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During the 1920s a biologist named Jean Piaget proposed a theory of cognitive development of children He caused a new revolution in thinking about how thinking develops In 1984 Piaget observed that children understand concepts and reason differently at different stages Piaget stated childrens cognitive strategies which are used to solve problems reflect an interaction BETWEEN THE CHILDS CURRENT DEVELOPMENTAL STAGE AND experience in the world Research on cognitive development has provided science educators with constructive information regarding student capacities for meeting science curricular goals Students which demonstrate concrete operational thinking on Piagetian tasks seem to function only at that level and not at the formal operational level in science Students which give evidence of formal operational thinking on Piagetian tasks often function at the concrete operational level in science thus leading researchers to conclude that the majority of adolescents function at the concrete operational level on their understanding of science subject matter In a study by the National Foundation of subjects in Piagets Balance Task were rated as being operational with respect to proportional thought development In addition seventy-one percent of subjects did not achieve complete understanding of the material studied in a laboratory unit related to chemical solubility The unit delt with primary ratios and proportions and when overall physical science achievement was considered about forty-three percent of the formal operational studies were not able to give simple examples of the problem that were correctly solved on the paper and pencil exam Inhelder Piaget 1958 p 104 Piaget was primarily concerned with the developmental factors that characterize the changes in the childs explanations of the world around him or her Piagets early research showed three parallel lines of development First from an initial adualism or confusion of result of the subjects own activity with objective changes to reality to a differentiation between subject and object Second from a phenomenological interpretation of the world to one which
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