Accessible Shapes: Geometry   Western Reserve Public Media
Geometry and Spatial Sense

Geometry and Spatial Sense Overview


Have you ever lost your car in the parking lot? Or given bad directions? Both tasks require spatial reasoning. Historically we have considered spatial thinking to be less important than other subjects in the school curriculum. A recent report from the National Research Council argues the importance of spatial literacy.

“In ‘Learn to Think Spatially,’ a study group chaired by Roger M. Downs of Pennsylvania State University states that without explicit attention to [spatial thinking], we cannot meet our responsibility for equipping the next generation of students for life and work in the 21st century.”

Newcombe, Nora S. “A Plea for Spatial Literacy.” Chronicle of High Education 52.26 (2006): Print.

Spatial thinking gives us unique insights into various science, technology, engineering and math disciplines such as visualizing the processes involved in the earth’s formation, visualizing images from MRI tests, and reading graphs, charts and diagrams.

There is strong evidence that women perform more poorly than men on visualization tasks. There is also some evidence that differences exist based on socioeconomic status. Increasing evidence shows that we can teach spatial-thinking skills. Newcombe did a meta-analysis of the studies in the last 15 years and found that teachers can improve spatial sense through practice with specific tasks and some computer games.

Teaching spatial sense reduces the differences related to gender and socioeconomic levels and helps people to participate fully in our technological society.


This unit deals with the following standard:

Geometry and Spatial Sense

Grade 6

05-07 Benchmark

I. Identify and draw three-dimensional objects from different views (top, side, front and perspective).


Y2003.CMA.S03.G05-07.BI.L06.107 Visualization and Geometric Models /

07. Build three-dimensional objects with cubes, and sketch the two-dimensional representations of each side: i.e. projection sets.


In this module, students will begin by taking a formative assessment to assess their current learning on this topic. The teacher will watch a video explaining the purpose for studying this topic and the lessons in the module. The students will watch a video about this topic, do the lessons in the teacher guide, create a final project and finish with a summative assessment about spatial sense. Copyright©2011, Northeastern Educational Television of Ohio, Inc. All rights reserved.
Overview Geometry and Spatial Sense Angles, Triangles and Quadrilaterals Surface Area and Volume Online Resources Teacher Materials Watch Accessible Shapes: Geometry Online Geometry and Spatial Sense Overview Introduction to Spatial Sense Mirror Images PowerPoint Presentation Topographic Maps Using Topographic Maps Topographic Maps PowerPoint Presentation Building a Climbing Wall Building Mat Mirror Image Mirror Image Answers Buildings Matching Buildings Formative Assessment Formative Assessment Answers Most and Least Building Contest Reading Topographic Maps Summative Assessment Summative Assessment Answers