The Importance of Spatial Skills in Early Math Education

When most of us think about doing math, we picture problems filled with numbers and symbols.  While there is no doubt that symbolic representations are an integral part of math education, arguably the most overlooked aspect of early math education is the development of students’ spatial skills.

Spatial skills are the ability to visualize, manipulate, and analyze objects in space and are a critical component of mathematical understanding and cognitive development.  An abundance of research has shown that training young students’ spatial skills has profound impacts on students’ future mathematical and scientific success.  The importance of spatial skills goes far beyond science and math however, as spatial skills have been linked to the development of early writing skills, motor skills, and executive functions.  

Bottom line, the development of spatial skills should be an integral part of any child’s education.

Tile Farms products are filled with diverse opportunities for students to develop their spatial skills in fun and playful contexts.  In this blog post we highlight three easy ways to develop your children’s spatial skills in Tile Farm.

Solving Geometric Puzzles in Tile Farm Academy

In Reflect It puzzles in Tile Farm Academy, students develop their spatial skills as they build patterns with reflections.

Tile Farm Academy is filled with a wide variety of puzzles that develop students’ spatial skills while teaching them to build beautiful geometric patterns.  These puzzles also develop students’ patience and persistence in problem solving and endow them with the skills to become adept problem solvers.  Tile Farm’s adaptive algorithms gradually increase the difficulty of these puzzles over time, aiming to maximize the development of students’ spatial and problem solving abilities.

Linking Spatial and Numeracy Skills in Tile Farm Academy

Tile Farm Academy’s games and puzzles often use visual representations of numbers to simultaneously develop students’ spatial and numeracy skills.  In the example shown above, students master their multiplication tables in The Greatest Game by comparing the number of dots in geometric patterns.

Tile Farm has developed a unique way to teach mainstream math curricula in a highly visual manner.  This not only develops students’ spatial skills, but helps deepen students’ understanding of numbers.  Scientific evidence has shown that learning math with visual representations gives students a deeper conceptual understanding of numbers that allows them to more readily apply their knowledge in diverse situations.  Furthermore, highly visual math problems have been shown to reduce students’ anxiety about learning math, and serve as a stepping stone for eliminating pervasive negative attitudes about math learning.

Free Play in Tile Farm Studio

One of the best ways to develop spatial skills in Tile Farm is by simply playing in Tile Farm Studio.  Shown above is a canvas made by a kindergartner from Tucson, Arizona.

Arguably the best way for students to develop their spatial skills in Tile Farm is to simply play in Tile Farm Studio.  Simple building activities are not only considered an optimal way to develop students’ spatial skills, but they offer endless opportunities for creativity and self expression.  It isn’t too hard to imagine that the same skills developed by playing in Tile Farm Studio, easily translate to successful careers in anything ranging from engineering to art.

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Alex Romero, Chief Experience Officer

Alex has an MS in biochemistry and molecular biophysics from Caltech, and has extensive experience both as a research scientist and as an elementary school math and science teacher. He is passionate about art and innovation, and making the math learning experience as beautiful as possible.