Have you ever been around a child who completely lost it because of some simple change—a broken cracker or a sandwich cut “wrong,” for example? It turns out these tantrums can arise because young children generally can’t understand “conservation”—that things can be the same even if they look different.

With the New York Times here, learn about a simple test—and watch a scientist test her own 4-year-old—to see how children misunderstand this concept!