Clinical Method Plan: Conservation

Theory Introduction: The theory that I have chosen to for my framework of study is the theory of conservation.

Conservation is the understanding that a thing stays the same regardless of the changes in its form. Conservation is the foundation for rational thinking and can be applied to any quantifiable matter. When a child is able to master the conservation tasks, he or she will be able to understand and explain why things stay the same regardless of the changes in its form. Statement of Purpose:

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The purpose of my investigation is to determine whether or not my five year old nephew will be able to understand the concept of conservation. I want to test if he is able to grasp that an entity remains the same despite the changes in its form.

Description of Child and Context: For Piaget’s conservation tasks I will use my five year old nephew who I will call Abe. Abe is the youngest in his family. He has five sisters and three brothers. He is Hmong and in the lower middle class. He recently started Kindergarten.

Abe lives in a small and crowded apartment with most of his siblings.

Abe’s other brother and his small family also lives with Abe. Abe has a nephew (7 years old) and two nieces (a 6 year old and a 4 month infant) that he plays with everyday. To eliminate distractions, I plan to perform the tasks in my home because it will eliminate distractions but still be a place where Abe can be comfortable. When I perform the tasks, it will most likely be done during the afternoon.

Description of Tasks/ Where they were Found/ What they Measure: For my tasks, I will be using the conservation tasks for mass, liquid, and length.

For the mass task I will have two equal balls of play dough and flatten one down to see if Abe would be able to realize that the two are still equal. The liquid task is similar to the mass task. I will start out with identical containers of water and pour one into a different and taller container to see if Abe is able to understand that the two are still equal. The last task (length) will have two straws the same length and I will move one straw up and find out if Abe notices that it’s still the same length.

All three tasks were found on the Conservation Tasks examples hand out that were given to the class and all three tasks measure the understanding of conservation. Description of Materials: The materials needed for the mass task is simply just a couple cans of play dough. The materials needed for the liquid task included two cups or containers that are equal, another container or cup of a different size, and some water or liquid. Lastly, for the length task all that I need are a pair of straws that are the same length. Description of Procedure/ What will the Child do:

All my procedures will be very similar, so to format for how the procedure will be about the same. 1.

To begin, I will place the objects in front of Abe and ask him to make sure that the two objects are identical. 2. If they are not identical I will proceed by changing what ever needs to be change until Abe agrees that the two objects are identical. 3. Next I will change the form of the object (in the case of the mass: flatten the play dough, in the case of the liquid: pour into different container, in the case of length: move straw).


Then I will ask Abe, “Are they still the same? If so why? If not why? ” 5. I will ask Abe to explain his answers to find out if he really understands or does not understand. 6. If I think the way I phrase my questions make Abe confused, I will re-phrase the questions and ask them over.

7. Questions that I will ask include: a. Why are they different? b. Even if they started out the same they are different now? Why? c. Are they equal? d. Are they different because one is wider and one is taller? e.

If I pour the water back into this cup will they both be the same as they began? . If I turn this play dough back to a ball are they both the same as they began? g. If I move the straw back will they be the same length as they began? Task Analysis: Conservation is something that is developed gradually. This gradual change is mostly acquired through the development of the cognitive and sensorimotor stages of the child. This theory is something that cannot be taught; instead it is mastered generally through experience. When a child is not ready to adapt to understand conservation, one cannot teach them.

Therefore, in order to complete these tasks, Abe must be ready and have experience with conservation to be able to understand. Hypothesis: What results do you anticipate based on your knowledge of the child? Because Abe is only five years old and still in the preoperational stage I do not think that he will pass the conservation tasks. He will not be able to understand that no matter how the form is changed, the substance itself won’t. Typically a child at the preoperational stage will not be able to complete the conservation tasks until they have reached the concrete operational stage.