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Paper: Building on Stories to Engage Children in Spatial Thinking
Volume: 531, ASP2020: Embracing the Future: Astronomy Teaching and Public Engagement
Page: 14
Authors: Plummer, J.; Cho, K.; Botch, M.
Abstract: Early development of spatial thinking has the potential to increase children's achievement in science and math, and may increase children's potential for STEM careers. Spatial thinking involves how we manipulate information, both mentally and through representations in the world around us, to understand the location of objects, their relative locations, how they move with respect to each other, and estimating their shapes and sizes. One promising, though under-researched strategy to improve STEM learning is the use of storytelling in programs for young learners. This interactive session will begin by introducing participants to research on how stories shape learning and how this can be leveraged to engage learners with strategies that support spatial thinking. We will then introduce participants to a new program for early childhood audiences that combine a children's storybook (“Lunar Craters” by Kyungjin Cho) with activities designed to support spatial thinking through the use of spatial language, gestures, object-manipulation, and whole-body movement. We will briefly share results from a recent study completed with 3–5 year-old audiences in preschool and museum settings to illustrate how story and story-driven programs may support children's spatial thinking. Finally, participants will have the opportunity to try their hand at planning for spatial thinking with story-based programming. Participants will be provided with an astronomy-based storybook narrative (appropriate for PreK or elementary-age students) and will engage collaboratively to consider ways to use the narrative as inspiration for activities designed to engage children in spatial thinking.
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