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Cognition & General Knowledge

This domain recognizes a child’s search for meaning as the basis for intellectual development. 

Exploration, Discovery, and Problem Solving

Uses multi-sensory abilities to process information:

  • Uses senses and a variety of strategies to investigate information
  • Uses senses to generalize and apply prior learning

Understands new meanings as memory increases:

  • Remembers and recalls events
  • Recognizes functional uses of items in the environment
  • Practices and applies new information or vocabulary to an activity or interaction (representation and symbolic thinking) 
  • Generates a rule, strategy, or idea from a previous learning experience and applies to a new context

Applies problem solving skills:

  • Demonstrates awareness of a problem
  • Asks questions, seeks information and tests out possibilities
  • Determines and evaluations solutions
  • Makes statements and appropriately answers questions that require reasoning about objects, situations, or people
  • Uses multiple strategies to solve problems

Mathematical Thinking

Demonstrates an understanding of numbers and counting:

  • Explores numbers and imitates counting
  • Arranges sets of objects in one-to-one correspondence
  • Can rote count and counts concrete objects to 5 and beyond
  • Recognizes some numerals and associates number concepts with print materials in a meaningful way. Names and writes some numerals

Understands number operations and relationships:

  • Compares concrete quantities to determine which has more, less or the same
  • Recognizes that a set of objects remains the same amount if physically rearranged.

Explores, recognizes, and describes shapes and spatial relationships:

  • Explores shapes and spatial relationships
  • Recognizes basic shapes
  • Assembles puzzles of at least 15 intersecting pieces (5-10 at age 3, 15 at age 4; 25 at age 5)
  • Categorizes objects based on physical or functional similarity
  • Matches objects
  • Sorts and/or describes objects by one or more attributes or characteristics

Uses the attributes of objects for comparison and patterning:

  • Uses positional and comparative words to demonstrate understanding direction and location e.g., on-top, below, bottom, over, under, above, on, and next to
  • Recognizes , duplicates, extends simple patterns and creates original patterns
  • Locates which out of 5 objects does not belong in same class or category

Understands the concept of measurement:

  • Recognizes objects can be measured by height, length, and weight
  • Determines more, less, many, and few
  • Compares and orders by size
  • Categorizes and sequences time intervals and uses language associated with time in everyday situations

Scientific Thinking 

Uses observation to gather information:

  • Recognizes and responds to differences in the environment
  • Purposefully seeks information through observation to satisfy curiosity or need for answers.
  • Discriminates properties of nature, using a variety of senses (part to whole, living/non-living, weather, etc.)

Uses tools to gather information, compare observed objects, and seek answers to questions through active investigation:

  • Uses button/levers to produce desired responses
  • Uses books to look for information
  • Uses magnifying glass (hand lens), binoculars, and maps for investigation of the environment.
  • Makes comparisons between objects that have been collected or observed.

Hypothesizes and makes predictions:

  • Asks questions, seeks information and tests out possibilities
  • Asks simple scientific questions and draws conclusions based on previous experience

Forms explanations based on trial and error, observations, and explorations:

  • Identifies and investigates the physical qualities of living and nonliving things.
  • Explores and formulates conclusions based on observation and past experiences.
  • Makes reasonable explanations, using data gathered from observation and experiments


Department of Curriculum and Instruction:
Phone: 414-475-8179

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