Summer SAVY 2019: Session 2, Day 1 – Psychology in Action (Rising 5th/6th)
We had a wonderful first day exploring symbols as a class; Ms. Emily and Mr. Israel were very excited to have the opportunity to work with a new generation of researchers! It is clear that each member of our new research team is coming in with a lot of experience and great ideas about how symbols are created and how they affect us.
Each child in the class started the day by receiving their own notebook so that they have a place to write down their thoughts and questions, and to keep track of key information as the course develops.
A main goal in our class is to develop a working definition of a symbol that will guide the design of our experiments later in the week. Our students created collages to identify what they believed to be symbols and the various functions that they play in their lives. Together, we started on our working definition of a symbol, “something that stands for something other than itself.” With Venn diagrams, our researchers compared and contrasted symbolic objects such as books, TVs, pictures, and miniature replicas. Our researchers astutely noted that physical similarity isn’t necessary for an object to stand for or represent another object or idea.
With our working definition in hand, we dove into how developmental psychologists might study comprehension of symbols in children. Students carefully dissected actual footage of toddlers using miniature objects, pictures, and television to complete various tasks. How did the researchers measure success? What were the various procedures used in the experiments? What features of the symbolic objects made it easier or harder for the children to succeed?
Before the end of the week, students will have the knowledge necessary to develop experiments of their own that get at even more complex features of how we understand and use symbols!
Tonight, students have taken an assignment home with them. The goal of their assignment is to represent a story using a picture or a short video. These visual depictions will be used in a class experiment exploring how intent and experience impact the interpretation of symbols.
Mr. Israel and Ms. Emily