Lesson Plan Industry Sector
Education, Child Development, and Family Services

Lesson Plan Originally Created By: Anya Gurholt

Cognitive Development: Piaget

Part of Unit: Theories of Development

Lesson Plan Overview / Details

In this lesson, students will learn and discuss the Piaget's cognitive developmental theories. In addition, students will learn and use the words  theory, cognitive, developmental, and conservation as it pertains to the developmental theories of Jean Piaget.


1 class period
60 Minutes


Consumer and Family Studies (CFS) Standards Detail

ECDFS – F10.3 Students understand the importance of studying child growth and development from infancy through adolescence.


ECDFS – F10.3.2 Identify the stages, areas, and principles of child growth and development.


Objectives and Goals

  • Students will take notes on and discuss the Piaget's cognitive developmental theory.
  • Students will identify and describe the four stages of children's cognitive development, according to Jean Piaget.
  • Student will define and use the words theory, cognitive, developmental, and conservation as it pertains to the developmental theories of Jean Piaget.
  • Students will observe and conduct a task for logical thinking, by observing and taking notes on a preschooler's behavior.

Activities in this Lesson

  • Introducing Piaget Hooks / Set

    Write the following on the board / overhead prior to class.

    Choose one of the following statements about brain research and write one paragraph explaining how an early childhood/ infant experience(s) could have a significant impacted on intelligence / later learning:

    • Brain development begins within a week of conception.
    • The brain develops more rapidly between birth and age five than any other period in life.
    • Stimulation and experiences during early childhood sets the stage for future cognitive processes.
    • The right input at the right time is critical for a child to fully develop his or her potential.

    Give students 5-10 to write their response.

    Then have students turn to a partner and share their written response. After students share in pairs, ask the class if anyone heard anything particularly intriguing from their partner. 

    NOTE: If there is concern about all students choosing one or two of the above statements, have students number off (1, 2, 3, 4) and assign all 1's the first statement, all 2's the second statement, and so on.

  • Tell the class that we will be learning about children’s cognitive development and about a Swiss child psychologist named Jean Piaget. 

    Students should retrieve their class notebooks to take notes on Piaget (NOTE: choose either the Piaget PowerPoint if an LCD projector is available, otherwise use the Piaget lecture notes). While students are note-taking, explain each of the points and ask students to provide possible examples to illustrate each point.

    Resources and Materials

  • Explain that Piaget’s concrete operational stage is the third of four stages of cognitive development in Piaget's theory. This stage, occurs between the ages of 7 and 11 years and is characterized by the appropriate use of logic.

    To demonstrate what is meant by the appropriate use of logic, explain Piaget’s theory of conservation understanding that quantity, length, or number of items is unrelated to the arrangement or appearance of the object or items. 

    Use the video clip "Conservation Demo," to show students the concept of appropriate logic. 

    Resources and Materials


Assessment Types:

In order for students to demonstrate that they have a clear understanding of Piaget's theory of logic development in children, students will observe and interact with a pre-schooler (age 3-5). Students should use the "Observing Piaget's Tasks" observation sheet attached to guide their interaction/observation. 

Students will choose one of Piaget's tasks for logical thinking (conservation of length, conservation of area, conservation of liquid, conservation of mass, or conservation of numbers). Student's choice should be based upon what materials are available to them while working with the preschooler. 

Students will complete the task-test with a preschooler and record their observation notes on the "Observing a Preschooler's Thinking Skills" sheet, which is attached to the "Observing Piaget's Tasks" handout. 

Students should be given a minimum of 4 days to complete the assignment, as it will be necessary to coordinate a time to work closely with a preschooler. 


No resources are included, yet.