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ERIC Number: EJ1200228
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2019
Pages: 6
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-0148-432X
Spatial Thinking and STEM: How Playing with Blocks Supports Early Math
Zimmermann, Laura; Foster, Lindsey; Golinkoff, Roberta Michnick; Hirsh-Pasek, Kathy
American Educator, v42 n4 p22-27 Win 2018-2019
The last 15 years have witnessed a quiet revolution in the understanding of spatial skills, and the authors are finding that these all-important science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) competencies are rooted in spatial knowledge. Spatial skills are the tools use to visualize and navigate the world. Spatial skills allows people to manipulate objects in their environment and in their minds. They allow people to compute and store relations between objects. Like gravity, these skills for granted, although they are use them all the time. Despite important research findings on the impact of early spatial and math learning on later academic success, many schools lack the knowledge, resources, and capacity to focus on STEM and spatial learning in developmentally appropriate ways. In this article, the authors propose that spatial learning and STEM should be taught as early as preschool. To build upon supporting children's learning through guided play, educators can incorporate project-based learning to encourage spatial and mathematical learning in the early years. Project-based learning is a teaching method where students gain knowledge and skills by working to investigate and respond to a complex problem, question, or challenge.
American Federation of Teachers. 555 New Jersey Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20001. Tel: 202-879-4400; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Preschool Education; Early Childhood Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A