When asked to draw the water level in a glass tipped at a 45-degree angle, young children typically draw the water level as parallel to the top and bottom of the glass, rather than parallel to the true horizontal. What are the possible implications?
Children often transfer the experiences they have to their production when drawing or representing items. For the most part, when a child looks at a glass, the level of the liquid is parallel to the top and bottom of the glass, and so that memory is what children will use when drawing that glass, even if asked to draw the glass at an angle. It won’t have occurred to most young children that the level needs to stay parallel to the floor because of the effects of gravity. As children age, they go through a series of stages when it comes to complexity of drawing; for young children, proper representation of parallel lines in this sort of situation is a skill that they usually have not yet reached (Willats).
Performance in remembering a series of digits increases with age. What factors may cause this increase?
Series of digits are generally stored in immediate memory, or STM. Back in the nineteenth century, London teacher Joseph Jacobs developed a test using memorized digit spans to gauge memory capacity. He didn’t use the number seven, because it has two syllables. He found that at age 8, the average longest digit span was 6.6 digits, while at age 19, the average was 8.6 (Cardwell). As this capacity for short-term memory increases, so does the ability to store digit spans.
You have just received a “genius award” to develop and compare two experimental schools, one based on the theories of Piaget and one on the theories of Vygotsky. Indicate the age group that your schools will serve, and in 3 short paragraphs describe 3 ways in which the two schools will differ. Focus not just on WHAT you will do at each school, but WHY. In a fourth short paragraph, describe the measures you will use to compare the effectiveness of the two schools.
Piaget believed that patterns of thought and function followed the same four stages of development for every child. Vygotsky believed that each child’s thought development would differ, based on influences from the context in which the child grows up. What this means is that Vygotsky placed a much higher value on the ways that society influences children than did Piaget. As a result, my Piaget school will allow students to advance based on assessments that judge their level rather than advancing them by age. My Vygotsky school would use social-based assessments, as those generated through group learning activities.
Piaget believed that inventing or creating leads to understanding, and that children generate knowledge through the things that they do. Vygotsky believed that origin comes from social interaction. At my Piaget school, the fine art classes would allow for individual work time, while the Vygotsky school’s fine art classes would focus on collaborative work.
Finally, the Piaget school would allow for individually based instruction, while I would be tempted to use an open classroom model in the Vygotsky school, to maximize social inputs.
For assessment, I would develop a custom rubric to analyze creative products from both schools for complexity and depth, while also using norm-based standardized testing to ensure mastery of skills at an advanced level.
Examine the transcripts of interviews with Danny, aged 5 years 7 months, and twins Casey and Lee, aged 9 years 5 months, on the definition of life. Take the position first of a constructivist and then of a domain-specific knowledge-based theorist. In a few sentences each, describe what is developing in the years from 5-9, as illustrated in the interviews with these children. If it is not already clear from what you have written, summarize the ways in which Danny’s efforts to define the concept differ from those of the twins.
Danny’s answers show that he bases his knowledge on his own visual input. He sees movement and visibility as the primary signs of life, as shown by the cat as opposed to the wind or water. He knows that the cat moves more like he does than the wind does, but he can’t quite verbalize that knowledge yet. Casey has applied knowledge that he has gained about signs of life to the question (heartbeat, breathing), etc. and so he knows how to answer the question from a clinical perspective.
Cardwell, Mike. Psychology AS: The Complete Companion. New York: Nelson Thornes, 2003.
“Piaget vs. Vygostky.” Web. Retrieved 10 December 2011 from http://wizzley.com/piaget-and-
Willats, John. “How Children Learn to Draw Realistic Pictures.” Quarterly Journal of
Experimental Psychology Vol. 29 (3): 367-382.