Developing 3D multi-sectional magnetic geometric models and nets for spatial training and K-12 mathematics education


Oai HaFollow

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In K-12 geometry learning, students constantly struggle with 3D geometry that requires them to visualize a three-dimensional (3D) object from a two-dimensional (2D) picture or to identify the shapes of 2D cross sections of 3D objects with a plane. These visualization abilities are sub-factors of spatial ability that enables people to generate, recall, and manipulate mental representations of actual and imagined shapes, objects, and structures. There is now considerable evidence that spatial abilities contribute to performance in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields. Studies investigating the relationship between spatial ability training and STEM achievements found that students and low spatial performers are better trained on spatial skills with concrete objects. There is a need of new spatial training with concrete models rather than computer graphics to help the low spatial performers have more spatial information from training models via their haptic and visual communication channels. This project develops: 1) Tangible models (TMs) of various geometric solids and their corresponding magnetic nets; 2) TMs that are precut at different locations and directions to show possible cross-sections. All pieces are joined together by magnetic systems embedded beneath the cutting surfaces. Manipulating geometric solids, learning how to develop a net from a geometric solid object or identifying the shapes of 2D cross sections of 3D objects with a plane can help students explore the properties of various geometric solids and develop spatial visualization ability. Magnets, magnetic sheets, colors, and diverse 3D shapes can raise students levels of curiosity and intention to learn. The TMs developed in this project can be used as teaching aids for geometry or spatial training course, educational toys, and puzzle games. Key words: educational toys, modular blocks, geometric solids, spatial thinking, K-12 STEM education, manipulative

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