Psychology 210 Projects

Dr.Karen Hartlep

Department of Psychology

California State University Bakersfield

Project 1: Observation of a Child*

There are several purposes behind this project. First, many of you will have had relatively little contact with young children and need to spend some time simply observing a child to make some sections of your textbook more meaningful. Second, it is important for you to begin to get some sense of the difficulties involved in observing and studying children. Later projects involve other types of observation, but it is helpful to start with the least structured form, namely the unrestricted, non-reactive observation, without intervention. You will attempt to write down everything a child does or says for one hour.

* From Bee, H. (1981). The Developing Child. New York: Harper & Row. pp.36-37.

Project 2: Observation in a Newborn Nursery*

Although there have been changes in birth practices, some hospitals still have newborn nurseries, and you can go and look through the window at the infants. However, you must obtain permission before you do so. Newborn nurseries are complex, busy places, and they cannot tolerate additional, unknown people crowding around the window. You should check with the hospital office first, to determine if they have any standard procedure for obtaining permission to observe. If they do, then follow their procedure. If they have no procedure, you must at least contact the head nurse in the obstetrics and newborn section of the hospital.

Once you have obtained the required permission and arranged a time that will be least disruptive of the hospital schedule, you are to observe the infants (through the window) for approximately half an hour. This is a restricted, non-reactive observation, without intervention. You will need a clipboard and a stopwatch. Proceed in the following way:

Babyís State

30-sec.Intervals

Reg. Sleep

Irreg. Sleep

Alert Inactivity

Alert Activity

Crying

1.

 

 

 

 

 

 

2.

 

 

 

 

 

 

3.

 

 

 

 

 

 

4.

numbering to 60

 

 

 

 

 

You may find yourself approached by family members of babies in the nursery, asking what you are doing and why you have a clipboard and a stopwatch. Be sure to reassure the parents or grandparents that your presence does not in any way suggest that there is anything wrong with any of the babies-- you are doing a school project on observation. You may even want to show them the textbookís description of the various states.

Alternate Project

If it is not possible for you to observe in a newborn nursery--because local hospitals will not permit it, or if they just donít have such a facility anymore--the same project can be completed in a home setting with an infant under one or two months of age. The younger the better. You should observe the infant when s/he is lying in a crib or another sleeping location where it is possible for the child to move fairly freely (thus an infant seat wonít do, nor will a baby carrier of any kind).

*From Bee, H. (1981). The Developing Child. New York: Harper & Row. pp.101-102.

Project 3:Observation of Turn-Taking During*Feeding

If you know someone with a newborn infant, you might want to try an observation of feeding. This is a restricted, reactive observation without intervention. For this project you will need an infant younger than one month. Ask the parents if you could simply watch one feeding, either a breast-feeding or a bottle-feeding by either mother or father. Tell them that the purpose of your observation is simply for you to develop better observational skills. You will not be interfering in any way and there are no "right" or "wrong" ways to go about the task.

This observation is designed to examine "turn-taking" in the feeding interaction. You are to observe for a total of about 10 minutes, keeping a running record of behaviors by the child and by the parent.

To record these behaviors you will need a sheet with two columns, one column for the infant, and one for the parent, as follows:

Infant

Parent

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Infant

Parent

S

 

 

J

 

J

S

 

 

 

         If the baby sucks and the mother talks to him at the same time, and then the infant stops sucking and the mother talks to the baby, it would look like this:

Infant

Parent

S

V

 

V

 

 

 

 

 

 

         For this observation you should pay no attention to the duration of an activity. For the purposes of this exercise, it does not matter if the child sucks for 3 seconds or for 30 seconds before some change occurs.

* From Bee, H. The Developing Child. New York: Harper & Row.

Project 4: Development of the Object Concept*

For this project you will need to locate an infant between 6 and 12 months of age. Obtain permission from the babyís parents, assure them that there is nothing harmful or difficult in the tasks you will be using, and inform them that you would like one of them to be there while you are presenting the materials to the baby. This is a restricted, reactive observation, with interventions.

You may need to use more than one toy to keep the babyís interest and/or spread the tests out over a period of time.

