Summer SAVY 2019: Session 3, Day 1 – Psychology and Experimental Design (Rising 3rd/4th)
We had a wonderful first day learning about the mind and experimental design! I was 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 what the mind is and how our minds might be influenced by our experiences.
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. They will be referring to this research notebook throughout the week as they begin to plan their own experiments.
Our first challenge today was defining “the mind” and understanding how it differs from the brain. Our students did a great job comparing and contrasting these two things. Next, students created collages to identify what was in their own mind, thinking about how individual experiences result in very different ways of thinking. To expand on this idea, students visited different stations where they thought about how, for example, iPads, art, books, music, or even smells could influence the mind (or how we think and feel). We will further investigate their thoughts on this when we explore experimental design in the next few days.
Once our researchers had a stronger understanding of the mind and of what molds our minds, we dove into how developmental psychologists might study the mind and how it relates to human behavior. Students learned about observing behavior and how to perform different interview techniques; our researchers applied what they learned to create their very own measures and practiced collecting data from their classmates. Students also got to watch actual footage of common measures psychologists use to study the minds of babies and children.
Before the end of the week, students will have the knowledge necessary to develop experiments and measures of their own as we get closer to developing the student’s final research projects. I look forward to seeing what they come up with!