Psychology in Action

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Active Learning Activity 9.7 - Understanding Piaget An understanding of Piaget's four stages of cognitive development is essential to the mastery of Chapter 9. One way to increase your students' knowledge, is to devote class time to the practice of this skill. The following test provides important practice opportunities. Time: Approximately 20 minutes. Instructions : Xerox copies of the "Piaget Test" and briefly review Piaget's four stages of cognitive development. Divide the class into groups of 3-4 students. Pass around copies of the "Piaget Test" (Handout 9.7) and encourage the students to answer all questions as quickly as possible. Ask someone in each group to raise their hand as soon as the test is completed, and have the winning group come to the front of the room to read and discuss their answers. Answers for the Piaget Test 1. The child is in the pre-operational stage. 2. Since the child is in the pre-operational stage and lacks conservation, he believed that the spreading of his food represented an overall increase in the amount of the disliked food. 3. Janie is in the sensorimotor stage and has recently developed object permanence. 4. Tom is in the formal operational stage, and his inconsistency is explained by "adolescent egocentrism" which often results in heightened hypocrisy. 5. The older child is in the concrete stage of development, while the younger child is pre-operational. (While reading this example of the aunt giving two boys three cookies, bright and witty students will often ask "What is the aunt's stage of development?" You might want to prepare a good response or let them have the fun of "catching" you.) Active Learning Activity 9.8 - Adults and "Lower" Stages of Development Instructor’s Resource Guide                               Chapter 9                                            Page  33                             
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The role of specific experiences and training in Piaget's stages can also be illustrated by asking students to describe "embarrassing" moments with learning a new skill. Adults often begin at the sensorimotor stage and work their way through pre-operational, concrete, and on to formal stages within a short period of time. Occasionally we meet with obstacles based on our lack of experience and development. One of our students once described a wonderful "concrete" example of her "friend" who was a college graduate with little experience with cooking. This friend was attempting to make meringue for a pie and since the recipe called for "6 separated eggs," she opened the eggs and put each in a separate cup. She then called the student for advice on what to do next. Ask your students for examples of their own experiences. Also ask students for stories from their childhood or their own children for Piaget's stages. They are generally happy to volunteer.
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  • Developmental Psychology, Resource Guide                                Chapter

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