Task 2, continuing to reach for a partly covered toy, is typically passed at about 26 weeks, Task 3, continuing to reach for a completely covered toy, at about 28 or 29 weeks, and Task 4, reaching for a toy that was fully covered before the child began to reach, at about 30 or 31 weeks. The closer to these ages your infant is, the more interesting your results are likely to be. Task 5, invisible displacement, is usually passed by 46 to 48 weeks.

*From Bee, H. (1981). The Developing Child. New York: Harper & Row. pp.165.

Project 5: Conservation of Number, Mass, and Weight*

General Instructions

In this project you will be testing a child between the ages of 5 and 10 for three kinds of conservation: number, mass, and weight. The concept of conservation involves the understanding that some features of objects remain invariant despite changes in other features. The weight of an object remains the same regardless of how its shape is changed. The number of objects in a row remains the same regardless of how widely spaced the objects are. Typically, number and mass conservation are learned, or discovered, at about the age of 5 or 6, while conservation of weight is learned later, at perhaps age 8 or 9. So if you are able to find a child between 5 and 8 you may find that s/he can manage the first two conservation tasks but not the last.

The testing can ordinarily be done most easily in the childís home although other settings are okay if they can be arranged. In any case you must, of course, obtain the parentsí permission. These are clinical interviews which are restricted, reactive observations, with interventions. Present the child with the three tasks in the order given here, following instructions precisely.

Conservation of Mass

You will need two equal balls of clay or play dough, each a size that can be readily handled by a childís palm. Handle them yourself, rounding them into a ball, and then hand them to the child, asking:

Is there the same amount of clay in each of these balls? Are they the same?

If the child agrees that they are the same, proceed. If not, say to the child: Make them the same. The child may want to squish them a little or may actually shift some clay from one ball to the other. Thatís quite all right. When s/heís done ask again:

Is there the same amount of clay in each of these balls? Are they the same?

Once the child has agreed that they are the same, say to the child:

Now Iím going to squash this one into a pancake.

Squash one of the two balls into a pancake and place the two objects -the remaining ball and the pancake- in front of the child. Read the following questions exactly as written and record precisely what the child says:

Mold the pancake back into a ball and set the two balls aside for the moment.

Conservation of Number

For this part of the process you will need 14 pennies or identical buttons. Start with 10 items and place them between yourself and the child (preferably on a table, but the floor will do), spaced equally in two rows of five as follows:

X X X X X

Ask the child:

Are there the same number of pennies (buttons) in this row as there are in this row, or are there more here (pointing to the childís row) or more here (pointing to your row)?

The child may want to move the objects around a bit before s/he agrees the two rows are the same, which is fine. Once the child has agreed they are the same, spread the objects in your row so that it is now noticeably longer than the childís row but still contains only five objects, like the following:

X  X  X  X  X

X  X X  X X

Now ask the following questions, and record the childís exact answers:

Now spread out the childís row and add two objects to each row, so that your row and the childís row are again exactly matched, with seven items equally spaced in each. Ask the child:

Are there the same number of pennies (buttons) in this row as there are in this row, or are there more here (pointing to the childís row) or more here (pointing to your row)?

Once the child has agreed they are the same, move the objects in your row closer together so that the childís row is longer. Ask questions three and four again, and record the answers.

Conservation of Weight

Put away the pennies (or give them to the child), and bring out the two balls of clay again, saying Now weíre going to play with the clay again. Hand the balls to the child and ask:

Do these two balls weigh the same? Do they have the same amount of weight?

If the child agrees that they weigh the same, proceed. If not, say Make them the same and let him manipulate the balls until he agrees. Once he has agreed, say:

Now I am going to make this ball into a hot dog.

Roll one of the two balls into a hot dog shape. When you have completed the transformation, put the two pieces of clay in front of the child and ask:

Record the answers carefully.

This ends the procedure, so you should praise and thank the child. You might also want to play a bit with the child with some other toy of the childís choosing, to make sure that the whole process is pleasant to the child.

Scoring

For each of the crucial questions, decide whether or not the child "conserved". To be judged as having conserved, Piaget required that the child not only had to say that the two objects or sets were the same after transformation, but s/he also had to give a valid reason, such as one of the following:

"You havenít added any or taken any away so they have to be the same."

or

"One is longer but it is also skinnier so they are still the same."

or

"If I made it back into a ball it would be the same so they are still equal."

