Your second grader has figured out the ins and outs of elementary school, but even though he’s practically a school pro he’s still developing mentally. What are second graders capable of understanding? Jean Piaget, the psychologist credited with forming the theory of cognitive development in the late 1920s, created a list of the mental limitations for each age group. Here's what he said second graders were capable of comprehending:

  • A second grader can understand and manipulate symbols related to concrete objects. They can understand, for example, that a plus sign means addition and can use them when appropriate.
  • Second graders are becoming logical. Although there are still moments when they jump to conclusions, you'll be able to understand even their wackiest thoughts.
  • Reverse thinking should no longer be an issue. Although a child may have a tough time retracing his mental steps, he should be able to remember how he came to his conclusion.
  • Second graders are still a little egocentric, but much less so than they were previously. They believe everyone sees the world as they see it, but they can finally understand other people's points of view.
  • Second graders are able to tell if there is a difference in number, length and volume when comparing two objects. Older second graders should also understand substance. For example, if they are shown clay and then watch someone break it up into little pieces and then put the pieces back together, a second grader will know that it's still the same amount of clay.