#34 Formal Operational Thinking

#34 Formal Operational Thinking
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  • In a high school chemistry class a teacher asks her students to evaluate a situation. Because these students are adolescents in the formal operational stage they should be able to evaluate this hypothetical situation using abstract reasoning.
  • If this room were to be filled with Helium, would the gases surrounding us be stable or unstable?
  • One student thinks to himself about his ability to answer the question. He displays "personal fable" because he holds the belief that he is "unique or special"so he shouldn't be afraid to brag about his intelligence.
  • My parents tell me all the time that I'm unique and the most intelligent person in my class. I know that everyone in my class is impressed by my intelligence so I'm going to answer.
  • Derek demonstrates egocentrism because while he believes that everyone views him as the smartest, in reality they are annoyed by his arrogance and view him as equally intelligent.
  • I really hope Derek doesn't answer this question. He thinks hes so smart but we all know hes just as intelligent as the rest of us.
  • Derek uses problem solving skills and judgement to quickly answer a question about a hypothetical situation.
  • It would be unstable because helium is an unstable gas.
  • Great Work! Can anyone explain how Derek got his answer?
  • The student uses deductive reasoning, an important type of logic, to describe how the students will come to the correct conclusion.
  • That's correct!
  • It's because all noble gases are unstable and since helium is a noble gas it must be unstable.
  • Because the students are adolescents in the formal operational stage they are able to use abstract logic, problem solving skills, and judgement to solve a problem about a hypothetical situation.
  • Great job class! I'm so glad that I teach adolescents who are capable of solving problems like these.
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