Wednesday, April 16, 2014

What Is So Spatial About the NGSS? (Part 1)

Over the last seventeen years,  I have integrated geospatial technologies into my science instruction.  As a high school environmental science teacher and elementary teacher, I have watched students grasp complicated patterns and complete complex tasks.   When I was presented with the opportunity to write an NGSS based curriculum for elementary, I knew geospatial technologies would be part of it, but I did not know where to put it. I then read the practices in the NGSS:

Developing and using models explicitly demands spatial reasoning to comprehend.  In many cases, the scale of a model (solar system, cell, atom) is manipulated to ease understanding.  We also use models to explain geologic phenomena such as tectonic plate movement.  In this case, the learner has to mentally "see" the movement of the plates.   

The act of mentally visualization is spatial thinking or reasoning in its purest form.  A more thorough definition was developed by Diana Sinton.

An ability to visualize and interpret location, position, distance, direction, relationships, movement, and change over space. 

She just published a wonderful book that offers an easy introduction to the topic called "The People's Guide to Spatial Thinking".  

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