Piaget’s Tasks For 1 Running Head: Piaget’s Task For Pre-Schoolers

Piaget’s Task For Pre-Schoolers Sümeyra TAYFUR Fatih University, 2009

Piaget’s Tasks For 2 Abstract During middle childhood years, children’s cognitive abilities become more complicated and sophisticated.( Cardon & others, 1992 ) In Piagetian view a child who is ready for a formal education is in concrete operational stage.( Piaget, 1896 ) Before this stage, children can not think in a logical way.According to Piaget, the stage transition from pre-operational to concrete operational reasoning is a shift from reliance on perception to reliance on logic.( Butterworth G. , Harris M ,1994 ).In this study instructors applied some tasks on pre-schoolers. This paper will present how the problems about logical thinking give difficulties to children who are between 4 and 6 ages.

Key Words Piaget Conservation Of (mass, number, liquid, length ) Pre- Operational Stage Concrete Operational Stage Seriation Classification Animism Egocentrism Piagetian Tasks

Piaget’s Tasks For 3 Introduction Children in pre-operational stage relate to their world through symbolic reasoning magical though and continued sensorimotor activity. During pre-operational stage, children become capable of using language and mentally imagery. For the first time, the child is able to think about past and future event.( Kuther T. ,2001 ) Despite these abilities, Piaget noted the pre-operational child’s thought is characterized by several limitations. Such as; egocentrism, animism and lack conservation skills. In Piagetian view ; Egocentrism means “ the child’s inability to distinguish between one's own perspective and someone else's perspective" (Santrock, 204). Animism is the child's belief that things are alive or have human characteristics because they move or grow. (Santrock, 204). Classification means the process in which concrete operational children can group objects with some similarities within a large category and in Seriation process concrete operational children can arrange objects by increasing or decreasing size.Centration is the tendency to focus on one aspect of a situation and neglect others.( Piaget , 1896–1980 ) Conservation tasks require children to observe a transformation in physical quantities that are initially equivalent to reason about the impact of the transformation.( Kuther T., 2001 ) During pre-operational stage defined by Piaget, a child performs in a characteristic way on tests called conservation experiments. To conserve in Piaget’s terminology is to preserve internally or represent. The conservation experiments all require a child to demonstrate possession of some concepts, usually a concept that develops around the age of 5 to 7.( Dewey R. , 2007 ) This paper includes 9 different tasks about conservation, seriation, animism, centration, egocentrism and classification. Instructors applied these tasks to pre-schoolers and recorded the results. Problem In General The problem which is mentioned by this paper is the lack of pre-schoolers on logical thinking. Problems Specific To Tasks a) Task 1: Does conservation of number develop between ages 4-6? b) Task 2: Does conservation of mass develop between ages 4-6?

Piaget’s Tasks For 4 c) Task 3: Does conservation of liquid develop between ages 4-6? d) Task 4: Does conservation of length develop between ages 4-6? e) Task 5: Does seriation develop between ages 4-6? f) Task 6: Does classification-inclusion develop between ages 4-6? g) Task 7: Does classification-less/more develop between ages 4-6? h) Task 8: Does classification-centration develop between ages 4-6? i) Task 9: Do animism and egocentrism go on between ages 4-6? Method Participants There were 18 kindergarten students. Participants were selected from the students who are 4, 5 and 6 years old. 3 girls and 3 boys were chosen from each age group. Task 1: Conservation Of Number Materials For this task 14 piece of round shaped green carton were used.( r =1) Procedure The rounds were put on the desk in an order. They were matched in two lines. Participants were asked : “ Are there equal number of rounds on each line? ”

Children were made sure about there were equal number of rounds. Than instructors rearranged and spread the rounds on a more wide area and they asked “Do the rounds in this line remain same or they become less/more?”

Piaget’s Tasks For 5 Results
Table 1: Responses for the task “conservation of number” in relation to “age and gender” (N, %) Less Girls Age 4 5 6 Girl Boy s (N) s (N) 3 3 3 3 3 3 N 2 1 % 99 33 0 N Boys % 0 0 0 N 1 2 3 Girls % 33 99 100 N 3 3 3 More Boys % 100 100 100 N Girls % 0 0 0 N 0 Same Boys % 0 0

Children can not decide in a right way about conservation of number. Clearly they thought the rounds get more. Discussion Piaget’s test for conservation of number is described as two rows with same number of things (examples: coins, fruits, and candies that are equally spaced. Initially, young children knew these two rows had same number. Piaget said young children did not realize these two rows are still the same number because they confused and did not see what adults see that help them to understand the task. Piaget said the ability to understand this task is “ in the face of a perceptual change,” and the “young child tends to be fooled by the misleading perceptual appearance” (Flavell, Miller, 1993). Task 2: Conservation Of Mass Materials For this task two identical plasticene balls were used. Procedure Children were told that two plasticene balls were equal. Than instructor rolled one of the balls and asked the child “ Is the rolled one still equal to the other one or it become less/more?”

