A Child's Understanding of Conservation as Seen by Piaget

1460 WordsFeb 26, 20186 Pages
The study of conservation task by Piaget typically yields the result that children at a certain age group exhibit certain understanding of conservation. A child younger than 7 or 8 is incapable of understanding the basis of conservation (Piaget & Inhelder, 1974). Piaget’s theory suggests that a child’s understanding of conservation marks a transitional period in their development where cognitive perceptions change from pre-operational to operational (Inhelder & Piaget, 1958). Conservation is defined as the knowledge that appearance may change but quantity and weight or number remain unchanged in a child’s mind despite transformations such as changing the object’s shape, sectioning it into pieces or displacing it into different containers (Siegal, 2003). Piaget himself has found out that the conservation of certain variables is not achieved together at the same time (Flavell, 1963). According to Flavell (1963), Piaget’s subject’s showed that conservation of matter is common at 8 to 10 years of age, weight at 10 to 12 and volume only at 12 years onwards. Piaget’s study of conservation of number yielded similar results when administered to children of age 4 to 7 (Flavell, 1963). In the study conducted (1974), 180 children aged 4 to 6 were experimented upon to gather knowledge on a child’s conservation of properties; matter, weight and volume as Piaget had believed that a child a pre-operational stage would not be able to comprehend conservation and believes that to be
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