ERIC Number: EJ1093954
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 52
Gesture Supports Spatial Thinking in STEM
Stieff, Mike; Lira, Matthew E.; Scopelitis, Stephanie A.
Cognition and Instruction, v34 n2 p80-99 2016
The present article describes two studies that examine the impact of teaching students to use gesture to support spatial thinking in the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) discipline of chemistry. In Study 1 we compared the effectiveness of instruction that involved either watching gesture, reproducing gesture, or reading text. The results indicate that students in the reproducing gesture condition produced significantly more gestures while problem solving than students in the other two groups and significantly outperformed the other groups on study measures. In Study 2 we compared the effectiveness of gesture to an instructional approach that involved manually handling concrete models without gesture. Students performed equally well in both conditions; however, students taught with concrete models performed significantly worse if concrete models were not available during assessment. These studies show that gesture is an effective strategy for supporting spatial thinking in STEM disciplines and that this benefit may result from physically simulating spatial transformations.
Descriptors: Undergraduate Students, Organic Chemistry, STEM Education, Research Universities, Spatial Ability, Nonverbal Communication, Instructional Effectiveness, Problem Solving, Object Manipulation, Simulation, Statistical Analysis, Accuracy
Routledge. Available from: Taylor & Francis, Ltd. 325 Chestnut Street Suite 800, Philadelphia, PA 19106. Tel: 800-354-1420; Fax: 215-625-2940; Web site: http://www.tandf.co.uk/journals
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Sponsor: National Science Foundation (NSF)
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: DRL1102349