Spatial Intelligence: Why It Matters from Birth through the Lifespan, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Spatial Intelligence

Why It Matters from Birth through the Lifespan, 1st Edition

By Daniel Ness, Stephen J. Farenga, Salvatore G. Garofalo


274 pages | 58 B/W Illus.

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Spatial Intelligence examines public and professional conceptions of the relationships between thinking about spatial attributes and active engagement in spatially related constructions and designs. Even though children’s and adolescents’ spatial propensities in constructive activities parallel the skills needed by professionals in both established and emerging fields, spatial education is often missing from K–12 curricula and is easily impeded by teachers, parents, or other individuals who do not provide contexts in formalized settings, such as schools, to nurture its potential. This book bridges the gap by linking the natural spatial inclinations, interests, and proclivities of individuals from a variety of cultures with professional training and expertise in engineering, architecture, science, and mathematics. Educators will be better able to achieve the skills and awareness necessary to provide children and young adults with the vital opportunities inherent in spatial education.


This is a fascinating book that draws on a remarkably broad assortment of theoretical and research traditions addressed to spatial thinking. What is unusual about it is the authors’ steadfast focus on linking esoteric conceptual work on space to mundane demands of disciplines, classrooms, and daily lives. Spatial Intelligence is an engaging read, and offers a rich resource for researchers, teachers, students, and parents alike.

—Lynn S. Liben, PhD, McCourtney Professor of Child Studies, The Pennsylvania State University

This fascinating and far-ranging book surveys the broad territory of spatial thinking. The authors build a powerful case for how important spatial thinking is in human intelligence, and they give concrete ideas for including it in education.

—Nora S. Newcombe, PhD, Laura H. Carnell Professor of Psychology, Temple University

Table of Contents


Chapter 1. The Spatial Definition: A Time-honored Enigma

Chapter 2. Developing a Sense of Space

Chapter 3. Alternative Spatial Thinking Models

Chapter 4. From g to : Spatial Ability—The Primal Intelligence

Chapter 5. "You Are Here": Mapping Space

Chapter 6. Redefining Affordance to Maximize Spatial Intelligence

Chapter 7 Making Space: Bows, Brushes, and Plaster

Chapter 8. Free Space: Spatial Thinking in the Curriculum

Chapter 9. Technospace: From Atoms to Bits

Chapter 10. Humane Space


About the Authors


Daniel Ness is Associate Professor of STEM Education in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction, St. John's University, Queens, New York, USA.

Stephen J. Farenga is Professor of Science Education, Queens College, City University of New York, USA.

Salvatore G. Garofalo is Adjunct Lecturer of Science Education, Queens College, City University of New York, USA.

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