Developing visual-spatial thinking in youth using sensorimotor experiences: Approaches from a Piagetian cognitive framework
Andrea Dawn Frazier 1 * , Camille Bryant 2
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1 Columbus State University, Department of Counseling, Foundations, and Leadership, USA
2 Johns Hopkins School of Education, Research Methods Coordinator, USA
* Corresponding Author


Shaping OurSpace was an urban planning project asking children to propose plans for a housing project phased for redevelopment.  Our primary aim was building visual-spatial thinking.  McCormack’s (1988, 2011) hierarchical framework was used to operationalize visual-spatial thinking, and we believe that embodied cognition served as a vehicle for fostering visual-spatial thinking not only in rudimentary ways but also more conceptually.  Thus, although our study did not depend on Piaget and Inhelder’s (1956) developmental approach to spatial reasoning, their work provides theoretical insight that supports assumptions underlying our work. We highlight two areas of connection between Piaget and Inhelder’s theory on spatial reasoning development and our methodology across the 2 phases of our project:  1) Piaget and Inhelder privilege sensorimotor experiences as the bases for spatial reasoning, and 2) Piaget and Inhelder argue that spatial reasoning occurs in 2 phases – via perception and via imagination and thought.  We argue that Piaget and Inhelder’s arguments about spatial reasoning remain decidedly relevant in understanding how to potentially facilitate this reasoning in children.



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