FN#4:draft#1:Puzzles, Gender, Intelligence

From: Christie M. Thomas
Submit: Post Field Note
VisitDate: 10/21/96
Collaborative: Selected
Informal: Selected
Date: 19 Nov 1996
Time: 23:52:35
Remote Name: tsa-40.ucsc.edu



Ariana, female, grade 5 Iban, male, grade 3 Christie, female, undergrad (me)


Ariana and I were playing the Lion King game. I watched as she played the video excepts from the movie one by one. I think the loud music and cute little videos attracted Iban over to the computer where he stood by and watched. We all laughed and talked about who saw the movie etc. After Ariana played and we watched all the videos, Ariana left the game and Iban sat down at the computer. I watched. He decided to play the puzzles. He moved all the pieces off the game board and clicked to get the hint (this lightly outlines all the pieces and their places on the board). He asked me where to put a piece and I told him I usually start with the pieces w/ the straight sides and corners because I can tell they belong on the borders. He thought about it but I noticed the next piece he picked up was not a straight/corner border piece but he found its place just fine. He continued, we mentioned looking at color to figure out where the pieces go, and also by looking at promient features in the puzzles (like faces etc). Iban did very well on the puzzle, finding the correct location for the pieces fairly quickly.


Iban is a very intelligent little boy. In most my experience/observations of him he has bee talkative, directive of other kids (My FN#2), and he has shown pretty wide knowledge of most of the games on which I've seen him play.

In this event, we continuosly collaborated about the game and how to find the correct position for the pieces. He asked for my suggestion, I told him about strategies I would use, some he used himself some he didn't. He had his own way and it worked really well because he completed two puzzles in a short time, putting some pieces in that I didn't even see how they fit.. but they did.

When I observe characteristics such as Iban talkativeness, and his directiveness of other kids( sometimes to the point where he is taking over a game) and his overall skill at playing many of the games and call him a "intelligent little boy" am I viewing only a set of behaviors characteristic of and encouraged in boys, behaviors that are sterotypically believed to be indicators of intelligence?

My point being (and this is something that has occured to me during this process of writing this field note) that I've never written "so and so" (a girls name) is a very intelligent little girl. Not that I don't believe any of the girls I've written about are intelligent but I'm reflecting on the fact that many behaviors characteristic of girls aren't readily labeled as indicators of "intelligent" while behaviors characteristic of boys (stereotypic) ARE seen as indicators of intelligence. What do you think?

Ariana is most times very quiet and she doesn't(I haven't seen it) take over a game and direct kids how to play. Because she isn't running around talking, being assertive, etc. etc, doesn't mean she know any less. Yet I myself have never mention her intelligence in my notes.


Considering this above mentioned tendency, how do we more accurately/fairly assess boys and girls learning/knowledge?

Our ways of measuring must be sensitive to kids (boys and girls) differing ways of being and not biases to one over the other.