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Unit 3 Mid-term Exam


Kyle Broussard, B.S

Educational Psychology 5302

Dr. Mulkey

July 1, 2018

This Paper will look at Piaget’s method on concrete thinking and how it applies to a kid

who struggles with mathematic fractions. How Piaget feels it would be best to help the student

better understand the information using hands on thinking. Along with that this paper will

develop a self-management program for a student who has trouble doing biology homework, and

suffers anxiety problems form it.

Trip, a seventh grader, is having difficulty learning principles of fractions, such as two out of

five is 2/5, 3/5 is less than 2/3, and so on. While his classmates seem to follow most of the

examples given in class and in the textbook, Trip feels overwhelmed and confused by them. He

is good at other subjects (such as reading and social studies) but is falling behind rapidly in

mathematics. Being familiar with Piaget's stages of development, you suspect that Trip is very

concrete in his thinking about mathematical principles compared to many of his classmates.

1) Based on the above assessment of Trip's situation, what teaching approaches would Piaget's

ideas suggest for making the principles of fractions more understandable to Trip?

We know Trip is still in the concrete thinking stage according to Piaget’s stage of

development. Piaget says this stag can be best described as hands on thinking (Woolfolk, Pg. 49,

PP. 1). Kids in this staged can learn easier if they are able to manipulate the work to see it better.

So taking the fractions and being able to make it to where he can visually see the difference. The

best way for him would probably be using a pie shape. You can cut the pie into five pieces. You

can write the term two out of five, then have the pie right next two it with two pieces of the pie

missing. He can read two out of five and then visually see that two out of five pieces are missing.

You can also have two pies with one being an imaged of 2/5 and the other being 2/3 and he will
visually be able to see that 2/5 is less than 2/3. Piaget mentions that in the concrete stage children

can grasp the idea that something is bigger than one thing, but less than another. (Woolfolk, Pg.

50, PP. 2). Giving him the ability to visually see that using pie pieces will allow him to better

comprehend that 2/5 is less than 3/5, but 3/5 is less than 2/3.

2) If Trip is a concrete thinker in mathematics, is he likely to think in similar ways in other

subjects? Explain using appropriate ideas from Piaget and Vygotsky.

According to Piaget, Trip will be able to think concrete in other subjects as well. Not just

in math. Children who think concrete, using physical characteristics or habits can categorize

animals (Woolfolk, Pg. 52. PP. 2). Concrete thinkers also would only be able to make

combinations, but they would use each clothing only once limiting them to not reaching the max

combinations. The kids are able to identify objects and see if there has been any change to them.

Vygotsky would be more interested in the social level of the kid. He believes our thinking comes

from shared activities we have has with others (Woolfolk, Pg. 57. PP.4).

Kelly is a ninth grader with above-average abilities. He earns "Bs" in all of his subjects, except

for biology, which he barely manages to pass. As his biology teacher, you have tried to help him

many times, but you have observed no real progress. Kelly tells you that he has difficulty doing

his homework because of anxieties and basic "resistance" to the subject. He simply doesn't know

how to get started and stares at the question until he gives up and puts the homework assignment

1) Design a self-management program that Kelly could adopt to improve his academic


It looks like Kelly is not interested in biology one bit, and when a child is not interested in

a subject they will struggle getting their work done. Kelly is having anxiety problems with his

homework, because he is not interested in it, and he is struggling. A good self-management

program could be goal-setting for Kelly. It would be best for the teacher to set goal for Kelly

though, because teachers usually set higher standard than students do. A higher standard will

lead to a higher performance (Woolfolk, Pg. 277, PP. 2). I think a great start to the program

would be after Kelly reads the question he gets up and does a few paces around his room

thinking about the question. That way he is not stuck just looking at it. It would also be a good

idea for a goal to be if he is getting frustrated to take a minute break and take deep breathes.

Another goal could be asking the teacher or a student for help understanding the question after

you have given your best. Even staying after school once a week to get help from the teacher.

Ultimately we would get a few goals that are challenging for Kelly to reach and would monitor

how he does. Another good way it by getting Kelly to reward himself for completing the

homework by playing his videogames, but only after he was done.

2) Explain why (or why not) such strategies as token reinforcement and contingency contracting

might help Kelly's situation.

Token reinforcement allows students to earn tokens for positive academic work (Woolfolk,

Pg. 268, PP. 1). A token system would be beneficial for Kelly. There are three reasons someone

should use a token system. The first is when a student is completely uninterested in their work,
or is struggling with it (Woolfolk, Pg. 268, PP. 4). For Kelly that is his problem. Some kind of

system that his parents can cooperate with would help. Maybe a system that rewards Kelly with

the amount of time he gets to play computer games each night. If he gets his homework done

before dinner, and does well on it earns a few extra minutes to play. The teacher can give him

tickets to keep, and have prizes like candy, soda, and etc. Once he reaches an X amount tickets

he can buy something from the teacher. However, you have to be careful, because you do not

want Kelly thinking there will be punishment for not reaching his goals for his homework. That

would only add on to his pressure and anxiety. You just would have to make it clear that you get

a token for doing a good job, and nothing for not completing the task like he was supposed to.

Also let him know there will be no punishment, just simply no token.

When it comes to a student who struggles with mathematical fraction it would be best to

use hands on training according to Piaget. This student is a concrete thinker, and giving them

visual images like cutting a pie into pieces to create fractions the kid can see will better help the

child understand the work. Then when it comes to a student struggling to do homework having

the teacher create goals for the student to accomplish in a self-management program can be a

good idea. Along with a token reinforcement system to better motivate the student to get the

work done.

Woolfolk, A. (2016). Educational Psychology (13th ed.). Boston: Pearson. Pg. 49, 50, 52, 57,

277, 268.