Instructions for My Virtual Child Report 3 – Middle Childhood
The purpose of the My Virtual Child activity within The Dynamic Child is to simulate child development in a way that allows you to apply many of the concepts learned in the course.
The following are instructions for the middle childhood report. I am posting an example of past report. The main difference between tit and your report is that there were five “journal prompts”, but we only have four in now. Some of the questions are also different, and the instructions as to how much to write for each question are different as well.
Choose any four prompts from the list below for your report. Choose prompts for which you can find examples and research or theoretical points from the book to write a complete answer to the question. If you are struggling with a particular question, try another! Note that some of these are revised from the wording in the text, so use the wording below. Hints and brief rubrics are provided. You’ll turn in a Word document on Blackboard/Assignments. The document should list the journal prompt, and your answer below it. Use the drop-down menu and Timeline within My Virtual Child to access examples, as well as the textbook to prepare your answers.
List of Prompts
Prompt 10.1a (Revised) What activities does your virtual child engage in often enough that they might be associated with microstructural changes in the brain (such as cortical thinning and growth of white matter connections)? Hint: Read the textbook carefully to identify which brain areas grow most actively in middle childhood, and which activities might be associated with changes in white matter. Choose two examples of your child’s activities and explain how they might be a function of growth in gray or white matter and how engaging in the activities might promote changes in the brain (bi-directional influences).
Prompt 10.1b (Revised) Increases in self-control may be a result of integration among brain areas. Give a few examples that illustrate how your virtual child’s self-control has changed between ages 6 and 11. Hint: Describe three examples of improvements in self-control, or activities that necessitate improvements in self-control.
Prompt 10.2a. What physical activities does your virtual child engage in, and how do you think brain maturation, movement capacity, motivation, and opportunities for practice influenced those activities? Hint: Choose at least one physical activity and explain how it might benefit from each of the four aspects of the dynamic systems model discussed in the textbook. If you need to pick a second example in order to illustrate all four, that is OK.
Prompt 11.1a. What kinds of activities do you do with your virtual child (or what kinds of hobbies does your child have) that might promote an understanding of classification, seriation, or other concrete operational skills? Hint: Choose examples of your child’s behavior and activities that indicate an improvement in three of the following concrete operational skills, conservation, classification, seriation or transitive inferences.
Prompt 11.2a. What evidence from your experiences with your virtual child and from your child’s school behavior indicates improvement in aspects of attention between ages 6 and 10? Hint: Choose examples of your child’s behavior and activities that indicate an improvement in each of the three aspects of attention (sustained, selective and executive).
Prompt 11.2b. Which activities at home (such as types of games) or at school might stimulate your virtual child to use his/her working memory? Hint: Choose two activities at either home or school and explain how they stimulate three specific aspects of working memory, including the visuospatial sketchpad, the phonological loop and the central executive.
Prompt 11.3a (revised). How did your child’s scores on the subtests of the WISC s/he was given at age 9 correspond to abilities in other areas of school and life? Hint: Choose three particular subtest scores from the report, and relate each of them to a specific example of your child’s ability or lack of ability in particular areas based on your experiences with your child.
Prompt 11.3c. What experiences with your virtual child are representative of verbal, logico-mathematical, spatial, musical, and bodily-kinesthetic aspects of ability? Hint: Choose three aspects of multiple intelligence and give examples from your experiences with your child.
Prompt 11.4a. What signs of advances in language, metalinguistic skill, or communication have you noticed as your virtual child developed from 6 to 10 years of age? Hint: Choose examples to illustrate advances in all three aspects of linguistic skill.
Prompt 11.4b (revised). What signs of phonological decoding, growth of sight word vocabulary, and reading comprehension have you noticed in your virtual child at ages 6, 8, or 10? Hint: Choose examples to illustrate all three aspects of reading skill.
Prompt 11.4c (Revised). How is your virtual child progressing in math and science, and what activities (either at home or at school) might engage your child’s interest in either math or science? Hint: Include examples from your experience with your virtual child as well as from his/her report cards from school indicating advances in math and science. Describe one activity that might promote an interest in either subject.
Prompt 12.1a. How would you rate your virtual child’s self-concept in the five domains as well as general self-esteem? Hint: You can give a rating to all five domains and general self-esteem. Choose examples to support your ratings in three of the five domains.
Prompt 12.1d (revised). How has your child’s emotion regulation improved in middle childhood? Give examples of how your child has coped emotionally, cognitively, and behaviorally with strong emotions. Hint: Choose examples in which your child had to cope with stress, disappointment or strong emotions. Explain why you think your child’s behavior or thinking involved one or more of the coping mechanisms. Try to find examples of all three coping strategies.
Prompt 12.2a. Describe an example of co-regulation, and an example of gatekeeping with your virtual child. To what extent have you had to adapt your parenting to your child’s personality or to issues or problems your child has had in middle childhood? Hint: Answer all three parts of the question with appropriate examples from your experiences with your virtual child.
Prompt 12.3a and 12.3b combined: How important have friendships been in the social and emotional development of your virtual child? Does your virtual child appear to be socially accepted, neglected, or rejected by peers, and why do you think this is the case based on the research you just learned about? Hint: Describe your child’s friendships at ages 6, 8 and 10. Explain how, based on the research, friendships may have impacted your child’s social and emotional development. Give an example illustrating whether your child is generally accepted, neglected or rejected by peers. Finally, based on what you know of your child’s personality and social experiences with peers, form hypotheses as to why your child falls into the category she/he does.
Your answer to the journal prompts should refer to specific concepts within the question and should describe and/or explain the child’s behavior (see the Hints for instructions on how many examples to choose for each question). Always give the age of the child at the time of the example so we can find it. Answer all parts of the question. The principle you should follow in writing your answers is that you need to back up any statements you make with evidence, in the form of examples from items, questions and reports on your child. Think of yourself as a developmental scientist-parent. Do not make up examples from outside My Virtual Child to illustrate a concept.
We also expect you to use terms and concepts from the book. We will be grading you on whether you address all parts of the question asked, on correct use of appropriate concepts, on choosing relevant examples, and on clear descriptions of the examples. All sentences should be complete and grammatical. Do not write in bullet points or incomplete sentences! The sample reports posted on Blackboard in the Assignments folder provide examples of how to answer questions. It doesn’t matter if they use a different number of examples, or answer the questions in ways that deviate from the hints provided in this report. The samples are intended to illustrate in general how to write these essays, and roughly how long they should be, and should not be regarded as rubrics for this year’s essays. Remember that these reports had five prompts, and you have only four, so your report will likely be a page shorter than the samples. Depending on how succinct you are, you could turn in a perfect report that was only 3 ½ pages long. Maximum length should probably be about five pages.
To sum up, the document you turn in should have four responses to prompts from the list provided above. A general length guideline is ¾ to 1 page per prompt. For the TA’s readability, it should be double-spaced, 12 point font, with 1 inch margins top, bottom and sides. At the start of each response, copy and paste the journal prompt. You should put the prompt in bold to set off the four answers from each other.
You should always go through two drafts in writing your report. After you have finished, read back over your answers and edit them so that the answers have complete, grammatically correct sentences and make sense to you. We will not be grading for grammar per se, but if the grammar, and more importantly, the meaning, of your answers is unclear, we will deduct points. The biggest reasons for losing points are not answering all parts of the prompt, and not providing appropriate and clearly-described examples to support statements you make. Once your report is ready, go to Blackboard under the assignment tab and upload your document to “Early Childhood MVC Report.”