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ERIC Number: EJ1395168
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2023
Pages: 58
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0305-7267
EISSN: EISSN-1940-8412
Students Need More Practice with Spatial Thinking in Geoscience Education: A Systematic Review of the Literature
McLaughlin, Jessica A.; Bailey, Janelle M.
Studies in Science Education, v59 n2 p147-204 2023
Myriad research in a variety of contexts shows spatial skills benefit students; however, they are not given enough attention in classroom instruction. In this review we systematically explore geoscience education literature focusing on spatial interventions to answer research questions on trends in spatial skills and other characteristics. We narrow our attention to studies published since numerous calls to action to teach more spatial skills in STEM education, resulting in 28 articles for review. To analyse and compare these studies, we organise the literature into a framework of geoscience-relevant spatial skills. We reviewed interventions and assessments to determine the aligning spatial typology skills. Themes of coursework, mapping, and modelling emerged; sub-themes include sketching, gestures, physical models, computer models, and curricular interventions. In the articles reviewed, just over half of the skills identified were intrinsic skills. Future geospatial research should explore how best to incorporate spatial skills into the classroom over long time periods and should focus on the process of spatial reasoning and the strategies students use when problem-solving about spatial phenomena, especially at the elementary and secondary school level. Educators can use the resources outlined in this review to engage in spatialising their curricula.
Routledge. Available from: Taylor & Francis, Ltd. 530 Walnut Street Suite 850, Philadelphia, PA 19106. Tel: 800-354-1420; Tel: 215-625-8900; Fax: 215-207-0050; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Information Analyses; Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A