Who is Jean Piaget?

Today’s post is all about Jean Piaget and his theory on how children learn.

Jean Piaget is a renowned psychologist in the early 1920s who spent most of his life studying and researching on the cognitive development of children. His interest in this field began when he was at Grange-Aux-Belles Street School for Boys in France. While marking intelligence tests there, he realized that young children consistently made types of mistakes that older children or adults don’t.

He then proposed a theory (Theory of Cognitive Development) that intellectual growth happens in a process of adaptation to the world. This process happens through 3 stages, namely Assimilation, Accommodation and Equilibration.

Assimilation refers to the use of existing schema (knowledge) to deal with a new object or situation. For example, younger children might point to a cat and call it a “dog”. To them, all four-legged furry animals are classified as “dogs”.

The next stage of learning would be accommodation. This happens when existing schemas (knowledge) does not work and needs to be changed to fit the new situations. Going back to the “dog” incident, parents would then explain to the child why a cat is not a dog even though they may look the same. The child would then alter his/her schema to better fit a standard concept of “dogs”.

Equilibration, as defined by Piaget, is the driving force behind cognitive development. When new information cannot match with existing schemas, we feel frustrated (disequilibrium). This motivates us to seek to restore balance by overcoming the new challenge (to look for answers).

This theory, when applied to education, revealed that children learn through discovery learning, which means learning by doing and actively exploring. So parents, you have every opportunity to guide your child in learning. For a lesson on basic arithmetic facts, you may consider to bring your child out to do grocery shopping with you, allow him/her to calculate the prices and check out at the cashier. For a lesson on characteristics of insects, you may want to go out in the fields for a bug hunt!

This theory also shows that children also learn when they are presented with useful problems that create disequilibrium in them. The more a situation intrigues them, the more motivated they would be to understand and resolve the disequilibrium. However, it is important that problems presented are age appropriate and that your child is guided through resolving his/her disequilibrium. An age appropriate problem ensures that the child is able to resolve the disequilibrium, gain learning success and motivation for learning!

References
McLeod, S. A. (2009). Jean Piaget | Cognitive Theory. Retrieved from http://www.simplypsychology.org/piaget.html

Enhance Effective Learning with Improved Auditory Attention

Auditory Attention is the ability to attend (listen) to information presented aurally. This is an important skill that would enhance effective learning when improved.
Some behaviour manifestations that are observed in children with weak auditory attention is the inability to stay focused in class and follow auditory instructions/directions.

Continue reading Enhance Effective Learning with Improved Auditory Attention

Kids just want to have fun (even on rainy days!)

The monsoon season is here again! Cracking your brains to think of activities to occupy your kids? Fret not! We’ve compiled a list of 10 exciting activities (or DIY Projects) that you and your little ones can have a whale of time with! *Pictures are owned by the respective sites that the activity was taken from, other pictures are credited respectively.

DIY Laser Beam Obstacle Course (Taken from Molly Moo)

This is a brilliant activity that helps stave off the gloominess of a rainy day and get your kids movin’ like little James Bonds! This activity works mainly on gross motor skills and evaluation skills (planning the next move!)

All you need is a ball of red wool and some tape…
To credit: http://mollymoocrafts.com/rainy-day-project-2/
Miniature Sites (Taken From At Home With Ali)

This activity would probably take an entire day to complete, but the end product would definitely be worth the while! This activity works on fine motor skills (preparing the miniature items) and relational skills (deciding relevant things to put in the miniature site)

For a more detailed step-by-step procedure, do visit their website!

You could make a miniature garden, playground or forest too!

Some ideas for materials:
– Dyed rice as sand
– Bottle cap as pond
– Shredded green plastic as trees
– Satay stick as trunk

To credit: http://www.athomewithali.net/2012/01/miniature-campsite.html

Tea Box Circus Train (Taken From Mer Mag)

Make a train set out of tea boxes and cereal boxes (for larger trains)! Step-by-step instructions are available on the website. This activity helps to improve fine motor skills (sticking and cutting) and builds on creativity (decorating the train with recycled items)

These boxes could be used for storage purposes too!

Newspaper Forts (Taken From Modern Parents Messy Kids)

Ideal activity for boys aged 7 to 11. You would only need newspaper and masking tape for this project! This works on the child’s logical thinking skills (how the fort should be formed) and fine motor skills (to tape the newspaper together).

To credit: https://modernparentsmessykids.com/play/

Producer for a Day
Get your child to write, direct, act and produce a TV show or a movie! All you need is a video camera (phone video function works just fine!) and some props! Challenge your child to make DIY props for his/her own show!

This activity works on the child’s creative skills (coming up with a plot, creating DIY props), language skills (the ability to put his/her thoughts into words) and sequential skills (creating a logical timeline for the story plot).

View the show together as a family at the end of the day, you’ll be in for some crazy laughter!

Marble Race!
Its like racing cars, except that its marbles instead of cars, swimming noodles instead of car tracks. All you need for this activity would be some swimming noodles (can be found in toys r us or swim stores). They look like this:
To credit: https://frugalfun4boys.com/lego-duplo-marble-run-stem-challenge/
Slice the noodles into horizontal halves and tape them together using duct tape.
Image Credit: x

Once done, you can attach them around the house (down the stairs, from a double decker bed down to the floor etc.)

Time how long it takes for each player’s marbles to reach the finish line! Or construct two tracks so that players can compete at the same time!

This activity works on visual tracking.

DIY Kaleidoscope (taken from Skip To My Lou)
This next craft is a tedious one… but your kids are sure to be bedazzled by the end product.
Step by step instructions are available on the website. This activity works on fine motor skills (put beads into kitchen towel roll).

Bake It!
A rainy day calls for some freshly baked goodies with a warm glass of milk! Bake (or cook a meal) together with your child and have him/her prepare the ingredients (works on arithmetic math). Spoonful.com has a list of child-friendly recipes perfect for such a day! So head over and pick your recipe here! Alternative, you can head over to Martha Stewart food for more child-friendly recipes!

Hide and Seek
No child grows up without playing hide and seek. Its a tradition… a prerequisite, even, for a complete childhood. Its not a tough feat to figure out where the kids are hiding, but play it up a bit and pretend that they are impossible to find! This game works on evaluation skills (where should I hide?).

Play in the Rain!
Playing in the rain is said to relieve stress and engage the child in different sensory experiences! So put on your rain boots with your child and enjoy the rain!

However, if there are lightning and thunders, do be cautious! Ensure that your child is also dressed appropriately (ponchos!) and that he/she doesn’t get too cold!

Enjoy a warm meal and snuggle in bed with a book after that!

Breaking Down Math Papers

For a number of children at ThinkersBox, Math is one subject that they just can’t seem to love. In this post, we would be breaking down the sections of Math papers and relating it to the skill set required to ace each section. In most Math exams, there a 3 sections to the paper, each requiring the use of a different skill set. Continue reading Breaking Down Math Papers

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