The Interaction Between Spatial Reasoning Constructs and Mathematics Understandings in Elementary Classrooms

  • Tom LowrieEmail author
  • Tracy Logan
Part of the Research in Mathematics Education book series (RME)


Numerous studies from cognitive and educational psychology research have highlighted the strong association between spatial reasoning and mathematics performance. This chapter examines this relationship from a mathematics education perspective, with a focus on elementary classrooms. Three spatial constructs critical to mathematics instruction and learning are identified: namely, spatial visualization; mental rotation; and spatial orientation. These constructs are described in relation to student’s encoding and decoding of mathematics information and the increasing influence these constructs have on mathematics assessment. The extent to which spatial training can enhance student’s math performance is also considered in relation to these three constructs. Implications highlight the potential of explicitly focusing on spatial reasoning in math classrooms, given the malleability of instruction and ongoing affordances of technology.


Spatial reasoning Mathematics Space Spatial visualization Mental rotation Spatial orientation Encoding Decoding Curriculum Classroom Elementary Geometry Graphics Graphical languages STEM Assessment Digital Technology Spatial training Australia 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of EducationUniversity of CanberraBruceAustralia

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