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It is quite clear in the research related to the work of Piaget that persons need many years of practice in meaningful understanding and manipulating relationships with the aid of concrete-empirical props. Gradually they develop greater facility in performing these operations and they are able to perform the same operations without relying upon props. In other words, "hands-on", "eyes-on" experiences are essential prerequisites for the development of advanced reasoning abilities.
On the basis of this developmental theory, classroom activities may play a central role in the improvement of student reasoning. Given the possible importance of classroom experiences , does it make any difference what kind of classroom exercises we ask students to perform? We have done some research on the cognitive development of college students in response to instructional experiences. We will suggest in this module some of the implications that we deduce from the work of Piaget and Karplus. You can use your classroom as an environment to study the cognitive development of your students.