Piagetian Tasks





Piagetian Tasks

Piagetian tasks are the processes of determining the development and nature of human intelligent. These introduced tasks follow Piaget’s theory of cognitive development. The tasks involve unchanging several quantities or configurationally transformations. In order to carry out this task, two children have to be selected and interviewed using the clinical method of both the conservation substance and animistic experiment. The answers presented by the children would be appropriate in determining their cognitive development.

Conservation of Substance

First Child. The first interviewee was a 6-year-old boy called Ryan. The experiment was carried out on December 10,2013 in one of the lecture halls. Ryan was accompanied by his mother. Her presence facilitated better results in the interview because he was able to gain confidence. The lecture hall was small with nothing present except for the seats and the board. This was a perfect setting since it had limited distractions. Hence, the child was more concentrated during the interview. The play dough that I had in store for the interview was placed on the lecturer’s desk. The interview was as illustrated below.

Me: (Giving him the dough that has been separated into two equal halves) how are you?

Ryan: (Smiles) I am fine.

Me: Are these the same size?

Ryan: I do not think so (shrugging his shoulders).

Me: (After adjusting the size of each) do they appear the same in size?

Ryan: They are the same in size now.

Me: (After rolling one of the play dough to conform the shape of a hotdog) what about now Ryan, are they the same in size?

Ryan: (He pauses for a minute before answering his question) they are not the same.

Me: Why do you think or say so?

Ryan: (He looks at his mother, who does not signal anything to him) because the hotdog is bigger in size.

Me: Why do you say that the hotdog is bigger in size compared to the other round ball?

Ryan: (Frowning) the hotdog is bigger than the other round ball.

Me: (After rolling the hotdog shaped dough to rounded shaped dough) which among these two is bigger?

Ryan: (Pauses for a minute while popping his eyes wide open) the one that was shaped as a hotdog is bigger.

Me: Why is it bigger?

Ryan: It is because it looks bigger.


Ryan’s responses, gestures and facial expressions formed the basis of this conclusion. He is not conserving because he stated that the size of the two balls were not equal despite them being the same. The results gotten from this experiment were unexpected because Ryan is at the late preoperational phase yet he displays the characteristics of those in the early stage. This phase is characterized by children failing on almost all the tasks as evidenced in the typical answers they present, which match to the most salient aspect. Hence, children at this period tend to believe that the longer dimension has more in quantity compared to the shorter one.

Second Child. Chloe is a girl aged seven. On December 9, 2013, Chloe together with her father accepted to be interviewed. The interview took place in the library since it provided a quiet environment and it had less destruction. The setting of the library encompassed a table, three chairs and a bag that had all the materials needed to carry out the experiment.

Me: (Giving her the molded play dough) how are you Chloe?

Chloe: I am fine.

Me: Do you think that these two balls are the same in size?

Chloe: Yes they are.

Me: (Reshaping one ball in a hotdog figure) are these the same in size?

Chloe: (Shrugging her shoulders) they are the same.

Me: Why do you say that they are the same in size?

Chloe: The hotdog shaped dough was made from the round ball.

Me: (Handing her the dough that was rolled into a hotdog shape but molded back to a round shape) are the balls the same in size?

Chloe: They are still the same.

Me: Why do you think they are still the same?

Chloe: (Frowning) they have the same size.


The experiment displays Chloe’s level of conservation thinking. She is conservative. She is in the late preoperational period because she was able to answer most of the questions correctly. However, she was unable to provide enough justifications for her answers. Her responses were expected during this experiment.

Animism Experiment

First Child. The animism experiment was taken immediately after the first task in the lecture hall. The materials needed for this experiment were real objects that included a pencil and a picture of a remote object, the clouds.

Me: We are going to play a game where I ask questions and you answer them, okay? What does it mean to be alive?

Ryan: When one is able to move around.

Me: (Holding a pencil up and a picture of the clouds) are these alive.

Ryan: The clouds are alive but the pencil is not.

Me: Why do you say that?

Ryan: The clouds are able to move but the pencil cannot move on its own.

Me: Why do you think that the clouds move?

Ryan: They are able to move from one place to the next.


The child’s thinking is reflected on the responses he gave during the experiment. His animistic thinking represents the early preoperational period since he failed the questions related to an object being alive. The results were unexpected because a child at that period is able to distinguish objects that are alive from those that are not.

Second Child. The setting for the experiment is similar to the first experiment. In order to carry out the experiment, an analog watch, a stone and the picture of the moon were used.

Me: What is the meaning of alive?

Chloe: Alive is when an object is able to move and it has life.

Me: (Giving her the watch) is the watch alive.

Chloe: (Shrugging her shoulders) it is not alive.

Me: Why do you say that it is not?

Chloe: (looking at the ceiling) the watch cannot move on its own without its battery.

Me: What about the stone, is it alive?

Chloe: The stone is not a living thing.

Me: Okay, is the sun a living thing? Why?

Chloe: Yes, because it moves in the sky without being influenced by another object.


Chloe’s thinking is displayed throughout the conversation. The answers she gave were predictable because at her age, a child is able to distinguish between living and non-living objects. Nonetheless, she was unable to justify her judgments. Her thinking represents the late preoperational stage because of the correct answers she gave.

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