Spatial reasoning at the zoo

Research output: Other contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review


Mathematics trails have been common for many years and this one focussed on three-dimensional (3D) shapes at a zoo. Out-of-classroom mathematical activities generally inspire students to engage in mathematics. This presentation provides a qualitative analysis of Year 4 students’ visuospatial reasoning during these learning experiences. The main way of understanding how students were thinking was from observation and interactions at the zoo as they were completing their mathematics trail workbooks together with their workbook entries. These were captured on videotape. At each station, students were encouraged to make different kinds of representations of the buildings and structures in the zoo, and were asked to reason about different spatial arrangements and objects. Students’ reasoning involved one-, two- and three-dimensions. Despite the active 3D geometry experiences, the usual class routines in one class consisted of individual work directed by the teacher going through a worksheet. This routine impacted on students’ verbal language, collaboration, and attempts to problem solve in the 3D geometry experiences. There were follow-up individual videotaped interviews about paper-and-pencil items on 3D geometry to assess how students were visuospatially reasoning after the learning experiences. This presentation provides analysis of students’ insights, language, what they noticed, ways of mentally manipulating images, and the types of strategies or tactics used to respond to the items. Visuospatial reasoning was evident in their predicting possible results of manipulations of a net to produce a 3D shape, perceiving parts of wholes, and focussing on certain features.


Conference2018 STEM Education Research Centre Spatial Reasoning Conference
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