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Getting Started with Spatial Thinking Sarah Witham Bednarz Texas Alliance for Geographic Education Texas A&M University.

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Presentation on theme: "Getting Started with Spatial Thinking Sarah Witham Bednarz Texas Alliance for Geographic Education Texas A&M University."— Presentation transcript:

1 Getting Started with Spatial Thinking Sarah Witham Bednarz Texas Alliance for Geographic Education Texas A&M University

2 Mapping It Out… What is spatial thinking? Why is it important: Making the case… –U and U The AGSSS Project (briefly) Concrete strategies YOU can use to build students’ geographic (and spatial) awareness and capabilities

3 Geographic/Spatial Thinking Knowledge, skills, and habits of mind To use –Concepts of space –Tools of representation –Processes of reasoning To structure problems, find answers, and express solutions to these problems.

4 Thinking Spatially What do we mean by “Space” –Key concepts: Distance, direction, point, region etc. What are examples of “Representation” –Maps, diagrams, graphs, charts, concept maps What is “Reasoning” –Ways of thinking: cognitive strategies, problem solving methods, decision making skills

5 Thinking Spatially Requires… Spatial/geographic knowledge –Concepts Spatial/geographic ways of thinking & acting –Strategies Spatial/geographic capabilities –Tools and technologies

6 Why is Geo-Spatial Thinking Important? Spatial thinking is important in science & social sciences Spatial thinking is important in the workplace Spatial thinking is important in daily life Success in geo-spatial thinking is aligned with success in school

7 We wish to suggest a structure for the salt of deoxyribose nucleic acid (DNA). This structure has novel features which are of considerable biological interest. Watson and Crick, 1953

8 Dr. John Snow

9 Doherty Senior Research Scientist Lex van Geen, center, analyzing well water in Arahaizar Upazila with the prototype of a new field-kit for arsenic -- part of a 5-year epidemiological and earth science study of the arsenic crisis in Bangladesh funded by the Superfund Basic Research Program.

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13 Why is Geo-Spatial Thinking Important? Spatial thinking is important in science & social sciences Spatial thinking is important in the workplace Spatial thinking is important in daily life Success in spatial thinking is aligned with success in school

14 ST in Learning Social Sciences Maps

15 ST in Learning Social Sciences Maps Population Pyramids

16 ST in Learning Social Sciences Maps Population Pyramids Circle Graphs

17 ST in Learning Social Sciences Line Graphs Bar Graphs

18 Why is Geo-Spatial Thinking Important? Spatial thinking is important in science& social sciences Spatial thinking is important in the workplace Spatial thinking is important in daily life Success in spatial thinking is aligned with success in school

19 Workplace

20 Workplace

21 Workplace

22 New Yorker Cartoon

23 Why is Geo-Spatial Thinking Important? Spatial thinking is important in science & social sciences Spatial thinking is important in the workplace Spatial thinking is important in daily life Success in spatial thinking aligned with success in school

24 Everyday Life Reading a newspaper Finding the toilet in an unfamiliar place Navigating around a supermarket

25 Everyday Life Reading a newspaper Finding the toilet in an unfamiliar place Navigating around a supermarket Packing the trunk of your car

26 Everyday Life Reading a newspaper Finding the toilet in an unfamiliar place Navigating around a supermarket Packing the trunk of your car Assembling furniture

27 Everyday Life Reading a newspaper Finding the toilet in an unfamiliar place Navigating around a supermarket Packing the trunk of your car Assembling furniture Installing a baby seat

28 Why is Geo-Spatial Thinking Important? Spatial thinking is important in science & social sciences Spatial thinking important in the workplace Spatial thinking is important in daily life Success in spatial thinking aligned with success in school

29 Fundamental Learning Skills Spatial thinking helps us to –Remember | navigate –Understand | measure –Reason | create meaningful maps and interpret them –Communicate | non spatial reasoning tasks Spatial thinking plays a major role in learning, remembering, and problem solving. Facilitate encoding of information Recall of information Strategies to solve problems Transfer of problem solving skills to new domains

