development from this seriation task if I extended it and made it more challenging for
child.
Lastly, from this experience I learned how important establishing rapport is
during an interview. Although I had met and interacted with this child a few time before
this interview, I was nervous about interviewing her because she doesn’t see me often
and I was worried that she would be shy. To help build rapport before the interview
began, I spent time talking to her about her school day and things that she liked. I also let
her play with some of the animal toys that I brought while I set up the tasks. I noticed that
this helped her to open up and become comfortable talking to me. For the tasks, I also
decided to use food items that she can eat and drink after, such as the apple juice and
M&M candies. I hoped that this would give her something to look forward to after
completing the tasks and would keep her more engaged. This seemed to work as she was
happy to have a snack after we finished the interview.
References

Siegler, R. S., & Alibali, M. W. (2005). ​Children's Thinking​ (4th edition). Upper Saddle
River, NJ: Prentice-Hall, Inc.