Human Growth and Development Project
My first subject was my 5 year old son, the pre-operations stage child. He was asked how does a clock work? The initial response was the big hand and the little hand move and they point at the numbers. It appears that his thinking about the workings of the clock were solely based on the parts of the clock that the eye could see. I asked him, what about inside the clock? What makes the hands move? His clarification about what makes the hands move was simply that the skinny hand (second hand) moves fast and makes the big hand (minute hand) move and then the little hand (hour) moves. Even when asked about the inside and behind the hands, his thought process did not take him past the visual aspects of the clock.
When asked about what dirt was made of? He simply said, “soil”. I asked, “how do you make dirt from soil?” He knows that in the garden they use soil to plant flowers, etc. Dirt in the yard is made of soil. When soil gets dirty, then its called dirt. I asked him how deep the very deepest part of the ocean was. His initial reply was 5ft. When I asked if that was it? Just 5ft? He said, “or 176ft”. I was very amused by the randomness of that answer. I believe his initial answer was based off of previous experiences in the pool. He knows that he cannot go into the 5ft alone because it is too deep so when asked about depth and water, his only reference was the 5ft pool. When asked how far he could run before he was too tired to run anymore, he immediately responded, nine hours. His answer was given with such confidence, that I had no choice but to assume that he had previously attempted to run to his limit and when it was reached, he had run for nine hours. There is no doubt in my mind, it would take at least that amount of time for him to become tired.
Finally he was asked where the sun goes at night. He has heard somewhere that the earth rotates or something to that...