Looking within and beyond the geometry curriculum: connecting spatial reasoning to mathematics learning
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- Mulligan, J. ZDM Mathematics Education (2015) 47: 511. doi:10.1007/s11858-015-0696-1
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This commentary adopts a broad perspective in considering the contributions of papers from cross- and interdisciplinary fields of mathematics education, psychology, child development and neuroscience. The discussion aims to complement the commentary by Dindyal, focused on background research on geometry and implications for pedagogy and curricula. Spatial reasoning is considered as a common underlying theme salient to most of the papers in this issue. The fundamental role of spatial ability or visual thinking skills in young children is traced through the various theoretical approaches of studies ranging from concepts such as perspective taking, symmetry, and two- and three-dimensional shape, to the role of technological tools in mapping and location. Intervention studies to promote early spatial reasoning also provide insight into effective transformative practices. New questions are raised about the crucial development of spatial reasoning in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education. The commentary suggests the need for a more strategic research agenda that aims to coordinate the key questions and methodologies that investigate what may seem common problems.