Analysis

Type up a 2 to 3 page summary and analysis, including; a brief description of who you observed, and under what conditions; your answers to the questions above; and how what you did in this project relates to what is covered in our textbook, particularly with Piagetís Stages of Preoperational and Concrete Operational Thought. INCLUDE A COVER PAGE WITH THE PROJECT NUMBER, TITLE, AND YOUR NAME. ATTACH YOUR NOTES ON THE RESULTS FOR EACH TASK TO THE BACK OF THE WRITE-UP.

*From Bee, H. The Developing Child. New York: Harper & Row.

Project 6: The Pendulum*

This is a simplified version of the Inhelder and Piaget pendulum problem. To complete this project you should locate a child between roughly ages 8 and 16, obtaining the parentsí permission for the testing. This is a clinical interview which is a restricted, reactive observation with an intervention.

Equipment

Because the physical objects are so important for this problem, you need to collect your equipment carefully and test it before you start. You will need three pieces of strong, flexible string, one about 25 cm., one about 37 cm., and one about 50 cm. long. You will also need three similar objects of varying weights. Fishing sinkers work well, as do keys, but the lightest one should be heavy enough so that it will weigh down the string and allow it to swing.

If you can complete the testing in some location in which you have a chance to tie all three strings to some overhead rod or other object, that would be best, since it leaves you free to write down what your subject does. Otherwise you will have to hold the top of each string when your subject wishes to use that string in a test.

Procedure

Tell your subject:

I am doing a class project about how different people go about solving a problem. The problem I would like you to solve is to find out what makes a pendulum swing faster or slower.

Pause at this point and demonstrate how you can attach a weight to the string, and push the weight to start the pendulum swinging. Demonstrate this with more than one weight/ string combination so that it is clear that there is variability in the speed of the pendulum swing. Then say:

You need to figure out what makes the pendulum swing faster or slower. You can use any of these three strings and these three weights to help you figure this out. Iíll be taking notes about what you do and say while you are working on the problem.

Record each combination the subject tries, in the order of attempts. If you can, you should also record any comments the subject makes in the process. Allow the subject to continue until s/he gives you an answer. If no answer is forthcoming, you may ask after a period of time, some question like, Can you figure out what makes the pendulum move fast or slow? If that does not promote an answer, or the subject seems very frustrated or bored, you may terminate the procedure and thank the subject for his or her help. If the subject has not solved the problem. youíll want to reassure them by pointing out that this is a really hard problem and that lots of kids his or her age have a hard time figuring it out.

Analysis and Report

Type up a 2 to 3 page summary and analysis, including a brief descrip-tion of who you observed, and under what conditions; your answers to the questions above; and how what you did in this project relates to what is covered in our textbook. INCLUDE A COVER PAGE WITH THE PROJECT NUMBER, TITLE, AND YOUR NAME. ATTACH YOUR NOTES ON THE RESULTS FOR THIS TASK TO THE BACK OF THE WRITE-UP.

*From Bee, H. The Developing Child. New York: Harper & Row.

Project 7: The Game of 20 Questions*

General Instructions

The first step is to locate a child between the ages of 5 and 10. Tell the parents that you want to play some simple games with the child as part of a school project, reassuring them that you are not "testing" the child. Obtain their permission, describing the games and tasks if you are asked to do so. This is an interview, or observation, which is restricted, reactive, and without an intervention.

Arrange a time to be alone with the child, if at all possible. Having the mother, father, or siblings there can be extremely distracting, both for the child and for you.

Come prepared with the equipment you will need. Tell the child that you have some games you would like to play. Play with the child for awhile to establish some kind of rapport before you begin your experimenting. At the appropriate moment, introduce your "game".

The Task

Tell the child:

I am thinking of something in this room, and your job is to figure out what I am thinking of. To do this, you can ask any question at all that I can answer by saying yes or no, but I can't give you any other answer but yes or no. You can ask as many questions as you need to, but try to find out in as few questions as you can.

