Why are spatial skills important?
Spatial Problem-solving, Assessment, and Curriculum for Everyone (SPACE) Program
Spatial thinking skills are critical to many technical and non-technical careers, not to mention many everyday tasks such as assembling furniture or interpreting a stock report graph. In technical careers, spatial literacy is thought to be a gatekeeper, discouraging students who do not have these skills from pursuing careers that require such spatially-intensive courses as organic chemistry or engineering drafting.
To address the everyday and specialized need for spatial skills in our society, ththe goal of this project is to create a spatial thinking research center at Auburn University that will focus on incorporating spatial literacy into the K-12 curriculum.
Project objective: Broaden our knowledge of how spatial reasoning skills align with and enrich K-12 education while also promoting among teachers the motivation to include spatial skills training throughout the curriculum (including science, mathematics, social studies).
Develop a program for pre-service teachers that introduces the domain of spatial reasoning, encourages future teachers to find connections to the K-12 curriculum, and develops their spatial skills and ability to teach spatial reasoning.
Provide 6th to 8th grade students curricula that develop their spatial reasoning skills related to math, science, and social studies content.
Build a professional learning community between AU and local school districts to provide in-service teachers and administrators with learning opportunities related to why spatial reasoning skills are important and how they can be developed during the school year through add-on instructional activities aligned with (and promoting) state standards.
Conduct basic research related to measuring spatial skills in middle school students and finding connections between spatial reasoning and problem-solving in science, math, and other content domains.
This project is funded by an Intramural Grant Program award at Auburn University to Dr. Joni Lakin and Dr. Chris Schittka.