The National Science Foundation is funding a study entitled, Promoting Students' Spatial Thinking in Upper Elementary Grades using Geographic Information Systems. The aim of this study is to explore the impact of using digital mapping technology to advance the development of students' spatial reasoning and problem-solving skills. Students will use GIS (Geographic Information Systems) to solve ecological, geographical, and other challenges designed to enhance students' interest and involvement in STEM learning.
The study is set to document the effectiveness of instructional practices that are likely to enhance students' multi-step reasoning, systems thinking, conceptual and spatial understanding, and motivation for learning while learning to work with maps to solve problems involving geography, history, and ecological awareness.
We have developed instructional methods that incorporate innovative tools for promoting problem solving to address real-life issues in this increasingly technology-driven era. The innovative tool is open-source and designed for professionals, but it will be modified to be child-friendly. Classroom activities will be integrated with science and social studies curricula and content standards. Teachers are expected to find the curriculum attractive and easy to implement.
This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant Number (1316660). Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.