Piaget’s Tasks For 6 Result
Table 2: Responses for the task “conservation of mass” in relation to “age and gender” (N, %) Less Girls Age 4 5 6 Girls (N) 3 3 3 Boys (N) 3 3 3 N 1 % 33 0 0 Boys N 1 1 % 33 0 33 N 2 3 3 Girls % 66 100 100 More Boys N 2 3 2 % 66 100 66 N Girls % 0 0 0 Same Boys N % 0 0 0

None of the children could not notice that there is no change in the quantity of the shape. Discussion A child who is uncertain of his/her judgements (common in young children) is more likely to be affected by variables in the experiment, therefore there are inconsistencies in the results. The Children can not imagine that the rolled plasticene can be back into a ball and they can not conclude that the amount of plasticene is not effected by the change in appearance. Task 3: Conservation Of Liquid Materials One short and wide, two long glasses with same capacity. Procedure First, same amount of water were put the long glasses. The child was told the two glasses had same amount of water. After the child accept the statement, instructor transferred one of them to the short glass.

Than instructor asked “Now, is there same amount of water in each glass or the water in short glass is less/more?” Piaget’s Tasks For 7

Results
Table 3: Responses for the task “conservation of liquid” in relation to “age and gender” (N, %) Less Girls Age 4 5 6 Girls (N) 3 3 3 Boys (N) 3 3 3 N 2 3 3 % 66 100 100 Boys N 3 3 3 % 100 100 100 N 1 Girls % 33 0 0 More Boys N % 0 0 0 N Girls % Same Boys N 0 0 0 % -

Children can not differentiate that the amount of water in glasses was equal and in the short glass, there was same amount of water added transferred from long glass. Discussion According to Piaget’s explanation, children’s thinking is “perception bound” in preoperational stage and also they could not focus their attention on two aspects of the new glass, they were attentive only to one aspect which is that one glass is taller than the other two; they did not realize the taller glass had the same amount of liquid.( term-paper.us , 2005 ) Task 4: Conservation Of Length Materials 2 pieces of 5 cm sticks. Procedure The sticks were put on the desk like one under the other and instructors told the child that the sticks had same length. After the child accept the statement, the stick which is nearer to the child is moved to 2 cm away to the right by instructor.

Instructors asked, “ This stick has equal length with the other, or it became less/more?”

Piaget’s Tasks For 8

Result Table 4: Responses for the task “conservation of lengt” in relation to “age and gender” (N, %)
Less Girls Age 4 5 6 Girls (N) 3 3 3 Boys (N) 3 3 3 N % 0 0 0 Boys N % 0 0 0 N 3 3 3 Girls % 100 100 100 More Boys N 3 3 3 % 100 100 100 N Girls % 0 0 0 Same Boys N % 0 0 0

None of the children notice that the length of sticks did not change. Discussion Children in pre-operational stage, can not find the result to conserve length in easier way. Task 5: Seriation Materials 10 pieces of sticks were used. The shortest one was 5 cm and they get longer by 1 cm for each. The longest was 14 cm. Procedure The mixed sticks were put on the desk. Instructor told the child to order the stiks like stairway. And instructor asked child to pick the shortest for each of them and to choose the longer one for the previous one.

Piaget’s Tasks For 9

Results
Table 5 : Responses for the task “seriation” in relation to “age and gender” (N, %)

All true
Girls Ag e 4 5 6 Girls (N) 3 3 3 Boy s (N) 3 3 3 N 1 % 0 0 33 N 2 Boys % 0 0 66 N 3 3 2

Partially True
Girls % 100 100 66 N 3 3 1 Boys % 100 100 33

Children could not succeed the seriation. Especially children from 4 years old did not differentiate short and long. Discussion The children showed the ability to determine the shorter or longer. But in some cases some of the children ( some of older ones ) solve the problem. They totally determined which is longer for each stick. Task 6: Classification-Inclusion Materials Pictures of 3 strawberries and 8 apples were used. Procedure Instructor asked “Are there more apples or more fruits?” and “Are there more strawberries or more fruits?” Result
Table 6: Responses for the task “classification and inclusion” in relation to “age and gender” (N, %)
Question 1 Question 2

