Fall SAVY 2018, Day 2 – Psychology 101 (5th/6th)
Hello SAVY Parents!
We had another wonderful Saturday in Psychology 101. It is such a pleasure getting to watch these students critically examine and explore the field of psychology, and use their newfound knowledge in exciting and unexpected ways.
We started off the day with a review of some of the key concepts from last week, including the experiments we discussed (remember Harlow and his monkeys!), key aspects of experimental design (identifying independent variables and dependent variables), and the differences between correlation and causation. We then started on a discussion of the major areas of psychology: neuroscience, cognition, emotion, development, and social psychology. Our first stop was in the land of emotions, where we discussed the evolutionary rationale for different emotions. Ask your child to give you a few reasons why we have specific emotions like fear or happiness! Next, we named all the emotions we could think of and took turns identifying ways in which those emotions can be organized. This lead into our discussion of the two current leading theories of emotion: basic emotion theory and psychological construction.
After a delicious pizza lunch, we returned to explore the world of psychology further, this time discussing the developmental process. We learned about the stages proposed by Piaget and Erikson, and saw examples of specific psychological process that develop over the course of childhood, such as the law of conservation and theory of mind. We then transitioned into a brief, hands-on introduction to statistics, where we looked at the results of the survey we had all filled out the previous week. It turns out that there was a correlation between height and age in our class! But does that mean that age causes you to be taller? What could have affected that correlation (hint: Marcus and Kelly filled out the survey too!)?
We ended the day, after a break that included a spirited game of ninja, with a tour of the human brain. Brain coloring sheets in hand, we worked our way through the occipital, parietal, temporal, and frontal lobes, as well as the cerebellum and brainstem. We then discussed more specific areas of the brain, such as the hippocampus (ask your child what animal this part of the brain looks like), and how the brain is really a whole network of areas that are in constant communication with one another. Finally, we learned about three major classes of neurotransmitters and how they interact to influence our behavior.
It was fantastic working with everyone this weekend and we cannot wait to see you again on Saturday! We hope you all have a lovely week and, in the meantime, are thinking about some of the questions that we raised in class.
All the best,
Kelly and Marcus