Spatial reasoning--or thinking about objects, their locations and shapes, their relations to one another, and the paths they take when they move--is key to helping kids succeed in the STEM disciplines, according to Temple University professor Nora Newcombe. How can teachers grow their students' spatial reasoning skills in fun and creative ways, even if the idea of teaching geometric principles scares them a little? Check out the ideas below for some easy and engaging resources for teaching spatial reasoning:
- Tessellations: Combining plastic or paper shapes to make various tessellations has long been a go-to tool for math teachers. Take your tessellation studies up a notch with the interactive tessellation creator tool found on the NCTM Illuminations website.
- Origami: Kids naturally love origami. Share with them the TED Talk by Robert Lang, "The Math and Magic of Origami," before challenging them to make the dodecahedron on this blog.
- Drawing or building geometric shapes: Having kids construct shapes naturally improves their spatial thinking. Start them off with some of the activities in our books, Drawing Stars and Building Polyhedra and Hands-On Geometry, or check out the many activities involving geoboards (including DIY instructions for making geoboards) on Pinterest.
- Puzzles: Give your spatial reasoning experts a true challenge with the difficult puzzles in our book, Spatial Reasoning Puzzles That Make Kids Think!