Spatial skills refer to abilities that involve visualizing and mentally manipulating objects, shapes, and locations. We use spatial skills in everyday life, whether following a diagram to put together a piece of furniture, doing a jigsaw puzzle, interpreting a graph in a news article, or navigating through buildings and neighborhoods.
Spatial skills are also tightly linked to students’ achievement in science, technology, engineering, and math. In preschool, children with stronger spatial skills tend to have stronger math skills.
Spatial skills are important for several reasons: They help students visualize math problems that are new to them (e.g., imagining three apples and two apples to solve 3+2), developing an accurate mental number line, using a “mental sketchpad” for arithmetic, visualizing dynamic scientific processes, and interpreting maps, graphs, and diagrams.
Importantly, all students can improve their spatial skills through practice. Improving students’ spatial skills improves their math achievement right away and sets them up for success in STEM coursework later on.
Each Excel Prep scholars completes a 3-D Project quarterly, with daily spatial skill activities.