DOI: 10.3390/educsci13121199 ISSN: 2227-7102

Brain Science and Geographic Thinking: A Review and Research Agenda for K-3 Geography

Phil Gersmehl
  • Public Administration
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Education
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Computer Science (miscellaneous)
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation

How does a child learn to read a map? In 2007, the authors of an article in the Journal of Geography proposed a tentative list of eight “modes of spatial reasoning” that children may use to organize their perceptions of information on a map. As an update, this article has short descriptions of these modes, brief reviews of research since 2007, and some suggestions of topics for future investigation. This article includes a brief look at some implications for teaching math and reading, followed by an extended report about a classroom activity that underscores the main point about the parallel perception and processing of different kinds of spatial information. A technical appendix has a more detailed summary of the process used to identify and classify the modes of spatial reasoning.

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