Nine - year - olds are hesitant rebels, eager to challenge authority, yet not quite ready for independence. Argumentative, explorative, restless, self- conscious, and gang-conscious, they are indeed a handful for any parent - or teacher.

The nine - year - old is an explorer. He has discovered that the world is a big and exciting place; he is eager to roam far and wide.

The nine - year - old is a joiner. He has begun to give up the pleasures of rugged individualism for the greater advantages of the group, the club, the bunch, the gang.

The nine - year - old is restless. He is busy examining, absorbing, rejecting, and challenging himself and his world. With so much to attract and distract him, his attention span is short, as is his patience. This is the time when his education should come in short, juicy bites.

The nine - year - old is not an easy conformist. You can offer him health and safety rules by the dozen, and he will carefully ignore them all until he feels convinced.

The nine - year - old is imaginative. Fantasy, mystery, and adventure occupy his daydreaming, and much of his conscious thinking. He travels far in time and space.

The nine - year - old is argumentative. He has discovered his mind and his powers of speech, and is happy to use either or both at the drop of a hat.

The nine - year - old is self-conscious. He is interested in his physical self, but he rejects the rules of health and hygiene per se; they must first make sense to him. To make sense they must be based on direct tangible cause and effect experiences.

The nine - year - old is interested in himself as an individual, a person with unique thoughts and feelings.

From Science in Your Life by Herman and Nina Schneider