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# Reasoning (page 4)

By Pearson Allyn Bacon Prentice Hall
Updated on Jul 20, 2010

Concrete operations also enable children to nest classes and relationships. Nesting simply means being able to group smaller classes within larger superordinate classes and to subordinate single relationships to multiple relationships. With respect to nesting classes, imagine that you are in a kindergarten with ten boys and eight girls. The children take roll every morning and know how many children there are in the class as well as the number of boys and girls. If you ask a five-year-old child in this class whether there are more boys or girls in the class, he will instantly respond, "More boys than girls, eight girls and ten boys." If you then ask, "Are there more boys or more children in the class?" the child appears perplexed and answers, "There are more boys than girls." At this stage, the child does not have a general concept of children that subsumes the class of boys and the class of girls. By the age of eight or nine, children can nest all sort of concepts. They know that eagles and robins are birds and that tulips and roses are flowers.

Nesting family relations follows a similar pattern. For example, if you ask a five-year-old child whether he has a brother, he may answer, "Yes, his name is Robert." If you now ask the child, "Does your brother Robert have a brother?" he is likely to answer, "No." At this stage, the child cannot nest the brother relation within a pattern of relationships and grasp that if he has a brother, his brother must have a brother as well, namely, himself. Children of seven or eight, however, readily acknowledge that their brothers have brothers. Similarly, if you show a child of five or so three objects and ask whether the one in the middle is on the right or the left of the object on the right, the child will say that it is "in the middle." He is as yet unable to nest relations and see that one and the same object can be both on the right of one object and on the left of another. Older children handle this question with ease.