Choose the door to the room as the answer to your first game. (If there is more than one door, select one particular door as correct; if there is no door, use a particular window.) If the child asks questions that cannot be answered yes or no, remind them that you cannot answer that kind of question, and restate the kind of question that can be asked. Allow the child as many questions as needed (more than 20, if necessary). Write down each question verbatim. When the child has reached the correct answer, praise them and then say:

Let's try another one. I'll try to make it harder this time. I'm thinking of something in the room again. Remember, you ask me questions that I can answer yes or no. You can ask as many questions as you need, but try to find out in as few questions as possible.

Use your pencil or pen as the correct answer this time. After the child has solved the problem, praise them. If the child has not been successful, find something to praise. (You asked some good questions, but it's a really hard problem, isn't it? ) When you are satisfied that the child's motivation is still reasonably high, continue.

Now we're going to play another question asking game. In this game, I will tell you something that happened, and your job will be to find out how it happened by asking me questions I can answer yes or no. Here is what happened: A man is driving down the road in his car. The car goes off the road and hits a tree, You have to find out how it happened by the way I answer questions you ask me about it. But I can only answer yes or no.. The object of the game is to find out the answer in as few questions as possible. Remember, here's what happened: A man is driving down the road in his car. The car goes off the road and hits a tree, Find out what happened.

If the child asks questions that cannot be answered yes or no, remind them that you cannot answer that kind of question and that you can only answer yes or no. If the child can't figure out the answer, urge them to try until you are persuaded that you are creating frustration, at which point you should quit with lots of positive statements. The answer to the problem is that it had been raining, the car skidded on a curve, went off the road, and hit the tree.

Scoring

Score each question asked by the child on each of the three problems as belonging to one of two categories:

Data and Analysis

For your own analysis, you should examine at least the following aspects:

Type up a 2 to 3 page summary and analysis, including; a brief description of who you observed, and under what conditions; your answers to the questions above; and how what you did in this project relates to what is covered in our textbook. INCLUDE A COVER PAGE WITH THE PROJECT NUMBER, TITLE, AND YOUR NAME. ATTACH YOUR NOTES ON THE RESULTS FOR THESE TASKS TO THE BACK OF THE WRITE-UP.

*From Bee, H. (1981). The Developing Child. New York: Harper & Row. pp.257-259.

Appendix to Project 7**
Mosher and Hornsby (1966)

One aspect of classification that was studied by Piaget is class inclusion. A good way to illustrate the principle of class inclusion is with the game of 20 Questions. Frederick Mosher and Joan Hornsby (1966) showed 6- to 12-year-old children a set of 42 pictures of animals, people, toys, machines, and the like. The experimenter said he was thinking of one of the pictures, and the child was to figure out which one by asking questions that could be answered "yes" or "no".

There are several ways to figure out which questions to ask. You could simply start at one end of a row of pictures and ask, "Is it this one?" about each one in turn until you hit on the right one, or you could point to them in some random order. Mosher and Hornsby called such strategies "hypothesis scanning". A second way is to classify the pictures mentally into a hierarchy of groups, and then ask first about the highest level in your hierarchy, a strategy that requires understanding of class inclusion. You might start, for example, by asking "Is it a toy?" If the answer is yes, you might then ask about the subcategories: "Is it a red toy?" Mosher and Hornsby called this second strategy "constraint seeking".

You can see in Figure 7, which shows the main results of this study, that 6-year-olds almost never used a constraint strategy. They relied essentially on guessing. By age 8, however, the majority of children's questions reflected a constraint strategy. By age 11, that strategy strongly dominated.

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Figure 7. Preferences for a Constraint Seeking versus a Hypothesis Scanning strategy in the 20 Questions game with children 6 to 12 years old.

**From Bee, H. The Developing Child. New York: Harper & Row.

Project 8: Beginning Two-Word Sentences*

Some of you have been around young children a lot, and already have some sense for the delightful quality of their early language, but all of you would benefit from some additional listening. I would particularly like you to locate a child who is still in the earliest stages of sentence formation or just beginning to add a few inflections. This is most likely to be a child of 20-24 months, but a child between 24 and 30 months may do fine too. The one essential ingredient is that the child be speaking at least some two-word sentences. If you are unsure, ask the parent. They can nearly always tell you whether the child has reached this stage or not. This is a restricted, largely non-reactive observation, without intervention.

