Title of Oral/Poster Presentation

Defining Directions for Future Spatial Ability Research: K-12 Math and Physics

Class

Article

Graduation Year

2018

College

College of Science

Department

Physics Department

Faculty Mentor

Wade Goodridge

Presentation Type

Oral Presentation

Abstract

It is well known that there is a shortage of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) majors, which causes concern for the future. Those who excel in STEM related fields usually have exceptional spatial ability skills - the capacity to understand, reason and remember the spatial relations among objects or space. For the past few decades, researchers have been looking for understanding and ways to improve these spatial abilities in young students in an effort to increase the number of students in STEM majors. Efforts to increase enrollment from minoritized populations is of particular interest at present. One popular question is how mathematics and physics learning affects spatial ability, as well as the how spatial learning affects mathematics and physics ability. Current research being conducted at Utah State University indicates that engineering coursework may enhance spatial ability, and that the role of gender observed in initial spatial ability performance differences is insignificant when it comes to predicting improvement. The purpose of this paper is to propose future research objectives and methods to improve student understanding and performance in mathematics and physics in light of the findings in current and past studies and the conclusions that have been drawn. These future efforts could allow us to increase intuitive understanding in young students of STEM subjects and in turn increase their affinity to these fields.

Location

Room 154

Start Date

4-13-2017 10:30 AM

End Date

4-13-2017 11:45 AM

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Apr 13th, 10:30 AM Apr 13th, 11:45 AM

Defining Directions for Future Spatial Ability Research: K-12 Math and Physics

Room 154

It is well known that there is a shortage of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) majors, which causes concern for the future. Those who excel in STEM related fields usually have exceptional spatial ability skills - the capacity to understand, reason and remember the spatial relations among objects or space. For the past few decades, researchers have been looking for understanding and ways to improve these spatial abilities in young students in an effort to increase the number of students in STEM majors. Efforts to increase enrollment from minoritized populations is of particular interest at present. One popular question is how mathematics and physics learning affects spatial ability, as well as the how spatial learning affects mathematics and physics ability. Current research being conducted at Utah State University indicates that engineering coursework may enhance spatial ability, and that the role of gender observed in initial spatial ability performance differences is insignificant when it comes to predicting improvement. The purpose of this paper is to propose future research objectives and methods to improve student understanding and performance in mathematics and physics in light of the findings in current and past studies and the conclusions that have been drawn. These future efforts could allow us to increase intuitive understanding in young students of STEM subjects and in turn increase their affinity to these fields.