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Сonserving number Essay

Custom Student Mr. Teacher ENG 1001-04 30 September 2017

Сonserving number

he purpose of this study was to investigate whether or not there were differences between 3 year old and five-year-olds in conserving number. The hypothesis was two tailed because the direction of the result could not be predicted. This study was a between subjects design because the age range was manipulated. The independent variable was the age group and the dependent variable was measuring their conservation skills. The experimental hypothesis was that there would be a significant difference between three and five year olds in conserving number.

The sample was that of opportunity. The results showed that there was no significant association between the age of the children and the ability to conserve number. The overall conclusion of this study was that children still do not have the ability to conserve number. Introduction Piaget viewed the child as a ‘lone scientist’ who sought to understand the world and build knowledge of the external world through direct interaction. Piaget believed that cognitive development depended upon two factors, namely internal maturation and external stimulation.

He regarded intelligence as a process, something, which changes overtime. It also represents an important means whereby human beings adapt to their changing environment. This process basically involves the individual attempting to construct an understanding of reality. Taking these factors into account, Piaget devised a four-stage theory of development spanning from birth to adolescence. The first stage was called the sensorimotor stage (0-2 yrs), secondly pre-operational (2-7 yrs), thirdly concrete operational (7-11 yrs) and lastly formal operational (11-15 yrs).

These stages progress in an invariant sequence, the child moves systematically through each stage and advancement depends upon the mastery of the previous one. According to Piaget, these stages are universal although there may be cultural or environmental determinants, which may help or hinder development. A main feature in the pre-operational stage is the notion of conservation, which Piaget defined as “the realisation that the quantitative attributes of an object (mass, weight, volume) remain consistent despite changes in physical appearance.

“1 There are many different types of conservation namely, liquid, volume and number. Piaget stated that there is the same amount of liquid in container A and B, but when the contents of B are poured into container C (which is taller), even though the child had seen the transformation take place, they stated that there was more in container C. Therefore, Piaget concluded that the child does not have the ability to conserve, either liquid, weight or volume.

More importance will be given to the conservation of number, which is the focus of this study. Piaget found that the child usually thought that there were more counters in A because B is ‘longer,’ simply because they were placed further apart, despite having the ability to count. Piaget devised many such experiments and repeatedly obtained the same results, therefore he concluded that similar to liquid, weight and volume, children in the pre-operational stage did not have the ability to conserve number either.

Porpodas (1987) provided an additional explanation to Piaget’s theory and felt that the inability to conserve could be explained in terms of the child forgetting he predicted that the experimenter might interfere with the child’s short-term memory. He used three conditions, the first one was the traditional, secondly he used one question and the last condition was a question with interference. He found that the interference task produced the worst performance. Consequently, he concluded that the inability to conserve could sometimes be related to interfering with the information stored in the short-term memory.

Another alternative to Piaget’s method was introduced by McGarrigle and Donaldson (1974) they used the Naughty Teddy in an attempt to overcome the problem of the children believing that they must change their answer when asked the second time round. Their procedure begins in the usual way, up to the point where the child agrees that there is an equal number of counters in the two rows. Then Naughty Teddy rearranges the counters and supposedly confuses the experimenter; this then allows the experimenter to ask the second question without inferring that a change of answer is required.

However, Light et al (1979) criticised the Naughty Teddy technique for forming an additional distraction from the child concentrating on the transformation. Consequently, Light created an incidental condition whereby five and six years olds were tested in pairs. In the standard condition, they watched as two similar beakers were filled using pasta shells when the children said both were same, the experimenter transferred the contents into much larger beakers, the children were asked to judge once again.

Results showed that 5% of the children conserved in the standard condition compared to 70% in the incidental condition. This shows that maybe Piaget underestimated a child’s ability to conserve but merely needed a bit more investigation. This experiment is designed to answer whether or not children have the ability to conserve number. The type of conservation used in this experiment was that of number. The technique used in this experiment was similar to that of Light’s. Essentially, this study expanded on Piaget’s original work on conservation by comparing and contrasting the performance of three and five year olds.

This particular age is used because it is believed that this is a crucial point in a child’s life, it also gives an indication of the child’s ability. The experimental hypothesis was that there would be a significant difference between three and five year olds in conserving number. Method Participants All participants used in this study were from Tots in Action (Private Nursery) Birmingham. There were a total of fourteen participants used, seven three year olds and seven five year olds. In the three-year-old condition, there were 3 females and 4 males.

In the five-year-old condition, there were 4 females and 3 males. Participants were randomly chosen from the list who were given parental consent (see appendix 2). Children were neither rewarded nor punished and had a right to withdraw at any time. Materials Large colourful cubes were used in order to measure their number skills; these were used for safety reasons due to the age of the children. The results were recorded on paper, which had grids on it (see appendix 4 ) to see if the child got the right or wrong answer on different scales.

Again, for the safety of the child, pencils were used to write the results down. Design This study was a between subjects design because the age range was manipulated. The independent variable was the age group and the dependent variable was measuring their conservation skills. The experimental hypothesis was that there would be a significant difference between three and five year olds in conserving number. Procedure Firstly, the cubes were set approximately 1 inch apart (A), with another line of cubes set 3 inches apart (B).

Then the child was called randomly from the list who were given parental consent. Next the child was shown the cubes and was asked if there were more, less or the same amount of cubes in the first or second line. The child’s answer was recorded, then the experimenter moved B further apart until each cube was approximately 6 inches apart (C). The child was asked again if there were more, less or the same amount of cubes, the answer was recorded. Then the cubes were put back to their original places as the next child was called. This procedure was repeated fourteen times, once for each child.

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  • University/College: University of Chicago

  • Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter

  • Date: 30 September 2017

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