# Concrete Operational meets Electronic Devices

Suppose you have two groups of children in the 7 to 12 year-old category.

Group A plays about the average amount of time on computer games, spends about the average amount of time watching TV and spends the average amount of time on their cell phones. They also spend the average amount of time in after school activities such as sports or music.

Group A’s world of exploration is primarily limited to one found in a tiny square of glass powered by a battery.  Their powers of discovery can be challenged and expanded.  Some children are able to take the creativity and problem solving skills they learn inside the box and apply them to real life. However statistically speaking, this is limited to deconstructing or assembling items that do not require alteration.  They have skill building activities that are physical; these are limited to adult led events.

Group B does not have entertainment electronic devices primarily used in their homes and participate in fewer after school activities. Many of these children have chores that require them to manage their time and are physical in nature.

How does this work in the real world:

The child wants to climb a tree. The tree’s first limb is about 10 feet up.  He sees a pile of lumber near the tree. The boards are long.  There are some tools in a marked utility shed nearby.

Group A

The child obviously wants to get into the branches.
He looks at the boards with out sorting them out.
He tries to lean the longest two against the tree.
He rummages through the boards to see if there are grooves or notches (rungs).
He looks around for rope to tie the boards together.
He even tries to alter the idea and make a ramp.  Slips as he tries to climb it.
He mutters that he needs a hammer and nails.
But finds the situation frustrating.
Total elapsed time five minutes.
Sits down and is board.

Group B

The child wants to get into the branches.
He looks at the boards and rummages through them to see what is there.
He leans the longest two agains the tree.
He stops for a while and looks at the pile and looks at the longest two.
He puts his hands on his hips and looks around.
He spots the shed and asks if there are tools he can use.
He acquires his tools – saw, hammer, and nails.
He has never sawed before and it is a slow go.  He gets frustrated and walks away.
He comes back.  He starts sawing aging.
He manages to get five rungs sawed and then uses tons of nails to attach the rungs.
He climbs the tree.