# HELPING KIDS LEARN

HELPING KIDS LEARN

In writing an aerospace guide, there ought to be a rationale for selection and inclusion of specific subject matter and method. Part of the rationale for selection of topics and strategies in this guide comes from what science and ~aerospace educators deem important to aerospace concept development. Another part comes fronl what we know about how children learn.

According to Piaget and other learning theorists, children have their own ways of’ examining their' world and those ways can be described in somewhat defined stages. Teachers of junior high students, however, know that the range of abilities of students at the middle school levels covers a very wide span. Because the range may in fact reach from pre-primer to high school level, the authors have included information on the cognitive development of children from transition out of the Preoperational Stage, on their development in the Concrete Stage and on their development during the transition to the Formal Operations Stage. If the students in your classes are all primarily at level, you may wish to review Stage Three only,

Also, though in the past it has been generally accepted that children move to a level of abstract thinking at about the age of twelve, shortly before his death, Piaget proposed that the transition to formal operations may last until about the age of sixteen. This notion has been born out by data collected over the last decade.

Following is a detailed list of developmental behaviors taken from CHANGE STAGES 1 & 2 AND BACKGROUND (A UNIT FOR TEACHERS) published for the Schools Council by Macdonald Educational, London, England, 1973. It is included in the hope that teachers will be able to use the list to "spot" their own students' levels. Whether these students seem to be thinking on a higher or lower level, the list may aid the teacher in determining where these youngsters are developmentally and lessons can be modified to meet their needs. In addition, for those junior high students who may not be ready for some of the junior high materials, the teacher has the option of using the K - 6 materials of COME FLY WITH ME.

## ON DEVELOPING AN INQUIRING MIND AND A SCIENTIFIC APPROACH TO PROBLEMS

### STAGE 1 - Transition from Intuition to Concrete Operations Grades K, 1, 2

The characteristics of thought among children differ in important respects from those of children over the age of about seven years. The young child's thought has been described as "intuitive" by Piaget; it is closely associated with physical action‘ and is dominated by immediate observation. Generally, young children are not able to think about or imagine the consequences of an action unless they have actually carried it out, nor are they yet likely to draw logical conclusions from their experiences. At this early stage the objectives are those concerned with active exploration of the immediate environment and the development of the ability to discuss and communicate effectively; they relate to the kind of activities that are appropriate to these young children, and which form an introduction to ways of exploring and ordering observations.

Attitudes, Interests and Aesthetic Awareness

2. Willingness to handle both living and nonliving material.
3. Sensitivity to the need for giving proper care to living things.
4. Enjoyment in using all the senses for exploring and discriminating
5. Willingness to collect material for observation or investigation.

Observing, Exploring and Ordering Observations

1. Appreciation of the variety of living things and material environment.
2. Awareness of changes which take place as time passes.
3. Recognition of common shapes--square, circle, triangle.
4. Recognition of regularity in patterns.
5. Ability to group things consistently according to chosen criteria.

Developing Basic Concepts and Logica1 Thinking

1. Awareness of meaning of words which describe various types of quantity. .
2. Appreciation that things which are different may have common features.

Posing Questions and Devising Experiments or Investigations

1. Ability to find answers to simple problems by investigate
2. Ability to make comparisons in terms of one property or variable

Acquiring Knowledge and Learning Skills

1. Ability to discriminate between different materials.
2. Awareness of the characteristics of living things.
3. Awareness of properties which materials can have.
4. Ability to use displayed reference material for identifying living and nonliving things.

Communicating

1. Ability to use new words appropriately.
2. Ability to record events in their sequences.
3. Ability to discuss and record impressions of living and nonliv things in the environment.
4. Ability to use representational symbols for recording informat charts or block graphs.