As usual, obtain the parents' permission for your project. Then arrange to spend enough time with the child at their home, in a day-care center, or in any other convenient setting, so that you can collect a list of 50 different spontaneous utterances, including both one-word utterances and two- or more-word sentences. By spontaneous I mean those that the child speaks without prompting. Try to avoid getting into the situation in which the mother or some other adult actively tries to elicit language from the child, although it is certainly okay if you collect a sample from a time when the child is playing with an adult or doing some activity with a parent or older sibling. The most fruitful time is likely to be when the child is playing with someone, and it is okay to ask the mother to play with the child - but not to play the sort of game in which the object is to get the child to talk. Write down the child's sentences in the order they occur and stop when you have 50. Whenever you can, make notes about the context in which each sentence occurred so that you can judge the meaning more fully.

Analysis

When you have your list of 50 utterances:

*From Bee, H. The Developing Child. New York: Harper & Row.

Appendix to Project 9 **
MLU's for Adam, Eve and Sarah
with changes in age

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Figure 8. Children go through the various steps and stages of language development at markedly different rates, as you can clearly see here. Eve reached Stage II grammar (noted by the horizontal line across the graph) at about 21 months, while Adam and Sarah were much slower. This does not mean that Eve has a higher IQ or is "brighter" in some way. Within this range of speed of language development there is essentially no correlation with IQ.

**From Bee, H. The Developing Child. New York: Harper & Row.

Project 9: Conversation Between Mother and Child*

This time I would like you to focus on the social environment - what is said to the child as well as the child's response. Find a child about 2 years old. though it is okay to go up to about 31/2. This is a restricted, largely non-reactive observation, without intervention.

After obtaining permission, arrange to spend some time with the child while the mother is around. If you are working in a nursery school or day-care center, or have access to such a setting, it is all right to study a child and the teacher, but you'll have to get the teacher alone with the single child for a period of time. The interaction should be as spontaneous as possible. It is okay if the adult and child play together, but not good to have it be a "repeat after me" game or a naming game.

Record the conversation between the mother (or teacher) and the child, making sure that you have the sentences of the two people in the right order. Continue to record the conversation until you have at least 25 sentences for each. You may use a tape recorder if you wish, but you'll find it helpful to write down the sentences as they occur as well.

Analysis

When you have collected the sentences:

*From Bee, H. The Developing Child. New York: Harper & Row.

Project 10: Television Aggression*

Using the definition of violence offered by George Gerbner, "The overt expression of physical force against others or self, or the compelling of action against one's will on pain of being hurt or killed", select a minimum of four half-hour television programs normally watched by children and count the number of violent or aggressive episodes in each. Extend Gerbner's definition somewhat, however, to count verbal aggression as well as physical aggression.

You may select any four or more programs distributed in the following way:

For each program you watch, record the number of violent episodes, separating the instances of verbal and physical violence. This is a restricted, non-reactive observation, without intervention.

Analysis

In thinking or writing about the details of your observations, consider the following questions:

*From Bee, H. (1981). The Developing Child. New York: Harper & Row. pp.361.

Appendix to Project 10**
Signorelli's report on TV Violence

By far the largest body of research on TV effects has focused on the potential impact of TV on children's aggressiveness, not only because TV programs in the United States are clearly high in aggression, but also because any causal relationship between TV violence and children's aggression would be cause for grave concern.

There is no dispute about the high level of violence on TV, nor about the fact that this level has not declined in the past decades despite many public outcries. Nancy Signorelli (1986) estimates that in 1985, situation comedies averaged about two incidents of physical violence per hour, and action/adventure programs averaged eight. The rate is still higher in children's cartoons and would be far higher for all types of programs if verbal aggression were also counted.

It is also important to point out that the "good guys" are just as likely to be violent as the "bad guys", and that violence on most TV programs is rewarded. People who are violent get what they want. In fact, violence is usually portrayed as a successful way of solving problems. Furthermore, the consequences of violence - pain, blood, damage - are seldom shown, so the child is protected from seeing the painful and negative consequences of aggression, and thus receives an unrealistic portrayal of those consequences.

