Monday, July 24, 2017

Spatial Reasoning Inquiry

Download Task Card Here
Spatial reasoning has long been an area of interest in the development of mathematical understanding for young children. Researchers are just beginning to understand the interplay between spatial reasoning and mathematics learning. In my role as a Math Coach this year, I got the privilege to work with 4 Kindergarten Educators who were interested in exploring how spatial reasoning tasks could support their students at a diverse, multi-cultural school. Educators at the school were looking to explore mathematical tasks that could provide entry points for all students, create opportunities for mathematical discourse and would support the development of conceptual understanding of important early mathematical concepts.
We decided on the following factors: 

  1. Pre and post assessments using Leaps and Bounds (Number Sense) and in Taking Shape (Perspective Taking observation)
  2. Specific and intentional math spatial reasoning tasks with at least 1 centre at all times available for students. 
  3. One guided spatial reasoning lesson a week. 
  4. ‘We Share Math’ during Whole Group Circle to support vocabulary use and procedural instructions (I built this by …).

Many tasks from the book Taking Shape were used in the classrooms.  We also had a collaborative Pinterest board that we pinned spatial reasoning ideas to.  If you are interested in seeing the pins, check them out  here.  Teachers also documented what they saw by using the app Pic Collage.  Here are a few examples:

All educators noted that this Collaborative Inquiry led to more student mathematical language, more student interest in math, and increased use of manipulatives. Students were more engaged and reported that they enjoyed the centres and often asked if they could engage in the spatial reasoning activities. Educators observed that there was more focus on math in general in their classroom and consequently more mathematical discourse. They noted that an intentional focus on math definitely led to more student participation and use of language ( I used these rectangles and triangles and turned it (flipped it) to make the shapes.).Because educators provided more challenging and more variety in math tasks, students had the opportunity to problem-solve and be creative and innovative in their learning. Educators participation in the inquiry and their personal professional learning led to the creation of a library of resources to support spatial reasoning.  Over 70 different spatial reasoning learning activities were collected.  

Participating in this inquiry has only brought up more questions to ponder about this fascinating topic.  I can't wait to continue this journey in September!


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