Appreciating Patterns and Relationships

1. Awareness of cause-effect relationships.

Interpreting Findings Critically

1. Awareness that the apparent size, shape and relationships of things depends on the position of the observer.

Concrete Operations. Early Stages. Grades 1, 2, 3

In this stage, children are developing the ability to manipulate things mentally. At first this ability is limited to objects and materials that can be manipulated concretely, and even then only in a restricted way. The objectives here are concerned with developing these mental operations through exploration of concrete objects and materials--that is to say, objects and materials which, as physical things, have meaning for the child. Since older children, and even adults prefer an introduction to new ideas and problems through concrete example and physical exploration, these objectives are suitable for all children, whatever their age, who are being introduced to certain science activities for the first time.

Attitudes, Interests and Aesthetic Awareness

1. Desire to find out things for oneself.
2. Willing participation in group work.
3. Willing compliance with safety regulations in handling too1s and equipment.
4. Appreciation of the need to learn the meaning of new words and to use them correctly.
5. Awareness that there are various ways of testing out ideas and making observations.
6. Interest in comparing and classifying living or nonliving things.
7. Enjoyment in comparing measurements with estimates.
8. Awareness that there are various ways of expressing results and observations.
9. Willingness to wait and to keep records in order to observe change in things.
10. Enjoyment in exploring the variety of living things in the environment.
11. Interest in discussing and comparing the aesthetic quaiities of materials.

Observing, Exploring and Ordering Observations

1. Awareness of the structure and form of living things.
2. Awareness of change of living things and nonliving materials Recognition of the action of force.
3. Ability to group living and nonliving things by observable attributes.
4. Ability to distinguish regularity in events and motion

Developing Basic Concepts and Logical Thinking

1. Ability to predict the effect of certain changes through observation of similar changes.
2. Formation of the notions of the horizontal and vertical.
3. Development of concepts of conservation of length and substance.
4. Awareness of the meaning of speed and of its relation to distance covered. °

Posing Questions and Devising Experiments or Investigations

1. Appreciation of the need for measurement.
2. Awareness that more than one variable may be involved in a particular change.

Acguiring Knowledge and Learning Skills

1. Familiarity with sources of sound.
2. Awareness of sources of heat, light and electricity.
3. Knowledge that change can be produced in common substances.
4. Appreciation that ability to move or cause movement requires energy
5. Knowledge of differences in properties between and within common groups of materials.
6. Appreciation of man's use of other living things and their products
7. Awareness that man's way of life has changed through the ages.
8. Skill in manipulating tools and materials.
9. Development of techniques for handling living things correctly
10. Ability to use books for supplementing ideas or information.

Communicating

1. Ability to tabulate information and tables,
2. Familiarity with names of living things and nonliving materials
3. Ability to record impressions by making models, painting and drawing

Appreciating Patterns and Relationships

1. Development of a concept of environment.
2. Formation of a broad idea of variation
3. Awareness of seasona1 changes in living
4. Awareness of differences in physical con parts of the Earth.

Interpreting Findings Critically

1. Appreciation that properties of material influence their use.

### Stage 2 - Concrete Operations. Later Stage. Grades 3, 4, 5

In this stage, a continuation of what Piaget calls the stage of Concrete Operations, the mental manipulations become more varied and powerful. The developing ability to handle variables--for example, in dealing with multiple classification--means that problems can be solved in more ordered and quantitative ways than was previously possible. The objectives begin to be more specific to the exploration of the scientific aspects of the environment rather than to general experience, as previously. These objectives are developments of those of Stage 1 and depend on them for a foundation. They are those thought of' as being appropriate for all children who have progressed from Stage 1 and not merely for nine-to-eleven-year-olds.

Attitudes, Interests and Aesthetic Awareness

1. Willingness to cooperate with others in science activities
2. Willingness to observe objectively.
3. Appreciation of the reasons for safety regulations.
4. Enjoyment in examining ambiguity in the use of words Interest in choosing suitable means of expressing re observations.
5. Willingness to assume responsibility for the proper care of living things.
6. Willingness to examine critically the results of their own and other's work.
7. Preference for putting ideas to test before accepting or rejecting them. 
8. Appreciation that approximate methods of comparison may be more appropriate than careful measurement.
9. Enjoyment in developing methods for solving problems or testing ideas.
10. Appreciation of the part that aesthetic qualities of materials p1ay in determining their use.
11. Interest in the way discoveries were made in the past.

