For my observation, I chose to ask two children, brother and sister, help me to design and build a tree house. One child was a girl, age nine; the other was a boy, age six.
First, I asked what we would need to build a tree house. Both knew we would need wood and nails. When asked why, the boy said, “So it will stay together,” and the girl said, “To build it.” The boy said that we would need a hammer. When asked why, he said, “To nail it together.” The boy wanted windows. He knew we would need a way to get up to the tree house once it was built, but did not mention how we would get up there to build it. He wanted a television in his club house. I asked him how we would plug it in. At first he didn’t know, but then he decided that we would run an extension cord to the house to plug it in. I asked him if we needed a bathroom. He thought that was funny, and didn’t think he needed one because he was a boy. I asked if he thought his sister might enjoy a bathroom in the tree house, and he agreed that she would.
The girl did not agree with her brother on the bathroom. She knew tree houses did not have bathrooms, although she couldn’t tell me why, other than it would cost more money. After stating we would need wood and nails, she knew we would need money. I asked if we were going to put in windows, and she said no, not all tree houses have windows. They were too easy to fall out of. She knew we wouldn’t have electricity for a television. She didn’t think we needed to paint, because once again that would cost more money. She did know that we would need a way to get up to the tree house, but did not mention a way to get high enough to build the tree house. I asked if we were going to build one for her and one for her brother. She did not feel that was necessary. They could share because it would save more money.
In conclusion, I have learned that reasoning and logical thinking depend a lot on a child’s age. The six-year old boy’s ideas were based on his wants, and he...