In-class Activity Three

For young children, play is school: Children can learn math, physics, language, social skills, and more. And when caregivers interact with them, children at play can learn even more about their world. Caregivers can direct children’s attention and teach them new words and concepts. Research from the laboratory of Temple University professor Dr. Nora Newcombe studies children’s cognitive development. In particular, this group have studied what children learn about shapes and spatial information from playing with toys with their caregivers.

Here’s a one-minute video clip that portrays an experiment conducted in their laboratory. The study tested how caregivers and children interact when playing with different kinds of spatial toys. Watch the video with the following questions in mind.

a) The video describes an experiment. What is the independent variable (IV)? How many levels of this IV were there, and what were they?

b) What are the dependent variables (DVs)? (There are at least two DVs).

c) Can you tell, based just on this description, if the IV was manipulated as independent groups or within groups?

d) Sketch a graph of the study’s result. Would you use a bar graph or line graph?

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