Observing, Exploring and Ordering Observations

1. Awareness of internal structure in living and nonliving things.
2. Ability to construct and use keys for identification.
3. Recognition of similar and congruent shapes.
4. Awareness of symmetry in shapes and structures.
5. Ability to classify living things and nonliving materials different ways.
6. Ability to visualize objects from different angles and the shape of cross-sections.

Developing Basic Concepts and Logical Thinking

1. Appreciation of measurement as division into regular parts and repeated comparison with a unit.
2. Appreciation that comparisons can be made indirectly by use of intermediary.
3. Development of concepts of conservation of weight, area and vol Appreciation of weight as a downward force.
4. Understanding of the speed, time, distance relation.

Posing Questions and Devising Experiments or Investigations

1. Ability to frame questions likely to be answered through investigation.
2. A bility to investigate variables and to discover effective ones.
3. Appreciation of the need to control variables and use controls in investigations.
4. Ability to choose and use either arbitrary or standard units of measurement as appropriate.
5. Ability to select a suitable degree of approximation and work to Ability to use representational models for investigating problems relationships,

Acguiring Knowledge and Learning Skills

1. Knowledge of conditions which promote changes in living things and nonliving materials.
2. Familiarity with a wide range of forces and of ways in which they can be changed.
3. Knowledge of sources and simple properties of common forms of energy Awareness of some discoveries and inventions by famous scientists.
4. Knowledge of ways to investigate and measure properties of living things and nonliving materials.
5. Knowledge of the origins of common materials.
6. Awareness of changes in the design of measuring instruments and tools during man's history.
7. Skill in devising and constructing simple apparatus.
8. Ability to select relevant information from books or other reference material.

Communicating

1. Ability to use non-representational symbols in plans, charts, etc
2. Ability to interpret observations in terms of trends and rates of change
3. Ability to use histograms and other simple graphical forms for communicating data.
4. Ability to construct models as a means of recording observations

Appreciating Patterns and Relationships

1. Awareness of sequences of change in natural phenomena.
2. Awareness of structure-function relationship in parts of living ings.
3. Appreciation of interdependence among living things.
4. Awareness of the impact of man's activities on other living things.
5. Awareness of the changes in the physical environment brought about by man's activity. "
6. Appreciation of the relationships of parts and wholes.

Interpreting Findings Critically

1. Appreciation of adaptation to environment.
2. Appreciation of how the form and structure of materials relate to their function and properties.
3. Awareness that many factors need to be considered when choosing a material for a particular use.
4. Recognition of the role of chance in making measurements and experiments.

### Stage 3 - Transition to Stage of Abstract Thinking Grades 5, 6, 7, 8, 9

This is the stage in which, for some children, the about abstractions is developing. When this development is complete their thought patterns are capable of dealing with the possible and hypothetical, and are not tied to the concrete and to the here and now. It may take place between eleven and thirteen for some able children, for some children it may happen later, and for others it may never occur. The objectives of this stage are ones which involve development of ability to use hypothetical reasoning and to separate~ and combine variables in a systematic way. They are appropriate to those who have achieved most of the Stage 2 objectives and who now show signs of ability to manipulate, mentally, ideas and propositions.

Attitudes, Interest and Aesthetic Awareness

1. Acceptance of responsibility for their own and other's safety in experiments.
2. Preference for using words correctly.
3. Commitment to the idea of physical cause and effect.
4. Recognition of the need to standardize measurements.
5. Willingness to examine evidence critically.
6. Willingness to consider beforehand the usefulness of the results from a possible experiment. “
7. Preference for choosing the most appropriate means of expressing results or observations.
8. Recognition of the need to acquire new skills.
9. Willingness to consider the role of science in`everyday life.
10. Appreciation of the main principles in the care of living things.
11. Willingness to extend methods used in science activities to other fields of experience.

