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Math Challenge


10 November 2023

BY: Jason


Spatial reasoning helps your child succeed in maths. Naturally you want your child to be good in maths as it’s a fundamental skill critical to how we live our lives and will help determine your child’s future success.

In your child’s pre-school years, a lot of focus would have been placed on spatial reasoning, how your child understands the way things move in relation to the space around them.

They got to explore five core aspects of spatial reasoning:

  1. ‍Relationships between objects – Babies naturally use touch to learn about the world around them. That continues into school, where children develop simple maths skills as they work with jigsaw puzzles and sort shapes.
  2. ‍Language associated with directing position and direction – Prepositions of place get used to describe where objects are, such as on the table, in the cupboard, or under the bed. When they build with building blocks and bricks, they become aware of differently shaped pieces. They learn to identify shapes that are the same and different, whether a piece fits in a space and that a different size may be needed instead.
  3. Remembering where things are – Simple memory games can build spatial memory and set the groundwork for maths memory. Treasure hunts are a good way for children to work on spatial memory, hiding toys and giving clues for them to be found.
  4. Sense of direction – Getting children to draw on maps and trace a route helps with spatial memory and also builds a sense of direction. Children notice patterns and landmarks and learn to navigate their way back by remembering what they had seen on the route.
  5. Understanding perspective and forming mental images – This skill combines all the other skills and is formed when a child can visualise an object from another person’s perspective. Looking at objects from different angles and following instructions to build a Lego model from provided pieces also helps develop this skill.


‍So what do these elements of spatial reasoning have to do with maths?


Spatial reasoning will stand your child in good stead in their maths development as they progress through school. Developing spatial reasoning encourages children to experiment and give something a go. They learn not to give up when encountering difficulties and that there are other approaches they can take. And, more obviously, they learn to think critically, which is important in their later maths experiences.

‍Without having mastered the elements of intuition, memory, understanding and confidence in the face of difficulty, your child will struggle with later maths, which relies on all of these in order to solve problems and reason critically.

Most importantly, nurturing a safe mathematical environment, where mistakes are understood to be a natural part of the process and a springboard for further exploration, is critical. Being able to think mathematically requires experimentation, pattern spotting and prediction, so fixing a child to one right answer and one right way of getting to it goes against the grain. By helping your child develop spatial reasoning, you give them the potential to build solid foundational skills in maths.

At Matrix Math, we incorporate spatial reasoning elements into our classroom learning to help our students understand the concepts being taught and to give them the tenacity to try and try again if at first they don’t succeed.