Ideas > Architects of the Intellect > Plaget: Constructed Learning
Piaget's (1970) work influences today's classroom through designs of constructed learning. In these designs, students manipulate subject matter and objects representing the subject matter content as they interpret their findings and form ideas and concepts about the experience.
Piaget theorized that the learners' interactions lead to structural changes in how they think about something as they assimilate and accommodate incoming data.
The influence of Piaget's designs are easy to spot in K-12 classrooms. One might see students messing around with an assortment of objects and magnets or experimenting gingerly with the idea of bouyancy as they test various items in the water basin.
Students might be stringing and restringing electrical circuitry or manipulating Cuisenaire rods as they master the concept of fractions.
Pendulums may be tested again and again as the arc is measured and conclusions are drawn.
Constructed learning is witnessed in much of the hands-on learning seen in classrooms, including the discovery and feedback loop of complex computer software programs. Constructing meaning based on one's interpretation of the data, as Piaget postualtes, is at the heart of science inquiry.