Observing, Exploring and Ordering Observations

1. Appreciation that classification criteria are arbitrary.
2. Ability to distinguish observations which are relevant to the solution of a problem from those which are not.
3. Ability to estimate the order of magnitude of physical quantities

Deve1oging Basic Concepts and Logical Thinking

1. Familiarity with relationships involving velocity, distance, time acceleration.
2. Ability to separate, exclude or combine variables in approaching problems.
3. Ability to formulate hypotheses not dependent upon direct observation.
4. Ability to extend reasoning beyond the actual to the possible.
5. Ability to distinguish a logically sound proof from others less sound.

Posing Questions and Devising Experiments or Investigations

1. Attempting to identify the essential steps in approaching a problem scientifically.
2. Ability to design experiments with effective controls for testing hypotheses.
3. Ability to visualize a hypothetical situation as a useful simplification of actual observations.
4. Ability to construct scale models for investigation and to appreciate implications of changing the scale.

Acquitting Knowledge and Learning Ski11s

1. Knowledge that chemical changes result form interaction. .
2. Knowledge that energy can be stored and converted in various ways.
3. Awareness of the universal nature of gravity.
4. Knowledge of main constituents and variations in the composition of soil and of the earth.
5. Knowledge that properties of matter can be explained by reference to its particular nature. ~
6. Knowledge of certain properties of heat, light, sound, electrical, mechanical and chemical energy.
7. Knowledge of a wide range of living organisms.
8. Development of the concept of an internal environment.
9. Knowledge of the nature and variations in basic life processes.
10. Appreciation of levels of organization in living things.
11. Appreciation of the significance of the work and ideas of some famous scientists.
12. Ability to apply relevant knowledge without help of contextual cues.
13. Ability to use scientific equipment and instruments for extending the range of human senses.

Communicating

1. Ability to select the graphical form most appropriate to the infor mation being recorded.
2. Ability to use three-dimensional models or graphs for recording results.
3. Ability to deduce information from graphs: gradient, area, intercept.
4. Ability to use analogies to explain scientific ideas and theories.

Appreciating Patterns and Relationships

1. Recognition that the ratio of volume to surface area is significant.
2. Appreciation of the scale of the universe.
3. Understanding of the nature and significance of changes in living and nonliving things.
4. Recognition that energy has many forms and is conserved when it is changed from one form to another.
5. Recognition of man's impact on living things--conservation, change, control.
6. Appreciation of the social implications of man's changing use of materials, historical and contemporary.
7. Appreciation of the social implications of research in science.
8. Appreciation of the role of science in the changing pattern of provision for human needs.

Interpreting Findings Critica11y

1. Ability to draw from observations, conclusions that are unbiased by preconception.
2. Willingness to accept factual evidence despite perceptual contradictions.
3. Awareness that the degree of accuracy of measurements has to be taken into account when results are interpreted.
4. Awareness that unstated assumptions can affect conclusions drawn from argument or experimental results.
5. Appreciation of the need to integrate findings into a simplifying generalization.
6. Willingness to check that conclusions are consistent with further evidence.

These States chosen here conform to modern ideas about children's learning. They conveniently describe for us the mental development of children between the ages of five and fifteen years, but it must be remembered that ALTHOUGH CHILDREN GO THROUGH THESE STAGES IN THE SAME ORDER THEY DO NOT GO THROUGH THEM AT THE SAME RATES.

• SOME: children achieve the later Stages at an ear1y age
• SOME: linger in the ear1y Stages for quite a time.
• SOME: never have the mental ability to develop to the later Stages
• ALL: appear to be ragged in their movement from one Stage to another.

These Stages, then, are not tied to chronological age, so in any group of children there will be, almost certainly, some children at differing Stages of mental development.