Piagetian Tasks: Number Conservation

Essay by texy October 2004

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I interviewed both my children separately with the conservation of number tasks. I used 14 pennies; 7 pennies in 1 row and the other 7 pennies in a row spaced farther apart than the first row of pennies. First, I interviewed my 4-year-old daughter; I asked her if there are the same amounts of pennies in both rows. She did not ask me anything she just began to count. After she counted both lines, she told me they were the same amount in both lines. I was very surprised by her action and response. I expected her to look at them and tell me no; I did not expect her to count them. Then, I asked her to tell me why she said they were the same; her response was because she counted them. Next, I interviewed my 7-year-old son, I asked him if the two rows had the same amount or not.

He counted them and told me yes, they have the same amount of pennies. I asked him to tell me why he thought that he responded, because I counted them and there are 7 in each row, and he added, "It may seem one row is longer than the other because one row is spaced out farther than the other". He said if I was to ask him, which one is longer in measurement his answer would be the one spaced out but that was not the question. He explained they are both the same in amount but not in length.

My observation of both my children was very interesting and educational. I would have never expected my daughter to give me the same response as my son, taking into consideration their ages. Especially being that Dr. Rozankski, head of the Gifted program in MISD just informed...