30 Description v. Depiction The cat’s room is on the left side of the rabbit’s room. The pig’s rooms is on the left side of the cat’s room. The dog’s room is in front of the pig’s room. The bear’s room is on the right side of the dog’s room. The frog’s room is on the right side of the bear’s room. PIGCATRABBIT DOGBEARFROG

31 U and U U and… U biquitous ninstructed

32 Getting Started …Standards Revision Standard 1, 1994 –How to use maps and other geographic representations, tools, and technologies to acquire, process, and report information Standard 1, 2009 –How to use maps and other geographic representations, geospatial technologies, and spatial thinking to understand and communicate information Standard 3, 2009 –Inclusion of a strand focused on the development of spatial concepts, from K to 12 th grade Overall integration of geospatial technologies within the expectations of what students can do with what they know across the 18 Standards

33 Getting Started…

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35 Advancing Geospatial Skills in Science & Social Science (AGSSS) Working with Teachers Working with Students

36 Getting Started… Observations “Zoom in to a location at the edge…” Understanding spatial thinking is a challenge. Language is a barrier. Student spatial thinking preferences change with explicit instruction. Spatial thinking can be taught. –Questionnaire

37 Strategies to Support Geographic Thinking Spatialization Awareness Gestures Language S A G L

38 Spatialization Set ideas into spatial contexts See similar things as close, dissimilar things as far Maps, maps, maps Help students develop the ability to recognize scenes/places from different perspectives Enhance the spatial aspects of activities

39 Awareness Set ideas into spatial contexts See similar things as close, dissimilar things as far Draw & use diagrams, graphs, sketches to both think & communicate –Look for patterns, clusters, outliers & anomolies – And teach with and about them explicitly Seek relationships among spatial patterns –Comparing maps to seek relationships

40 Gestures Gestures capture spatial information. Gesture spatializes ideas that are not inherently spatial –e.g. two points of view; coming into conflict, being negotiated Boys are better at mental rotation tasks than girls. Boys use their hands to gesture more than girls to talk about motion.

41 Concrete Strategy Be conscious of gestures Expose students to other people’s gestures Encourage students to use gestures themselves Gesture is an ideal tool to explore what students know about space

42 Strategies to Support Spatial Thinking Make good use of language – spatial language--how to describe patterns, remote sensing, scenes – how to describe locations – provide students with a rich vocabulary to think and write about spatial relations – ask students to talk about/write about maps, pictures, etc.

43 Region & Hierarchy Group Category Formal Nodal Classification HIERARCHY position enclosure subdivision subregion area in larger area REGION

44 Sequence Transition Gradient Slope Gradual/steep Blend Rate of change

45 Getting Started with Spatial Thinking A simple formula: (instructional time) + (materials) + (activities) In the context of a supportive environment that gives students multiple opportunities

46 Click here to full extent (zoom all the way out). Use this to turn the small state map off/on. Click a folder to expand or collapse the associated layers. ACTIVE LAYER: Check the box next to a layer name to make the layer visible on the map. Once a layer is visible on the map it can be selected as active. Return to the previous view of the map. Zoom in either by clicking on the map, or by clicking and dragging a rectangle. Zoom out by clicking on any point on the map. Click to measure between points on the map. Find features in layers of the map. A buffer is a zone showing distance to a feature on the map. Create a buffer around a feature using the SELECT tool. Click to ask a question (Build a Query). Build a query on the ACTIVE layer allows you to compare data to solve a problem. IDENTIFY a feature on the ACTIVE layer by clicking on the map. Clear all selections and measurements on map. Click here to return to the welcome page. Interactive Mapping Service Help Map Scale * Layers marked with an asterisk cannot be selected as the active layer. ^ The area surveyed overlaps district boundaries. ^^ The area surveyed overlaps district boundaries; demographic numbers derived from sample data. Click on a visible layer's name to make it active. Making a layer active will make it visible on the map. A layer must be active in order to use any tools on it. The active layer is highlighted in yellow. Reload map. Identify the selected layer and the tool selected. Click to open A layer is a set of data that can be viewed on the map. Click here to view layers. To view the map legend click here. Map legend only shows ACTIVE layers.

47 Geographic Thinking & Learning Summary: Students SHOULD… Summary: Students SHOULD NOT…

48 A Values Proposition What is the value of thinking spatially? What is the harm if students cannot think spatially?

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