Two weeks to starting the teaching experience with 2nd and 3rd grader.
The goal is to expose their young minds to challenges that encourage creative thinking and problem solving approaches.
To better prepare for my time with them, I look back at Piaget’s theory of cognitive development, and specifically to the Concrete Operational Stage. This is considered a major turning point in the child’s cognitive development, because it marks the beginning of logical or operational thought. The child is now mature enough to use logical thought or operations (i.e. rules) but can only apply logic to physical objects (hence concrete operational).
Children, around seven to eleven years of age, gain the abilities of conservation (number, area, volume, orientation) and reversibility. However, although children can solve problems in a logical fashion, they are typically not able to think abstractly or hypothetically.
Conservation is the understanding that something stays the same in quantity even though its appearance changes. To be more technical conservation is the ability to understand that redistributing material does not affect its mass, number, volume or length.
Classification is the ability to identify the properties of categories, to relate categories or classes to one another, and to use categorical information to solve problems. One component of classification skills is the ability to group objects according to some dimension that they share. The other ability is to order subgroups hierarchically, so that each new grouping will include all previous subgroups.
The cognitive operation of seriation involves the ability to mentally arrange items along a quantifiable dimension, such as height or weight.
Reversibility is an understanding or awareness that actions can be reversed. An example of this is being able to reverse the order of relationships between mental categories. For example, a child may be able to understand that her dog is a Great Dane, that a Great Dane is a dog, and that a dog is an animal.