Imagine parking your car in a crowded shopping center parking lot. After visiting a few stores, you walk outside to go home. How do you know where your car is? Did you look for any markers before you went inside to help remember where you parked? Did you note whether your car was to the left or right of the building entrance? These everyday experiences involve spatial awareness.
Spatial thinking is a set of mental skills that we use to reason about the shape, size, position, direction, and movement of objects. It includes shape awareness and spatial awareness. We use spatial thinking every day without even thinking about it. You use it to pack the trunk of your car, select the right size pot for cooking pasta, or locate a store on a map.
Spatial skills are an essential part of school readiness. It is important to practice and develop them from the first year of life. Spatial thinking is necessary for success in all STEM (Science, Technology Engineering, and Math) fields. But we’ll focus on the relation between space and math in this module.
- Direction and movement
- refers to the path along which a person or object moves
- Shape awareness
- is the ability to recognize and identify shapes
- Space and position
- refers to the relationship between objects
- Spatial awareness
- includes understanding shape, size, space, position, direction, and movement
- Spatial language
- refers to words that describe the location of objects in space
- Spatial thinking
- is a set of mental skills that we use to reason about the shape, size, position, direction, and movement of objects