Spatial visualization and measurement of area: A case study in spatialized mathematics instruction

Danielle Harris, Tracy Logan, Tom Lowrie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to explore the influence of spatial visualization skills when students solve area tasks. Spatial visualization is closely related to mathematics achievement, but little is known about how these skills link to task success. We examined middle school students’ representations and solutions to area problems (both non-metric and metric) through qualitative and quantitative task analysis. Task solutions were analyzed as a function of spatial visualization skills and links were made between student solutions on tasks with different goals (i.e., non-metric and metric). Findings suggest that strong spatial visualizers solved the tasks with relative ease, with evidence for conceptual and procedural understanding. By contrast, Low and Average Spatial students more frequently produced errors due to failure to correctly determine linear measurements or apply appropriate formula, despite adequate procedural knowledge. A novel finding was the facilitating role of spatial skills in the link between metric task representation and success in determining a solution. From a teaching and learning perspective, these results highlight the need to connect emergent spatial skills with mathematical content and support students to develop conceptual understanding in parallel with procedural competence.
Original languageEnglish
Article number101038
Pages (from-to)1-18
Number of pages18
JournalThe Journal of Mathematical Behavior
Volume70
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2023

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