Piaget & Cognitive Development Lesson Plan

Instructor: Sharon Linde

Sharon has a Masters of Science in Mathematics

Teach your students about developmental theorist Jean Piaget with this lesson plan. Students start off watching an information-packed video, then discuss content and apply it with an activity.

Learning Objectives

After this lesson, students will be able to:

  • explain Piaget's theory of cognitive development
  • define and use key terms correctly
  • describe the six assumptions of Piaget's theory


  • 1 - 1.5 hours


  • Short video clip of a child or children playing

Key Vocabulary

  • Jean Piaget
  • Scheme
  • Assimilation
  • Accommodation
  • Equilibrium
  • Disequilibrium

Curriculum Standards

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RST.11-12.1

Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of science and technical texts, attending to important distinctions the author makes and to any gaps or inconsistencies in the account.

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RST.11-12.2

Determine the central ideas or conclusions of a text; summarize complex concepts, processes, or information presented in a text by paraphrasing them in simpler but still accurate terms.

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RST.11-12.4

Determine the meaning of symbols, key terms, and other domain-specific words and phrases as they are used in a specific scientific or technical context relevant to grades 11-12 texts and topics.

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RST.11-12.5

Analyze how the text structures information or ideas into categories or hierarchies, demonstrating understanding of the information or ideas.


  • Connect students to learning by showing a short video clip of a toddler or young children interacting. Ask students to observe and take notes, then discuss observations.
  • Tell students they will be learning about a theory of how young children learn and grow by a person named Jean Piaget. Share and discuss prior knowledge. Preview or pre-teach vocabulary.
  • Start the video lesson Piaget's Theory of Cognitive Development. Instruct students to take notes as the lesson plays.
  • Pause at 3:08 and discuss:
    • What three ideas influenced Piaget's theory?
    • What four factors did Piaget say influence the growth of intelligence?
    • What role does scheme have in Piaget's theory?
  • Have students begin to list the six assumptions already covered in the lesson and discuss, then resume the lesson.
  • Pause at 5:38 and ask students to share an example of assimilation and accommodation with a seat partner. Listen in to ensure student understanding.
  • Discuss:
    • Why did Piaget believe interaction with the physical environment is essential for growth?
    • What is an example of interaction with the social environment?
  • Resume the lesson, pausing again at 7:02. Ask students to share a personal experience of disequilibrium and discuss how it helped them to grow and develop.
  • Make sure students have all six assumptions in their notes, then resume the lesson.
  • Pause at 8:33 and ask:
    • How can preschool teachers implement Piaget's theory in their classrooms?
    • How have you seen Piaget's theory implemented in your own lives?
  • Play the Lesson Summary and allow students to complete notes.

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