Teaching Piaget’s Theory of Conservation with Buttons, Bugs, Birds, and More! : Active Learning
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Teaching Piaget’s Theory of Conservation with Buttons, Bugs, Birds, and More!

by First Stage Publishing Company on 02/21/14

It is important to help facilitate a child’s brain development by having them learn and recognize the number words.  For example, the 2013 Stanford research study “A Brain Area for Visual Numerals,” published in The Journal of Neuroscience, found that when subjects were shown numerals, specific clusters of nerve cells within their brain became activated and processed the information. 

Children need to be aware of the symbols and words that signify numbers.  Numerals are words, letters, symbols, or figures that express numbers used in counting and mathematics. They also designate the totals of objects, and are symbols that designate time, house and license plate numbers, and bus routes.  Numbers are important in almost every aspect of children’s daily lives and are especially used with computers and technology.

A variety of fun math-based activities exist to help children understand the significance of numbers.  Parents and educators can teach songs and activities where young learners clap and nod using the number words.  Children can also count things such as blocks, flowers, fingers and toes, bugs, birds on a telephone line, pieces of change and the number of steps they take. Start fostering the awareness of numbers found in places such as clocks, their favorite books, on street signs and telephone numbers.  Children can also learn to write numerals and draw the number of objects that the numerals represent.

A Valuable Math Based Learning Exercise: The following activity, which draws upon Piaget’s Theory of Conservation, is useful for determining when a child’s thinking is developmentally ready to understand the process of addition and subtraction in mathematics:

Show the child 6 similar objects, such as buttons, seed pods, crayons, or marbles.  Place 2 or 3 of those objects behind your back and ask, “How many objects did I hide?”  Then show the objects to the child.  Now hide 3 or 4 of the objects and ask, “Now how many did I hide?”  If the child needs to count to get the correct answer, provide more opportunities to match the numbers with objects.  It can also help to make drawings that represent the answer’s number, such as 3 apples, cherries, or marbles.  If the child is correct, try the same activity, but increase the number of objects to 7 or 8. When the child can firmly tell you the correct answers without counting on his or her fingers or aloud; he or she can begin learning about addition, subtraction and the numerals associated with early mathematics

~ Written by Ruth Velasquez

Dastjerdi, Mohammad, Brett L. Foster, Dora Hermes, Kai J. Miller, Josef Parvizi, Vinitha Rangarajan, Jennifer Shum, and Jonathan Winawer.  “A Brain Area for Visual Numerals.” The Journal of Neuroscience 33.16 (2014): 6709-6715.  Web.  February 20, 2014. http://www.jneurosci.org/content/33/16/6709.full

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