Embodied Task to Promote Spatial Reasoning and Early Understanding of Multiplication

Putra Putrawangsa, Sitti Patahuddin

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Although numerous research findings strongly confirm the intense link between spatial reasoning and mathematics competency (e.g., Barmby et al., 2009; Gunderson et al., 2012), less study has been conducted focusing on how spatial reasoning can be used to facilitate mathematical understanding (Lowrie et al., 2020; Newcombe, 2018; Newcombe et al., 2019). As spatial reasoning is naturally embodied (Thom et al., 2015; Thom & Hallenbeck, 2021), one way to promote spatial reasoning in mathematics learning is through engaging students with embodied tasks (i.e., the tasks that stimulate physical and sensory systems). The link between spatial reasoning and embodied experiences is described by Thom et al. (2015) in the following assertion, “A child who engages in the act of mentally rotating a shape is not just performing an act of spatial reasoning. She is demonstrating embodied mathematics. She is recursively enacting her embedded and embodied knowing (p. 81).” Here, spatial reasoning is about how bodies regularly sense and make sense of the situations of the physical world. Therefore, the potential of the embodied task as a learning strategy is grounded on the theory of embodied cognition. The theory claims that our knowledge or cognition is shaped by the experience of our physical and sensory systems within our environment (Shapiro, 2019; Shvarts et al., 2021; Varela et al., 2016). The embodied theory highlights two important points; first, cognition is contingent on the types of experiences gained by having a body with different sensorimotor abilities; and, second, these individual sensorimotor abilities are themselves inherent in the larger biological, psychological and cultural contexts (Varela et al., 2016).
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 44th Annual Conference of the Mathematics Education Research Group of Australasia
EditorsNoleine Fitzallen, Carol Murphy, Nicole Maher
Place of PublicationAustralia
PublisherMathematics Education Research Group of Australasia Inc.
Number of pages8
ISBN (Print)9781920846336
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2022
EventMERGA44 - Mathematical Confluences and Journeys: 44th Annual Conference of the Mathematics Education Research Group of Australasia - Launceston, Launceston, Australia
Duration: 3 Jul 20227 Jul 2022


ConferenceMERGA44 - Mathematical Confluences and Journeys
Abbreviated titleMERGA


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