# Dear Family, your Operation Maths guide to Spatial Awareness

## Dear Family, your Operation Maths guide to Spatial Awareness

Category : Uncategorized

Dear Family, below is a brief guide to understanding the topic of spatial awareness as well as some practical suggestions as to how you might support your children’s understanding at home. Also below, are a series of links to digital resources that will help both the children, and you, learn more about spatial awareness. The digital resources are organised according to approximate class level:

#### Understanding Spatial Awareness

Spatial awareness is being able to describe the position of something/someone in relation to another, using words and/or gestures, and being able to represent spaces and locations using models and/or drawings. For example, it includes being able to tell another where to find shoes, books etc., and it would also include being able to draw a simple map for someone with directions for how to get somewhere.

This maths topic has a lot in common with language, communication and geography skills. The concepts of spatial awareness also lay the foundations for all aspects of geometry, be it at upper primary, secondary or an even higher level.

Essentially your children need to develop an understanding that:

• The spatial relationships between objects and places can be described and represented, for example using positional words (such as over, under, up, down, on, beside, in, above, below, near, far, right, left), and directional words (go straight, go through, stop, turn left, turn right, clockwise, anticlockwise).
• These relationships may be viewed, described and represented differently depending on the perspective of the viewer (in particular, consider left and right; if we’re facing each other and I hold up my right hand, it is opposite your left hand).
• Developing the ability to mentally visualise the representations will enhance a person’s ability to picture how a shape will look when rotated when turned, flipped etc. Therefore, we should encourage our children to imagine or picture places and locations e.g. “Think: when we go to Granny’s house, do we turn right or left at the end of our road/street/driveway?”

#### Practical Suggestions for Supporting Children

• When doing things together at home, or when out and about, try to use the language of spatial awareness as much as possible with your child, for example using positional words (such as over, under, up, down, on, beside, in, above, below, near, far, right, left), and directional words (go straight, go through, stop, turn left, turn right, clockwise, anticlockwise).
• Always remember that most spatial language depends on the perspective and direction/location of the person using it; an object could be very close to me but far away from you. Of all the spatial words, left and right are possibly the most confusing: an object to my right, will be to your left if you are facing me. Therefore, be especially mindful of using these words correctly with your child. Click here to read more on the difficulties with left and right.
• Play, play, play! Games and puzzles such as jigsaws, tangram puzzles, using mazes, grids and board games all promote the development of spatial skills. Twister is a particularly good example of a suitable game.
• Children often find looking at maps really interesting! When out and about or travelling somewhere, use maps to track where you are going. If you visit a tourist attraction (e.g. zoo, forest park etc.), let your child have a copy of the accompanying map/guide so that he/she can be responsible for directing the family around. Other ideal outdoors activities include treasure hunts and outdoor mazes.
• Look at Google Maps. Find your local area in satellite mode; can your child(ren) pick out any familiar features? Can they trace their regular journeys to the school, shops, friend’s houses etc?
• Coding is a STEM area that develops spatial awareness and the ability to mentally visualise various representations. Your child could explore basic coding via simple coding programs and apps, such as Lightbot and Scratch Jr.

#### Digital Resources for Infant Classes

: a series of lessons on position and direction for year 1.

Spatial Awareness: A series of video lessons from Matholia including Introduction to Positions and Naming Left and Right

FCPS – Positional Words: An instructional video

Happy Numbers Pre-Kindergarten – Above and Below: Pupils could start the activities in Module 2, Topic A, and then progress to the activities in Kindergarten, Module 2 also.

Right or Left: Which way is the animal facing?

I Know It! A game on Position and Location and another on Right and Left.

Math Games – Geometry: Select any of the positions games from Junior Infants or Senior Infants

Geometry: a selection of games from ixl.com. Select any of the games from Junior Infants, Section F and Senior Infants, Section I. You can do a number of free quizzes each day without having a subscription. (Please note that the class levels given do not always align accurately with the content of the Irish Primary Curriculum)

#### Digital Resources for First & Second Classes

: a series of lessons on position and direction for year 1. These could be followed up with other lessons in year 2, week 1 and week 2

Spatial Awareness: A series of video lessons from Matholia including Introduction to Positions, Naming Left and Right, Clockwise and Anticlockwise, Turns 1 and Turns 2.

FCPS – Positional Words: An instructional video

Turns on a compass: Compare the start and end positions of the dial and decide how it turned.

Turn the man: Explore how many times you need to turn the man to match the images.

Right or Left: Which way is the animal facing?

I Know It! A game on Position and Location and another on Right and Left.

Math Games – Geometry: Select any of the positions games from First Class or Second Class

Geometry: a selection of games from ixl.com. Select any of the games from First Class, Section O. You can do a number of free quizzes each day without having a subscription. (Please note that the class levels given do not always align accurately with the content of the Irish Primary Curriculum)