Some of our favorite Shape Space activities were kept for ThinkSpace – all of them great spatial thinking tools:
Unit blocks are basic wooden blocks that kids of all ages
and grown-ups love to play with. There’s a lot of research that shows their value. They’re
completely open-ended. There’s an element of pretend or dramatic play.
Jovo® shapes snap together to make
different polyhedra – triangles make a pyramid and squares make a cube.
They’re a fantastic manipulative that demonstrates the relationship
between the 2-D and 3-D worlds. Kids (and adults!) love to put their creations up on the show-off
shelf to share what they've built.
Magna-Tiles® are magnetic and allow little kids to do something similar
to Jovos with an easier mechanism for them. They also explore in different ways, stacking or lining them up.
The Shape Talk game prompts visitors to use spatial language, to think about and articulate
spatial relations – where something goes in relation to something else. There’s evidence that spatial
language is incredibly important for spatial thinking. Spatial language is not just shape
names but it’s also about location – above, below, between. It’s about
movement – across, navigate, pathway. It’s about size – big, expand,
high, little, long. It’s about orientation – around, down, horizontal.
It’s about how things are curved or straight. It’s about congruence –
whether something is alike or different or identical or similar. It’s
about construction – creating, developing, making, placing. It’s about
rotation – flipping, rotating, spinning, twisting. And it’s about
transformation – distorting, squishing, transforming.
We’ve already observed a lot of visitors using spatial language and have
seen a difference in how Shape Talk is being played in its new
formation, and in how the other activities are being used. We look forward to seeing more great spatial play!