Report on Piaget’s Conservation Tasks

Cognitive skills are individuals’ ability to think, give opinion, comprehend,
memorise events that occur in the surroundings. It involves mental activities like
memory, categorizing, planning, reasoning, problem solving, creating, imagining
etc. Cognitive skills are crucial for the individuals’ survival.
Children’s’ cognitive development give emphasis on developing a child’s
mind. It focuses on the changes in thinking that takes place from one stage to the
next. Jean Piaget identified four stages of Cognitive Development::
1. Sensorimotor Stage (From birth-2years old)
2. Preoperational Stage (2 – 7 years old)
3. Concrete Operational Stage (7 – 11 years old)
4. Formal Operational Stage (11 years and above)
Therefore, Jean Piaget conducted various tests of cognitive ability to
understand the perspective of children. Among the tests often used when testing
the cognitive abilities of children is conservation experiment. Conservation is the
conceptualization that the amount or quantity of a matter stays the same
regardless of any changes in an irrelevant dimension. It is also something that
had created considerable confusion during earlier stages, and which means the
amount or quantity of matter remains the same, despite changes made in its
outward appearance. Thus, even though the distribution of matter changes
nonetheless conserves its properties. According to Piaget, conservation
structures cannot be induced through direct instruction (teaching) or
reinforcement techniques. Active experience is the key. The following are the
different Conservation Tasks developed by Jean Piaget and his co-workers to
assess children’s level of conceptual development and their level of attainment
with respect to the concepts involve.
1. Conservation of Number
Number is not changed despite the rearrangement of objects.
2. Conservation of Length
The length of a string is unaffected by its shape or its displacement.
3. Conservation of Liquid Amount
The amount of liquid is not changed by the shape of its container.
4. Conservation of Substance(Solid Amount)
The amount of substance does not change by changing its shape
or by subdividing it.
5. Conservation of Area
The area covered by a given number of two-dimensional objects is
unaffected by their arrangements.
6. Conservation of Weight
A clay balls weighs the same even when its shape is elongated or
7. Conservation of Displacement
The volume of water that is displaced by an object depends on the
volume of the object and is independent of weight, shape, or
position of the immersed object.

The following are Piaget’s Conservation Tasks conducted in school during
the School-based Experience (SBE) to test the cognitive abilities of 3 selected
students between the ages of 5-12 years old.

Task carried out for the 9 year old student:
Task 1:
1. 2 rows of erasers were shown to the student as the follows:

2. The student was asked whether the number of the erasers in each row was
the same.
3. The first row was lengthened right before the children as shown below:

4. The student was asked the same question.

Task 2:
1. Two similar pens were arranged as shown below:

2. The student was asked whether the length of the two pens was the same.
3. Next, one of the pens was moved to the right as shown below:

4. The same question was posted to the student.

Task 3:
1. A and B glasses were filled with the same amount of water.
2. Water from B was poured into C which was taller and thinner.
3. The student was asked whether the amount of water in A and C was the

Analysis of the Finding:
Stage of
Task Finding

Years Old)
1 The student answered correctly. He was able to
conclude that the number of erasers was still the
same even though the first row of erasers was
lengthened. He said that the number of the
erasers was the same because there were no
erasers added or deducted.
2 The student answered correctly. He was able to
conclude that the length of the two pens was still
the same even though one of the pens was
moved to the right. He said that the length two
pens was the same because they were similar.

3 The student answered correctly. He was able to
conclude that the amount of water in A and C
was the same. He said that the level of water in
glass C was higher because glass C was thinner
and taller.
From the finding, it can be concluded that children at Concrete
Operational Stage are able to think logically about concrete objects. They have
understood the process of transformation, reversibility and reasoning. According
to Piaget, children at this stage are able to solve problems relating to
conservation. Children of this stage are able to master three basic aspects of
reasoning in conservation:
 Identity. They should know that when nothing is added or taken away, the
objects remain the same.
 Compensation. They should know that changes in one direction can be
compensated for by a change in another direction.
 Reversibility. Children can mentally cancel out the change that has been
Therefore, the student was able to answer correctly for the three tasks