PIAGETIAN TASK OBSERVATION

Complete this task with a preschool aged child (3 - 5), a younger primary grade child (grade k - 2) and an older primary/intermediate grade child (grades 3 - 5)

Complete at least 3 different tasks with each child.

A.    Conduct the 3 Piagetian tasks with 3 different children (see above).  RECORD your actions, statements, and the child's responses and actions.  Hint:  setting up a chart/table with spaces for you to record can be helpful to make sure you follow the protocols correctly.

B.    For each child, for each task, determine what stage of conservation the child seems to have achieved (preconserver, tranisition, conserver).  Give a rationale for your choice that is based on the child's actions/responses to each task.

You should have a minimum of 3 children, 3 tasks each, with an assessment of the child's performance of each tasks.  Section A does NOT have to be typed/word-processed; Section B does.  I will also assess Section B on writing mechanics.

Grading:  50% -- follow the protocol correctly and record the data.  You will lose points for not completing each step for each task.  50% - your assessment of the child's conservation stage and the rationale you use to justify your assessment.  

STEPS FOR EACH TASK - to be followed completely and in order.

1.  Physically set up task.  Provide a "story" to go with the task.

2.  Assure the child establishes equivalence -- sees properties of both as equal.

3.  Rearrange one using the story.

4.  Ask the child do both have the same amount now or does one have more?  How do they know that?

5.  Go back to the original set up and re-establish equivalence.

5.  Rearrange the other in a DIFFERENT manner; use the same or another story.  Ask they child are both the same or does one have more now?

6.  Provide a response to the OPPOSITE of how the child originally responded - ask the child if the "other" child was correct and why/why not.

7.  Reestablish equivalence.

TYPES OF TASKS:

conservation of matter -- for example, clay balls  (start as balls, then change to pancakes, snakes, or multiple smaller balls)

conservation of number - 2 sets of 7 familiar items (move closer together and further apart)

conservation of liquid -  colored water in the same and different containers

conservation of length -- equal lengths of string or ribbon

conservation of area -- area covered by other objects (for example -- 2 equal sized pieces of green construction paper to be the "grass" and blocks/leggos as barns)

conservation of weight -- need a weight or balance for this one -- take two balls of clay that weigh the same, change shapes -- does weight change

conservation of displacement -- two clay balls same size, two large containers of water -- changing the volume (shape) of the object is what displaces volume -- not its weight or position

CONSERVATION STAGES

PRECONSERVER -- consistently centers on only one dimension of the situation;  perception guides thinking rather than logic.

TRANSITIONAL THINKER - is inconsistent, may be swayed by having answer challenged, may conserve in first example but not the second

CONSERVER - consistently able to conserve and provide logical and accurate reasons for answers

(developed from E. Labinowicz.  (1980).  The Piaget Primer: Thinking, learning, teaching.  Menlo Park, CA: Addison-Wesley.

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