**From Bee, H. The Developing Child. New York: Harper & Row.

Project 11: Sex Roles on TV*

For this project you must select to do any one of the following options:

These options are examples of restricted, non-reactive observa-tions, without interventions.

Analysis

Whichever one of these options you choose, you must define your terms carefully and record your data in a manner that makes it understandable. In writing up your report, be sure to state clearly what you did, and what you think your results may mean. Compare your results to those of other researchers, such as those in Appendix 11 below, and in your textbook. Discuss and try to explain any puzzling or unexpected findings you had. You may also try to suggest additional projects that might help to clarify the points of confusion in your own findings.

Type up a 2 to 3 page summary and analysis, including; a brief description of what you observed, and when; your responses to the points above; and how what you did in this project relates to what is covered in our textbook. INCLUDE A COVER PAGE WITH THE PROJECT NUMBER, TITLE, AND YOUR NAME. ATTACH YOUR NOTES ON THE RESULTS FOR THIS PROJECT TO THE BACK OF THE WRITE-UP.

*From Bee, H. (1981). The Developing Child. New York: Harper & Row. pp.392-393.

Appendix to Project 11**
Sex Stereotyping on TV

What researchers have found when they have counted specific behaviors by men and women on TV is that men and women are portrayed in highly stereotypic ways (Huston, 1983; Huston & Alvarez, 1990). Males outnumber females by 2 to 1 or 3 to 1 on virtually every kind of programming except commercials, but in the latter, the "voice-over" is nearly always male. Women are more often shown at home or in romantic situations; men more often appear in work settings, with cars, or playing sports. Men are shown solving problems, being more active, aggressive, and independent. Women are shown as sex objects, or showing emotions, and are more passive and deferent. Females generally play the "handmaiden" roles - they hand the male character his coat, type his reports, and listen to his troubles.

At a more subtle level, Aletha Huston and her colleagues in several studies (e.g., Huston et. al.,1984) have found that toy commercials aimed at boys, and those aimed at girls, are simply designed differently. Boys' commercials are fast, sharp, and loud - lots of quick cuts, loud music, and activity. Girls' commercials are gradual, soft, and fuzzy. They have camera fades and dissolves rather than sharp cuts, and use softer background music.

**From Bee, H. The Developing Child. New York: Harper & Row.

Project 12: Observation of Altruistic Behavior*

This is a more "anthropological" approach to an observation of preschool-age children. This is a naturalistic observation that is restricted, but largely non-reactive and without an intervention. Begin by obtaining permission to observe in some group-care situation involving children somewhere between age 18 months and 4 years. If there are mixed ages, that would be ideal. but it is okay if all the toddlers are the same age.

For this observation you should assume that you are a researcher who has become interested in the earliest forms of altruistic behavior in children, and that there has not yet been any research on this topic. You want to begin simply by observing without any preconceived ideas about how frequently this might occur or under what circumstances.

Observe in the group-care setting for at least two hours noting down in narrative form any episode that appears to you to fit some general criteria of "altruistic" or "compassionate" behavior. For each episode you will want to record the circumstances involved, the gender of the child, the approximate age of the child, the other children present, and the words used (if any).

Analysis

After the observation period, look over your notes and try to answer the following questions:

*From Bee, H. The Developing Child. New York: Harper & Row.

Project 13: Observation of Children's Play Groups*

After obtaining permission, arrange to spend several hours in a day-care center or preschool that includes groups of children of about age 2 to 4. Be sure to do the observation during a time that includes some "free play". If all you observe is snack time, nap, and organized play you will not get a chance to observe the things I want you to look for. This is a restricted and largely non-reactive observation, without intervention.

Watch for about 15 minutes without writing anything down. During this time you should pick out about 10 different children who will be the focus of your later observation, 5 boys and 5 girls. Label them in some way that you can use as shorthand, and be sure to indicate whether each is a boy or a girl.

