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Teaching and Learning


Miranda Lin

Mentor Department

Teaching and Learning


In the study, I will present an analysis of the movie “Brave” (2012) using Piaget’s constructivism and stages of cognitive development (Follari, 2019). This theory touches on the role of a child’s environment in the education process. Each stage describes how a child uses his/her intuition and prior knowledge to advance his/her understanding of the world around him/her. Moreover, Constructivism is the teaching style that enhances this learning process, allowing the students to formulate their own strategies and concepts, using their contact with their environment, through minimal direct instruction from the educator. I have used this theory to analyze the movie because the main character, Merida, learns through her personal experience, working with her environment and reflecting on her actions to reach an understanding of the spell cast on her mother and come up with the antidote. In the movie, there are a few facilitators to this learning, just as teachers would facilitate learning in the constructivist classroom. However, for the most part, Merida uses her own previous knowledge of her country and the legends told to her as a child, as well as her own intuition to solve the witch's riddle. Additionally, one witnesses Merida working through the stages of development, proposed by Piaget, throughout the movie. She works with her senses at first obtaining a very simple understanding of her situation, then she starts to use concrete objects, in trying to reverse the spell. Finally, she accumulates all of the knowledge she built throughout the movie to end up with a very post-operational thought process in her final attempt to save her mother, a form of self-reflection and abstract comprehension of the witches’ spell and riddle. A brief description of Merida’s experience in each stage of cognitive development accompanied by a summary of the movie will be addressed. Further, examples of how teachers may use this education style and theory in the classroom, along with a testament to its success rate among students will be provided.


This project has not received IRB approval.

Constructivism and Piaget's Stages of Cognitive Development: Effective or Not.

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