Apples
Girls
Age Girls (N) 3 3 3 Boy s (N) 3 3 3 N 3 3 3 % 100 100 100

Fruits
Girls
N % 0 0 0

Strawberries
Girls
Nr in % 0 0 0

Fruits
Girls
Nr 3 3 3 in % 100 100 100

Boys
N 3 3 3 % 100 100 100

Boys
N % 0 0 0

Boys
Nr in % 0 0 0

Boys
Nr 3 3 3 in % 100 100 100

4 5 6

Piaget’s Tasks For 10

The children did not understand the relation between apple and strawberry. All children said more apples in first part but they said more fruits in second part. Discussion Sorting objects according to two characteristics simultaneously is more and this ability may not appear until middle childhood. Piaget found that until the concrete operational period, children do not understand category and class relationships thoroughly.( Sternberg R. J., 2006 ) In one other test of children’s understanding about classification and hierarchical relations, Piaget showed children a picture containing seven tulips and four daisies and asked, “ Are there more tulips or more flowers?” A pre-operational 5-year-old would characteristically say “More tulips.” A child in the concrete operational stage would correctly reason that the class flowers contains the two subclasses tulips and daisies. Young children apparently have difficult time with this kind of problem because they are not used to thinking about objects in two different ways-say, as tulips and also as flowers( Wilkinson, 1976 ). Nevertheless, classifying objects conceptually seems to improve significantly in the concrete operational stage, not in pre-operational stage. Task 7: Classification-Less/More Materials A 50 kuruş and five 10 kuruş coins. Procedure Instructor kept 10 kuruş coins and gave the 50 kuruş to the child and asked “ Is your money much more than mine?” or “Is my money much more than yours?” Results
Table 7: Responses for the task “Classification according to size, unit and value ” in relation to “age and gender” (N, %)

Mine
Girls Ag e 4 5 6 Girls (N) 3 3 3 Boy s (N) 3 3 3 N 3 3 3 % 100 100 100 N 3 3 2 Boys % 100 100 66 N Girls

Your
Boys % 0 0 0 N 1 % 0 0 33

All of the children responded the questions with “ mine ”.

Piaget’s Tasks For 11 Discussion The children can not take account the value of coins in pre-operational stage. They think the big one is much more than the others. Task 8: Classification-Centrism Materials 8 pieces of blue round carton and 5 pieces of red round carton were used.( r =1 ) Procedure Instructor put the cartons on the desk. Than instructor asked “Are the red round more or the carton rounds more?” and “Are the blue rounds more or the carton rounds more?” Results
Table 8 : Responses for the task “centration” in relation to “age and gender” (N, %)
Question 1 Question 2

Red
Girls
Age Girls (N) 3 3 3 Boy s (N) 3 3 3 N 3 3 3 % 100 100 100

Carton
Boys Girls
N % 0 0 0

Blue
Girls
N 1 % 0 0 33

Carton
Girls
N 3 3 2 % 100 100 66

Boys
N % 0 0 0

Boys
N 1 % 0 0 33

Boys
N 3 3 2 % 100 100 66

N 3 3 3

% 100 100 100

4 5 6

The children could not understand the whole/part relationship. Discussion Children in pre-operational stage, have a limitation about centration. Piaget illustrated this by showing children a necklace of 10 wooden beads, of which 7 were brown and 3 white. When asked if there were more brown beads or more wooden beads, pre-operational children would usually answer that there are more brown beads, reflecting their inability to think simultaneously about a whole class ( wooden beads ) and a subclass ( brown beads ). Concrete operations children, on the other hand, can see the relationship between partr and whole: they are able to free themselves from some perceptual characteristics ( such as the colour brown ) and understand that two different characteristics are involved, one of which is subordinate to the other.( Zanden V. James , 1997 ) Piaget’s Tasks For 12 Task 9: Animism And Egocentrism

Procedure Instructor take the child to the garden. And asked “ Where is the sun?”, “ Is it alive?”, “ What is sun doing?” and “Why?” Results
Table 9 : Responses given by children to the question which are mentioned above Where is The Sun? Above to me Above to me Above to me Above to me Above to me Far away Far away Above the house In air Above Above Above At sky At sky Above us Among clouds Above us Above us Is it alive? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No No No No What it is doing? Shining Staying Walking Walking Shining Keeps us warm Spreadind-g light Heats me Heats me Heats us Heats air Heats air Heats us Heats us Heats us Heats world Heats Heats us Has a lot light To heat air Cause its daytime Weather isn’t cold Cause it is sun Not to be cold Not to cold us Weather is nice To heat air To keep us warm Sun is hot To heat us Very hot To heat us Why ? It is so shiny Don’t go

Piaget’s Tasks For 13

Table 10 : This table prepared according to the responses which are mentioned in Table 9 for the task “animism and egocentrism” in relation to “age and gender” (N, %)
Animism Egocentrism

