Project Prompts

For this writing project you will choose one of the following prompt options, each from a different stage of development.

I. Infant Development: Write a chronicle of a pregnancy, delivery, and the first few months (up to a year) of infant development. You will either interview a person who has recently had a child (preferably someone whose child is under 2 years of age) or if you have a child, you may use your own experiences. The key for this paper will be to analyze the story of pregnancy, birth, and early development in the framework of developmental psychology. In other words, you’re not just telling a story, you’re using the story as a venue to demonstrate your knowledge.

  1. Introduction: Open your paper by introducing who you’re going to be writing about and their relationship to you (own child or someone else’s child). Give the child’s current age and note anything of relevance to development (for example, if the child has Down’s syndrome, or any special needs, or shows normal development). If you are interviewing someone else you should have an outline ready and specific questions you wish to ask them about. Use your textbook chapters as a guideline for developmental issues you should ask about.
  2. Your paper should cover three distinct periods:
  3. Pregnancy: Focus on the mother’s prenatal care. What kinds of experiences did she have medically, physically, (and even emotionally) when she was pregnant. If there were any major concerns or complications (incompatible blood type, preeclampsia, etc.) during pregnancy please note them and describe how they affected both mom and baby (long term effects as well).
  4. Delivery: Unless there were any major complications with the delivery, this should be your shortest section. Describe the mother’s choices for delivery (i.e., natural, cesarean, home birth, hospital, etc.) Explain how and if the method of delivery affects development. If the baby was preterm or low birth weight spend some time describing how that affected the child.
  5. Infancy (first few months up to a year): This should be your longest section. You should include information on 1) physical dev (ch. 4), 2) cognitive dev (ch. 5), and 3) socioemotional dev (ch 6). You will not be able to cover every aspect of the chapter, but pick and choose issues that seem to be most relevant to the infant you are describing. You should focus on applying relevant theories (like Piaget or language development theories) not just facts.
  6. Conclusion: At this point, take the time to reflect on what you have learned. If you are writing about someone else, what kinds of things did you learn? If you are writing about your own experiences as a parent, what kinds of insight/new information did you learn.  Your last paragraph should give a logical conclusion and pull the whole paper together.
  7. References: you should use your interview and textbook as your main references, including any supplementary material provided during your lessons (videos, articles, web-pages from activities, etc). Only your textbook is required as a source but bonus points may be considered if you (accurately) use other source materials (provided they are valid and reliable sources meaning do NOT just do a google search- you should use scholarly published books or articles not website sources). Cite your textbook and any additional reference on a references page at the end of your paper.

II. Child Development: For this project, you get to play with toys! Many toy companies claim that their toys help children develop certain skills… but do they really?

Here’s an example: Research shows that children under the age of about 2 do not learn word/object associations from disembodied voices (they need a human component- specifically a face- to learn). So consider toys where you press the ‘red star’ and a disembodied voice says “star.” Based on the research, it doesn’t seem likely that, at least for very young children, this toy is actually helping development.

Focus on toys that are targeted at children between ages 3 and 11. Find two toys (either in your own house or at a toy store) that claim to have some educational/developmental value and then, based on what you have learned this week, critique whether or not the toys have actual developmental/educational value. 

You should consider all aspects of development (physical, cognitive, language, information processing, socioemotional development, etc.).

Things to be sure to address:

1. What does the toy do and what does it claim to help with developmentally (cognition, attention, etc)?

2. Research! What I’m looking for in this project is your ability to take the things you’ve learned from class and apply it to real life situations. Any claims or conclusions you make about the toy should be backed up by research. Use your textbook and supplementary materials as sources.

3. Try to find a toys for different aspects of development. Many toys claim to help cognition develop but what about emotional development? (maybe a toy that teaches about emotions?)

4. Be creative and have fun with it! Play with the toy yourself (you don’t necessarily have to buy it, just find a quiet corner in the store and pretend to be a kid) or find a kid (preferably not a stranger!) who is in the appropriate age range and ask them to play with it while you observe.

5. Make sure you have good essay structure (intro, body, conclusion) and grammar. Proofread!

Final notes for all prompts: Follow APA style (with a title page)

Your paper should be 7-8 pages long (including title page and reference page- so at least 5 full pages of content). Please submit work as a MS Word Document uploaded to Bb using the correct assignment portal. Use Times New Roman, 12 point font with 1” side margins. Submissions not following these guidelines may be rejected and re-submission (with late penalty) required.

Also, before you start writing, review the documents posted under the Project tab.

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