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We use our Spatial Skills to mentally manipulate objects and numbers. These skills are foundational in the development of Number Sense and Geometric Reasoning and allow for later math learning, as visualizing and mentally manipulating numbers and representations in space can be an effective way to solve math problems.
There are three main Spatial Skills:
Individuals differ in Spatial Skills. For example, boys often outperform girls in tasks of mental rotation, one component of Spatial Skills. This gender gap is small in early childhood but grows larger throughout development into adolescence. Importantly, Spatial Skills are malleable, and both boys and girls show substantial improvements with Spatial Skills training.
Continual use of foundational skills with different problems reinforces a conceptual understanding of math skills.
Daily review strengthens previous learning and can lead to fluent recall.
Thinking of and about patterns encourages learners to look for and understand the rules and relationships that are critical components of mathematical reasoning.
As students walk through stations working in small groups, the social and physical nature of the learning supports deeper understanding.
Adding motions to complement learning activates more cognitive processes for recall and understanding.
In guided inquiry, teachers help students use their own language for constructing knowledge by active listening and questioning.
Spending time with new content helps move concepts and ideas into Long-term Memory.
Practicing until achieving several error-free attempts is critical for retention.
Math centers with math games, manipulatives, and activities support learner interests and promote the development of more complex math skills and social interactions.
Math games allow students to practice many math skills in a fun, applied context.
Providing physical and virtual representations of numbers and math concepts helps activate mental processes.
Visual representations help students understand what a number represents as well as recognize relationships between numbers.
Connecting information to music and dance moves enhances Short-term and Long-term Memory by drawing on auditory processes and the cognitive benefits of physical activity.
When teachers connect math to the students' world, students see how math is relevant and applicable to their daily lives.
Math games and manipulatives for vision differences support math development for learners with visual needs.
Children's literature can be a welcoming way to help students learn math vocabulary and concepts.
Spaces that are structured, organized, and clean provide increased room for collaboration and active learning.
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