The Sun is Alive
Girls
Age Girls (N) 3 3 3 Boy s (N) 3 3 3 N 3 2 1 % 100 66 33

The Sun is Not alive
Girls
N 1 2 % 0 33 66

Egocentric
Girls
N 3 3 % 100 100 0

Not Egocentric
Girls
N 3 % 0 0 100

Boys
N 3 3 % 100 100 0

Boys
N 3 % 0 0 100

Boys
N 3 3 % 100 100 0

Boys
N 3 % 0 0 100

4 5 6

Children were highly egocentric and in their statements animism was observed very often. Discussion According to Piaget( 1926 ), the pre-operational child’s thought is egocentric in nature. Before the age of 6 or 7 children have great difficulties with tasks about egocentrism. In Piaget’s view, animistic thinking is a consequence of the child’s tendency to think egocentrically. Animistic thinking declines during the pre-operational stage as children acquire a better understanding of the world.( Keenan T. ,Evans S. , 2009 ) General Discussion In Piaget’s theory, the period from 2,5 to 6 is known as the pre-operational stage, followed between 6 and 12 years by the concrete operational stage. The pre-operational period is a time during which children gradually acquire systematic, logical thinking. According to Piaget, the developmental task during the pre-operational period consists in organizing thinking into a system of mental operations. ( Butterworth G. , Harris M., 1994 ) Piaget argues that the child is dominated by the immediate appearance of things and, as a consequence, thought is pre-logical.

Piaget’s Tasks For 14 Conservation of number of discontinuous quantity can be assessed by presenting two sets

of objects in one-to-one correspondence, so the equality of the sets is apparent, then transforming one set by extending or compressing it.( Halford G. S. & Andrews G. , 2006) The child was misled by transformation, which made it appear that quantity or number had changed ( Bruner, Olver, & Greenfield, 1996 ) the child misinterpreted the words used in the test believing that “more” referred to height of the liquid or length of the row, rather than to quantity ( Donaldson & McGarrigle, 1974 ). Why this experiment so significant? It is in fact one in a series of demonstrations by Piaget, illustrating that conservation applies to a whole range of object qualities such as length, number, mass and volume. All show that the child’s thinking about the world has now moved from a reliance on perception to a reliance on logic. ( Ellis H. Carlton , Hunt R. Reed, 1993 ) All result shows that children in pre-operational stage can not think in a logical way. Children before age 7 can not as yet simultaneously take into account two features and will therefore be unable to understand that a change in the one is compensated for by a change in the other. Pre-operational child does not understand transformation. He simply compares the initial state and the final state without being concerned with transformation. Operational thinking develops only after the preschool stage and enables children to work out problems logically.

Piaget’s Tasks For 15 References

1.)Cordon & others, 1992 2.)Piaget J. , 1973 3.)Butterworth G. & Harris M. , !994 “ Principles Of Developmental Psychology ” 3th edition 4.) http://www.suite101.com/article.cfm/developmental_psychology/61828 Kuther T. , 2001 , “ The Mistakes YOung Children Make : Pre_operational Reasoning ” 5.) http://www.mc.maricopa.edu/dept/d46/psy/dev/Fall98/Ear_Chil/ErlyChild.html Santrock, 204 6.) http://www.psywww.com/intropsych/ch10_development/conservation_experiments.html Dewey R. , “ Psychology An Introduction ” , 2007 7.) http://www.free-essays-free-essays.com/dbase/3b/ems84.shtml Flavell, J.M., Miller, P.H., & Miller, S.A. (1993) “ Modification Of Piaget’s Conservation Tasks” 8.) http://www.term-papers.us/ts/gb/pnl247.shtml “ Piaget’s Conservation Tasks” , 2005 9.)http://books.google.com.tr/books?id=bLZyrZHd1QkC&pg=PA688&lpg=PA688&dq=bruner+olver +greenfield+1996&source=bl&ots=zaziiKFno7&sig=nuTK73YJdy5ZG8je_iNUOoxav8g&hl=tr&ei= 4uMoSsXqIYmS_QbRpLTsCg&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1#PPA689,M1 Bruner,Olver & Greenfield , 1996 10.) Donaldson & McvGarrigle ,1974 11.)http://books.google.com.tr/books?id=0PY4MIe0UisC&dq=thomas+keenan+an+introduction+to+ child+development&printsec=frontcover&source=bl&ots=WPGiKcMDv&sig=R81xI7qkXfivSQb4gLivEHl8Exk&hl=tr&ei=KuQoSuHsKoOB_AawpGCCw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1#PPP1,M1 Keenan T.& Evans S. , “ An Introduction To Child Development” , 2nd edition , 2009 12.) “ Handbook Of Child Psychology” , 6th edition , Volume Two: Cognition Perception And Language , Chapter 13 , Halford G. S. & Andrews G. , 2006 13.) “ Human Development” , 6th edition , Zanden V. James, The Ohio StateUniversity-1997 McGraw-Hill Publishing 14.) “Cognitive Psychology”, Sternberg J. R. , 4th edition , 2006 15.) “ Fundamentals Of Cognitive Psychology” , Ellis H. C. & Hunt R. R. , 5th edition , 1993

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