Developmental Psychology Classroom Activities

August 28, 2017

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The following teaching resources were created by those who teach Developmental Psychology or a related topic. Every resource is designed to help instructors make their classes as engaging and thought provoking as possible. Some resources are class activities, summaries, figures, hour-long lesson plans, and snippets to augment longer lesson plans. Please consider submitting your best teaching ideas.

Developmental Psychology Teaching Resources

Piagetian Thinking or Information Processing Task Analysis: A class demonstration where even college students fail to reach concrete operations provides a bridge to discussing information processing theory, by introducing the ideas of task analysis and working memory.

Infant Habituation & Dishabituation: A class demonstration involving a magic trick where one of many balloons does not pop illustrates how we study conceptual development during infancy.

Carol Gilligan's In a Different Voice: A class-long structured discussion of Gilligan's famous work on moral development. Excerpts from her book emphasize the broader questions about how we can take our perspective as 'normal' and bias the way we understand developmental psychology.

Canalization in Attachment Theory: A demonstration to dramatize why attachment styles are relatively stable and illustrate the broader psychological theme that our way of construing reality impacts reality.

Are men from Mars and women from Venus?: A lesson explaining the difference between a categorical and statistical difference, an effect size, and a meta-analysis. A handout summarizes robust sex differences.

Jean Piaget's Genetic Epistemology: A one page summary graph of Piaget's famous theoretical book Genetic Epistemology to provide structre for a graduate class discussion.

Research Methods & Statistics Teaching Resources

Confirmation Bias: On the first day of class, I introduce our emphasis on how developmental psychologists discover things with this short activity that illustrates how challenging it is to be good scientists.

Factor Analysis: Learn about factor analysis using a metaphorical sea monster only partially visible above the sea. The metaphor helps intuitively explain a statistical approach that is central in debates about the underlying nature of temperament (intelligence (e.g., "g"), personality (e.g., big 5), and attitudes (e.g., ABC model).


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