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Piaget, Kohlberg and Erikson: Bullis Seniors Partner with 5th Grade Students to Study Developmental Psychology
Posted 02/11/2020 11:14AM

On Monday, February 3, a group of Bullis seniors studying AP Psychology visited the Lower School to test out their understanding of various theories of developmental psychology. Students have been actively engaged in learning about Piaget's Stages of Cognitive Development, Kohlberg's Stages of Moral Development, and Erikson's Stages of Psychosocial Development.

Ahead of the meeting, the seniors were asked to consider the stage of development in which research suggests 5th graders would likely be and the developmental phenomena and characteristics central to that stage. Working in small groups, the upperclassmen then designed a series of short activities to assess the stage of development of their 5th-grade partners for each theory and described the anticipated results. Students also considered the age-appropriateness of their proposed activities and ethical considerations in research through dialogue with one another and with teacher feedback.

The 12th- and 5th-grade students spent about half an hour working together on various activities. 5th graders solved math and logic problems, discussed moral dilemmas, and shared insight into their own talents and abilities as they are currently developing a greater sense of self. Seniors recorded the actual results of the activities and then debriefed during their next class meeting. In instances where the actual results didn't match the expected outcomes, psychology students discussed the variables that might have contributed to the differences.

It is clear both the 12th- and 5th-graders enjoyed their time together. The ability to collaborate cross-divisionally to provide real-world curricular application and build meaningful community relationships is a true gift of the Bullis experience, for both students and teachers alike!


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