Professional Development

A small-scale action research project on spatial reasoning

Research shows that spatial reasoning is a predictor of later achievement in mathematics. This means that children who have good spatial reasoning are likely to achieve more highly in mathematics. This may be surprising if we only consider spatial reasoning to be about shape and space, and yet it is so much more. We need to extend our thinking of spatial reasoning to include components such as visualisation, perspective-taking, doing and undoing, number lines, direction and movement. In fact, we are using spatial reasoning all of the time! In this video Dr Alison Borthwick describes a project with teachers who were keen to find out more about spatial reasoning with 5-11-year-olds. The video includes a flavour of the international research, the activities the teachers completed and the impact on both adults and children.

Watch the video

About Dr Alison Borthwick

Dr Alison Borthwick is an international education and mathematics consultant. With over 28 years in education, her career has spanned early years, primary, secondary, HEI and advisory roles. Alison has worked with many different organisations, both in the UK and abroad, including the University of Cambridge, the Royal Society, the Education Development Trust, NCETM, NRICH and the BBC, as well as individual schools and MATs. Alison continues to be an active researcher, writer and co-author. She has edited and published several books, journals, academic papers and blogs, and her latest publications include The Power of Pattern (ATM, 2021) and The Spatial Reasoning Toolkit (forthcoming, ECMG).

Ages: Early years and Primary