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Developmental Case Study of a Child

Grade 4
Eliot Elementary

by:

Omar Cavazos

Task 1: Interpretation of Stories


We started out by getting together on a Monday after read aloud time. I read "The Plane
Tree" to the student. I believed that I would have had to read it several times since some of the
wording and sentence structure is confusing for a grade 4 student. The first time I read it, I asked
the student What they thought the story meant? The student said It was about two friends who
were trying to take a break under a tree but they said a mean thing about the tree and the tree got
mad at them. I reworded the original question by asking Does this story mean anything to you
or remind you of anything that happened to you. The student responded with a shrug and said
they didnt know. I chose not to continue the line of questioning as we had other tasks and not
enough time. But I believe the student showed preoperational stage with this task.
Task 2: Classification
After the first task, I set up the 8 items (a magazine picture, marker chalk, notebook
paper, typing paper, thumb tack, straight pin, tape, and a paper sack)and asked the child to group
them in whatever way they think go together. The student than said, okay and started on the
task. I did not give the student a time limit but asked them to do it quickly. First, the two pieces
of paper along with the paper sack and magazine picture. Then grouped group the pin and thumb
tack. And lastly the tape and marker chalk separately. So in all 4 groups (paper, sharp objects,
tape and the marker chalk) were created. After the student grouped the items, I asked him why
they didnt group the tape or chalk with anything else. They responded with there wasnt
anything that was the same as those things. This showed me that the student is still in the
concrete operational stage because the grouping was based on the physical features and like their
textures to group the items.

Task 3: Conservation
I set up two sets of plastic beads side by side and then asked if they had the same
amount or one set have more? The student expectedly answered that they had the same and
then spread one set out and reset it. The student responded with You take any out. After I
asked the same question. With the two balls of clay, the student said they looked like they had
the same size and shape in both balls. I then asked the student to make a snake or pancake and
the student than proceeded to make a long snake with one of the balls of clay. I repeated the
original question of do they still have the same amount of clay between the two of them? The
student said yes, because they didnt take any away. The student displayed the concrete
operational stage because the student knew that even with the changes, that it didnt change the
actual amount of the beads or balls of clay.
Task 4: Combination Logic
The last of our tasks for the day. I printed out 5 one digit numbers( 2,4,5,7,9) and gave
them to the student in a little pile asked them to make as many 3 digit numbers as they could in a
minute, we were running out of time, and I would write them down. First, the student laid them
flat on the table and started with the 2 and then added the 4 followed by the 5. So the student
was going from the lowest number possible (245) up to the highest number they could think of.
When the minute was over and I asked the student if this is what they were doing. The student
replied with yes. I then proceeded to ask them why they chose to do it that way. The student
replied that this felt like the easiest way to make different numbers. With the approach the
student chose by choosing an orderly way to come up with numbers so the student can be
classified in the formal operational stage.

PART B: Cognitive, Social, Moral Development


Note: I continued the case study a few days later because of the time constraints of the previous
session.
1. From the information gathered and from what I have learned about Piagets Theory, I
can use that information to identify what stage the student is in according to the
theory. The student for my case study was in grade 4 so according to the age
grouping they should be in the concrete operational stage. When the student was
completing their tasks, they should many characteristics of the concrete operation
stage like being hands on to solve problems in a logical fashion, understanding the
laws of conservation and able to classify and understanding reversibility in different
situations. While the student showed preoperational understanding of the first task,
they were able to complete the next two on the concrete operational stage but
excelling at the last task by approaching it showing characteristics of the formal
operational stage. What this shows me is that the student is average and is in the
stage they are supposed to be in. I look at the first task as being a bit too
overwhelming in the sense that the student is not familiar with the type of wording
and sentence structure of the story presented in the first task. They also may not have
been used to be just being read the story since they could not reference it since it was
not written in front of them and they did not have to read it aloud. They interpreted
the story in a much more literal way and did not think in the figurative understanding
because the story has a moral which is our best blessings are often
underappreciated. However, with the other tasks the student was able to solve the
problems in logical and timely fashions.

2.
a. Vygotskys zone of proximal development and the appropriate scaffolding
could help with the first task and could really apply to most students the
school systems. The student probably would not have learned much from peer
interactions because they only need exposure to the readings from the first
task. The student is very social with their fellow students. Gets along with
all of the students in the class is one of the higher achieving students in the
class and is often asked to tutor lower to middle achieving classmates. The
class is made up of students who are all from the same neighborhood, similar
backgrounds and socio economic status so it is easy for the student to relate to
their classmates.
b. According to Eriksons psychosocial stages, the student show that they the
Industry vs. Inferiority stage. The student is constantly being encouraged to
feel confident in their own goals and schoolwork. The student shows lack of
confidence and need to be approved by the teacher, which plays an important
part in the students growth. From what I have observed the last couple of
weeks, the student has no shown much of stage 5 (identity vs. role confusion).
I believe they are still a year or two from this stage because student still looks
for the approval on their parents and teachers.
3. According to Kohlbergs six stages of moral development, I would say that the
student is in the classification of conventional which is level 2. The student displays
social and gender norms while displaying a good attitude and not being affected by
the students who have a different attitude. I had observed that when confronted with a
situation where another student was being bullied by a classmate, the case study
student was the first to bring up what happened and tell me what happened. The

student explained that while it seemed that one student was the aggressor, which was
not the case as the student being bullied had engaged the bully earlier in the day by
provoking him with light physical jabs and verbal insults. The case study subject
knew that both the bully and student being bullied were one in the same and that the
consequences affected them both. The student understood the eye for an eye leaves
everyone blind concept but did not know the turn of phrase. So this showed me that
the student understood the authority and social order part of society. As far as
social norms, the student showed classic love of gender colors (blue for boy; pink for
girls) as well as making sure that they were a helper for the teacher so they would
receive praise from the teacher. Very high achieving and well behaved in the
classroom.