Behavior Research Methods

, Volume 51, Issue 2, pp 602–638 | Cite as

Make-A-Dice Test: Assessing the intersection of mathematical and spatial thinking

  • Heather BurteEmail author
  • Aaron L. Gardony
  • Allyson Hutton
  • Holly A. Taylor


Individuals with better spatial thinking have increased interest and greater achievement in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines (Wai, Lubinski, & Benbow in Journal of Educational Psychology, 101, 817–835, 2009). This relationship means that STEM education may benefit from leveraging spatial thinking, but measures of spatial thinking as they relate to specific STEM disciplines are needed. The present work presents an assessment of spatial and mathematical reasoning, called Make-A-Dice. In Make-A-Dice, individuals are presented with a cube net (i.e., a flattened cube) with numbers on two sides. Their goal is to “make a dice” by filling in the blank sides using two rules: opposite sides add to 7, and the numbers 1 through 6 should be used once each. Make-A-Dice was given to adults (Study 1) and elementary students (Studies 2 and 3) along with math, spatial, and other measures, across two sessions in all studies. Make-A-Dice had both internal and test–retest reliability, with items ordered by difficulty. Furthermore, performance was related to spatial and mathematical reasoning. In Study 1, adults reported a range of strategies used to complete Make-A-Dice, and one strategy predicted performance. Studies 2 and 3 showed that Make-A-Dice is age-appropriate for elementary students. Make-A-Dice shows promise as an individual-difference measure linking spatial and mathematical thinking and has the potential to identify elementary-aged children who may benefit from spatial training.


Mathematical reasoning Spatial thinking Spatial visualization Working memory 


Author note

We thank George Wolford for guidance on statistical models, and Aleksandra Kaszowska for feedback on the manuscript drafts. We also thank Ruchira Parikh, Maya Salcido White, and Tess Cotter for data entry and analysis on Study 2, and Avi Block, Logan Zhang, Jay Naborn, Maya Salcido White, Meghan O’Brien, Myrna Lyncee, Olivia Nicholson, and Ruchira Parikh for data entry and analysis on Study 3. This research was supported by the Institute of Education Sciences, US Department of Education, through Grant No. R304A140151 to Tufts University. The opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not represent views of the Institute or the US Department of Education.


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Copyright information

© The Psychonomic Society, Inc. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyTufts UniversityMedfordUSA
  2. 2.Center for Applied Brain & Cognitive SciencesMedfordUSA
  3. 3.Cognitive Science TeamU.S. Army Natick Soldier Research, Development, and Engineering CenterNatickUSA
  4. 4.Think3d!WashingtonUSA

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