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Spatial Thinking Improves Math and Science Skills

spatial thinkingA couple of recent studies point out that we need to help our kids focus on spatial thinking as it helps them with critical math and science skills.  They’re saying that too much effort is being put into math exercises that involve pen and paper and not enough that teaches kids about dimensions – how tall is that desk, how far away is that car?

Researchers at the University of Chicago came to the conclusion that young kids who understand how shapes fit together are also better at the use of a number line and solving computation problems.  The study published this month in the journal Developmental Psychology, asked kids in grades one and two to select one shape from four that would correctly complete a square.  The students that completed this task also scored the highest on a measure of mathematics ability at age eight.

So what can we parents do to help our kids with their spatial thinking?  Playing with blocks and puzzles helps.  Having conversations with our kids about objects as we play with them also helps, prompting them to observe and think about the world around them. Verbalizing terms such as ‘over’, ‘around’ and ‘through’ helps improve children’s spatial awareness.