Math 7-9

Systems Change
Math 7-9 > Factors > Spatial Skills

Spatial Skills

Factor Connections

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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.

Main Ideas

There are three main Spatial Skills:

  • Spatial Perception: Perceiving and visually understanding spatial information (e.g., features, size, position);
  • Mental Rotation: Mentally representing and rotating 2D and 3D objects in space quickly and accurately; and
  • Spatial Visualization: Performing multistep manipulations of spatially presented information.

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.

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