Two children are shown three glasses of water. Two glasses are the same size (short and wide), and the third is tall and thin. The two short glasses have the same amount of water and the tall glass is empty. The teacher asks the first child (who is 4 years old), "Which glass has more water?" The child responds, "They are the same." The teacher asks the second child (who is 12 years old) the same question. The child responds, "They have the same amount of water." The teacher pours the water from one short glass into the tall glass. The teacher asks the first child, "Which glass has more water?" They point to the tall glass. When the teacher asks why it has more, the child says, "Because it's taller." The teacher asks the same question to the second child, who responds, "Both glasses have the same amount of water. They had the same amount in the short glasses, and now they have the same amount in the different size glasses." What Piagetian concept does this scenario represent? Which cognitive developmental stage is each child in?
This scenario represents Piaget's concept of conservation. Conservation is the understanding that the amount of a substance stays the same regardless of its shape or the number of pieces it is divided into. The first child is in the preoperational stage (ages 2-7); they do not understand that the amount of water stays the same even though the glasses are different sizes. The child sees the water as being "shorter" or "taller"; "shorter" meaning less and "taller" meaning more. The second child is in the formal operational stage (ages 11+). They understand that the amount of water is the same between the different sized glasses. They have an understanding of abstract concepts such as volume or weight which represent the "amounts" of substances.
Compare and contrast the civilizations of Egypt and Mesopotamia. What contributed to their success? What are some similarities and differences between Egyptian and Mesopotamian religion, literature, government, and writing?
Mesopotamia and Egypt were both riverine societies, meaning their civilizations were based around a river. Mesopotamia (part of Sumer) was located at the end of the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers, while Egypt was located along the Nile River. The rivers provided rich soil to grow crops and sustain populations. However, the Nile River was more beneficial to the Egyptians while the Tigris and Euphrates posed a threat to the Mesopotamians. When the rivers overflowed in Mesopotamia, they carried away homes and killed many people. In Egypt, every year the river at the northern part of the Nile (known as the Delta) overflowed and carried rich nutrients into the land. The Egyptians used this yearly flooding to time their planting and harvesting of crops, and were not in danger since they knew when it would come. Both Mesopotamia and Egypt can contribute part of their success to having stable governments. City-states in Sumer, such as Mesopotamia, were ruled by kings who were believed to work in service of the gods. In Egypt, pharaohs (kings) were believed to be incarnations of the god Horus. In both societies, kings had divine rule, a "gift from God" to rule. However, Egyptian society differs in that kings were actually seen as gods. Mesopotamian writing used cuneiforms, an alphabet of wedges and lines that represented sounds. Their literature reflected their view on life, which was mostly pessimistic; Mesopotamians believed their survival rested in the hands of the gods and if they did not please the gods, they would die. The Mesopotamians wrote poetry, epics, and used writing to keep records of trade and commerce. Most importantly, in Mesopotamia the first written code of law came into existence -- Hammurabi's Code. In Egypt, there were two forms of writing: hieroglyphs, or "sacred carvings", that were used by the elite primarily for religious or ceremonial events. Hieroglyphs were written on tomb walls for burial purposes. Young men born into nobility could train to become a scribe, an expert in writing hieroglyphs, which took many years. The other form of writing was Demotic, an alphabet used by the common people. This was used in everyday writing such as records and poetry. Egyptian literature is full of mythology, which reflects their value on the afterlife and pleasing the gods, and living a just life.
What role did conquistadors have in Spain's expansion into the Americas, and what were some of their motives? Explain the long-term effects of Spanish expansion on Natives, Africans, conquistadors, and Spain itself.
Conquistadors were conquerers who volunteered to travel across sea and explore new lands. Many were former military soldiers, the younger sons of noble families who could not inherit land because inheritance went to the eldest son. The prospect of military adventure, unlimited land, and vast wealth was enticing to many of these soldiers, as well as the lower classes. For the clergy class, their aims were different; they hoped to convert the Natives from "paganism" to Christianity. Conquistadors attacked Native empires, and although they had fewer men, they were successful in capturing land. There were three main aspects to their success: guns, swords, and disease. The Spaniards' superior weaponry easily defeated the Natives' more primitive weapons. Additionally, the conquistadors brought European diseases such as smallpox that killed around 90% of Native Aztecs and Incas. Conquistadors captured and killed Native emperors, and took their wealth in gold, silver, and other precious items. Gold was melted down into gold bars and taken back to Spain. Africans were enslaved to work in the colonies and help the Spanish Empire grow. They made it possible for their European masters to profit from tobacco, silver, cotton, and other goods. Conquistadors paved the way for European expansion and settlement further into the Americas; successful conquistadors acquired large amounts of wealth in gold and silver and became known as famous conquerors and fighters. Spain benefited significantly from expansion into the Americas; once a poor nation, they suddenly flourished with wealth and were able to build cities in Spain and maintain colonies in the Americas.