The People’s Guide to Spatial Thinking

One of our colleagues and leaders in spatial thinking in education, Dr. Diana Stuart Sinton, has written a book entitled The People’s Guide to Spatial Thinkingalong with colleagues Sarah Bednarz, Phil Gersmehl, Robert Kolvoord, and David Uttal.  As the name implies, the book provides an accessible and readable way for students, educators, and even the general public to understand what spatial thinking is and why it matters.  It “help[s] us think across the geographies of our life spaces, physical and social spaces, and intellectual space.”  Dr. Sinton pulls selections from the NRC’s Learning to Think Spatially report and ties them to everyday life.  In so doing, she also provides ways for us in the educational community to think about teaching these concepts and skills in a variety of courses.   Indeed, as she points out, spatial thinking is particularly essential within science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, as well as geography.

The People's Guide to Spatial Thinking

The People’s Guide to Spatial Thinking.

Particularly because spatial thinking has no established “home” in the curriculum, I believe this book is an important contribution to help educators and everyone realize how and why these concepts are critically important to 21st Century education and society.  I also believe that tools such as geotechnologies that are now easily available to teach spatial thinking skills and concepts merit serious consideration in the curriculum at many different levels and in many different disciplines.  I highly encourage you to order the book from the National Council for Geographic Education, read it, and comment on this blog post in terms of your reactions to it.

Joseph Kerski

About Joseph Kerski

Joseph Kerski is a geographer who believes that spatial analysis through digital mapping can transform education and society through better decision-making using the geographic perspective. He serves on the Esri education team and is active in GIS communication and outreach, creates GIS-based curriculum, conducts research in the effectiveness of GIS in education, teaches online and face-to-face courses on spatial thinking and analysis, and fosters partnerships to support GIS in formal and informal education at all levels, internationally. He is the co-author of Spatial Mathematics, The Essentials of the Environment, The GIS Guide to Public Domain Data, and other books. Follow him on Twitter @josephkerski
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  1. coopercw203 says:

    I enjoyed “The People’s Guide to Spatial Thinking” in part because of its very wide range of examples, and because so many of the examples were everyday occurrences. It starts with bumper sticker ideas – “Spatial thinking – you can’t leave home without it,” or “the why of where.”
    The authors consider maps along with graphs, models, charts, tables. They cite the spatial thinking of being on the beach considering how to arrange towel and umbrella for desired sun and shade, of designing a quilt or knitting pattern, of tracking time zones in order to trade commodities or investments internationally, and of the study that led to the double-helix model of DNA.

    It is the wide range of examples and of Q&A that, I think, will attract a following for actively incorporating spatial thinking into classroom lessons. –CC

  2. ldecola says:

    is it (or a sample/excerpts) available online somewhere?