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Improving Spatial Reasoning Skills

By Inderbir Kaur Sandhu, Ph.D

Q: I was hoping to be advised on workbooks materials that will help me work with and test him with Spatial reasoning.

I have several gifted books that touch on this subject and I have been looking online but I'd rather ask an expert for what you would recommend to eliminate the chances of accidentally selecting material that would not be effective or perhaps even suitable.

He is in Kindergarten but is advanced and will be tested for gifted this year and he is an advanced reader (4th grade comprehensive reader) as well as can do 1st grade as well as some 2nd grade math already. Which is why they said they wanted to test him this coming year.

I plan on continuing to work with him holistically but I really need direction and advice on spatial reasoning which is what they recommended I do.

What workbooks and materials do you recommend I can get for my child and I so that we can focus on Spatial reasoning and better his chances of doing well enough to be accepted in the gifted program?

A: Spatial ability is the capacity to understand, reason and remember the spatial relations among objects or space. This ability can be viewed as a unique type of intelligence distinguishable from other forms of intelligence, such as verbal ability, reasoning ability, and memory skills. Spatial reasoning is a category of reasoning skills that refers to the capacity to think about objects in three dimensions and to draw conclusions about those objects from limited information. Someone with good spatial abilities might also be good at thinking about how an object will look when rotated. Spatial reasoning is a skill that can be improved with training and practice. Spatial reasoning is not a biologically determined cognitive trait as was once thought to be the case.

Please refer to "Spatial Intelligence in Children - Practical Activities"

Research findings indicate that it is relatively straightforward to improve the spatial reasoning abilities of children even before they start formal schooling. It can be accomplished when adults interact with children during their play using a variety of playful, appealing, yet effective spatial toys and activities such as wooden unit blocks, puzzles, Duplo®, Magna Tiles®, pattern blocks, attribute blocks, and paper folding activities such as origami and paper airplane making. A key factor influencing spatial skills development in these examples are the spatial words, spatial gestures, questions and challenges that the toys and the play evoke from adults. Parents need to play a big part here.

Additionally, you could also try reading to them “spatially challenging picture books” such as Zoom by Istvan Banyai, Actual Size by Steven Jenkins and Shrinking Mouse by Pat Hutchins. These books appear to examine scenes from various angles or perspectives, include maps and spatial language, or feature illustrations that require close spatial attention to decipher their meaning.

As for digital platform to improve spatial skills, you could use the U.S.-based National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) and their creation of "illuminations" and Ontario Mathematics Gazette.

Hope the above helps. Best wishes.


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