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EXPLORING VISUOSPATIAL THINKING IN LEARNING ABOUT MINERALOGY: SPATIAL ORIENTATION ABILITY AND SPATIAL VISUALIZATION ABILITY

  • Gokhan OzdemirEmail author
Article

Abstract

This mixed-method research attempted to clarify the role of visuospatial abilities in learning about mineralogy. Various sources of data—including quantitative pre- and postmeasures of spatial visualization and spatial orientation tests and achievement scores on six measures and qualitative unstructured observations, interviews, and field trip notes—were utilized to document the abilities and learning of 27 university students. Results indicated that (a) some students had initial difficulty with certain visual concepts, such as 3D crystal models, symmetry elements, mirror symmetry, rotation, inversion, and combination of symmetry elements while they were learning about mineralogy; (b) learning about mineralogy and spatial ability are two interrelated components; while the mineralogy course improved students’ spatial ability, their existing spatial abilities had a strong influence on facilitating mineralogy learning; and (c) spatial visualization skill is a better predictor of mineralogy achievement than spatial orientation skill. While the discussions highlighted the role of visuospatial thinking in learning about mineralogy, it is argued that researchers and curriculum developers should focus on the productive role of visuospatial thinking in learning about science.

Key words

chemistry and geology education mineralogy learning science education visualization 

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Copyright information

© National Science Council, Taiwan 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of Education, Department of Science EducationNigde UniversityNigdeTurkey

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