Now begin your real observation. At the beginning of each 3-minute period, for each of your focal 10 children, note:

Continue this procedure for each 3-minute period for at least one hour (for a total of 20 3-minute periods). Inevitably you will have some periods in which one or more of the focal children was not in sight (they are in the bathroom, or elsewhere), and probably there will be some 3-minute periods in which all children are playing together in some activity organized by the teachers. In the former case, merely omit that child from the record for that interval. In the latter (full-group activity), omit that 3-minute period from your record entirely.

I recommend that you make up a data sheet (that looks something like the one that follows) to be used for each 3-minute period. So each time you start a fresh set of observations with each 3-minute interval, you should note them on a separate data sheet.

Sample Data Sheet

Focal Children Observed

Number of Playmates

Genders of Each Playmate

Identity of Idividual Children

Activity Engaged In

#1

 

 

 

 

 

#2

 

 

 

 

 

#3

 

 

 

 

 

#4

 

 

 

 

 

#5

 

 

 

 

 

#6

 

 

 

 

 

#7

 

 

 

 

 

#8

 

 

 

 

 

#9

 

 

 

 

 

#10

 

 

 

 

 

When you are done, you should have 20 data sheets, with up to 20 notations for each of your focal children.

Analysis

*From Bee, H. The Developing Child. New York: Harper & Row.

Project 14: Understanding Friendship*

For this project you will need to locate a child between the ages of about 6 and 12. Arrange with the parents to spend some time with the child, explaining that you want to talk to the child for a school project, and that this is not a "test" of any kind. Try to find a time and a place to be alone with your subject. It will not work as well if siblings or parents are present.

Say to the child something like, "I'd like to talk to you about friends. Let me tell you a story about some children who were friends." Then read the following story:

Kathy and Becky have been friends since they were 5 years old. They went to the same kindergarten and have been in the same class ever since. Every Saturday they would try to do something special together, go to the park or the store, or play something special at home. They always had a good time with each other.
One day a new girl, Jeanette, moved into their neighborhood and soon introduced herself to Kathy and Becky. Right away Jeanette and Kathy seemed to hit it off very well. They talked about where Jeanette was from and the things she could be doing in her new town. Becky, on the other hand, didn't seem to like Jeanette very well. She thought Jeanette was a showoff, but was also jealous of all the attention Kathy was giving Jeanette.
When Jeanette left the other two alone, Becky told Kathy how she felt about Jeanette. "What did you think of her Kathy? I thought she was kind of pushy, butting in on us like that."
"Come on, Becky, she's new in town and just trying to make friends. The least we can do is be nice to her."

"Yeah, but that doesn't mean we have to be friends with her," replied Becky. "Anyway, what would you like to do this Saturday? You know those old puppets of mine, I thought we could fix them up and make our own puppet show."
"Sure, Becky, that sounds great," said Kathy. "I'll be over after lunch. I better go home now. See you tomorrow."
Later that evening, Jeanette called Kathy and surprised her with an invitation to the circus, the last show before it left town. The only problem was that the circus happened to be at the same time that Kathy had promised to go to Becky's. Kathy didn't know what to do, go to the circus and leave her best friend alone, or stick with her best friend and miss a good time. (from Selman, 1980, p.321-322)

After reading the child the story, you need to ask some open-ended questions, and then probe the child's understanding of friendship. You may want to review what your textbook says about how children of various ages see friendships, so you know what to look for. Transcribe your child's answers as close to verbatim as you can. (Tape them if that will help.)

Open Ended Questions

Based on the child's answers, you may then want or need to probe as follows: (You will probably not need to ask all these questions. Be selective, depending on your child's comments.)

Probes

Analysis

Compare your child's answers to the levels of social understanding described in your textbook. At what level does the child appear to be reasoning? Type up a 2 to 3 page summary and analysis, including; a brief description of who you observed, under what circumstances, and when; and how what you did in this project relates to what is covered in our textbook. INCLUDE A COVER PAGE WITH THE PROJECT NUMBER, TITLE, AND YOUR NAME. ATTACH YOUR NOTES ON THE CHILD'S ANSWERS TO THE QUESTIONS YOU ASKED TO THE BACK OF THE WRITE-UP.

*From Bee, H. The Developing Child. New York: Harper & Row.