Spring SAVY 2022 – Psychology 101 for 3rd/4th Grade (Stuckelman)
We had a great time on Saturday, February 26th, exploring the wonderful world of Psychology in Psychology 101: Why are the doing that?!. This group of 3rd/4th graders entered class with a passion that was astounding. Each and every one of them clearly wanted to learn about the topic as much as possible during our time together. We began off the day by finding out the weirdest thing we all had in common with one another, such as unique vacation experiences, favorite shared teachers, and other such facts! We then watched some fun videos about the different areas of Psychology that exist in our world, as well as briefly discussed research methods (which many of them showed some great knowledge in, already).
We then had a fun debate about one of the key topics in Developmental Psychology: nature vs. nurture. A variety of great points were raised about the role of our genetic coding at birth in informing our future decisions, as well as how our family, friends, and experiences impact who we become in our lifetime. The enthusiasm that was shown during this debate was particularly impressive because many of our students did not end up on the side that they, themselves, believed was the right answer. We then covered some important topics in Developmental Psychology, such as empathy, theory of mind, and self-regulation (which included the Marshmallow Experiment: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yo4WF3cSd9Q).
After lunch, students then dove into Cognitive Psychology by talking about how our perception of the world can be fooled through optical illusions. Some of our students really enjoyed these tricks and asked to see more of them during our break times. We also talked about our earliest and most recent memories to illustrate the fact that as we grow older certain aspects of our memories continue to stand out while others may fade away. We ended our discussions of Cognitive Psychology by focusing on attention and thinking about whether we are always able to see on our entire environment. Students really loved the Gorilla example that we used (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vJG698U2Mvo).
Last but not least, students carried out their own experiment at the end of the day around the topic of Social Psychology and, specifically, conformity. We did about the Asch Line Test with lines and math! Students were keen to discuss why we may sometimes lean towards the majority rather than what we believe is right. As I said during class, I suggest that students try this with their own friends and family to see what results they find!
It was a genuine pleasure to work with these brilliant students last Saturday. Their energy and willingness to participate blew me and Ms. Maddie away. I encourage students to continue to foster their interests in the broad area of Psychology, and to continue to pursue their questions through research. If students want to do more of these kinds of experiments, I recommend looking at this website: https://www.sciencekids.co.nz/projects/psychology.html. Thank you for a great Saturday!