Mathematics Foundation: 4 - Geometry

Topic: M4.1 - Understanding of spatial relationships

Understanding spatial relationships is the ability to specify how objects are located in space in relation to a reference object.

The development of spatial relationship skills leads to:
*Understanding how objects fit and move
*Understanding how to combine shapes to make new shapes
*Ability to complete basic shape puzzles
*Playing by hiding behind or between objects
*Ability to use position terms such as in, on, under, above, below, beside, and between

Looking Ahead to Kindergarten Family Engagement Special Populations
In kindergarten, students will be able to describe the positions of objects and geometric shapes in space using the terms inside, outside, between, above, below, near far, under, over, up, down, behind, in front of, next to, to the left of and to the right now (K.G.1).

Encourage families to:

*Use blocks or cardboard boxes at home. While playing, ask families to help set a goal with their child such as building a tower for a princess or ramp for a car.
*Ask the child how many blocks of one size it would take to cover a block of another size or which shaped pieces they think would be best to build an arch or a stairway.
*Create an obstacle course using chairs, tables, pillows and anything else families have. Use spatial words such as "over," "under," "through", and "around" to explain the route.

Educators can:

*Position the manipulatives and activities to ensure that children with different physical abilities are able to comfortably play and engage in activities.
*For DLL, use position terms in native language when possible to help make connections between the term and meaning.

Powerful Practices
Across all developmental stages, educators can:

*Ensure toys and materials are available at children’s levels.
*Provide toys or manipulatives that involve shapes or the building of shapes ranging in difficulty level.
*Use position terms when giving directions, asking questions, conversation, or during activities.
*Sing songs or read books that involve shape analysis or space position terms.


Provide materials that can be manipulated (e.g. cars, balls, ramps, basic shape sorters, and stacking rings/cups)

Facilitate opportunities to play at various spatial locations (e.g. crawling under a table, in a tent, on a climber)

Younger Toddler
Provide materials that consists of shapes that can be built into more shapes (e.g. blocks)

Arrange the environment to create small spaces for children to practice safely maneuvering over, under, behind, and through

Use spatial language to describe children’s position throughout the day (e.g. “You are under the table,” or “You are between Claire and Marcus.”)

Older Toddler
Provide and facilitate use of interlocking puzzles of various complexity

Facilitate opportunities for children to match picture halves (e.g. bear head with bear body, tiger head with tiger body)

Younger Preschool
Give directions using positioning terms (e.g. obstacle course or I Spy)

Provide and encourage use of tangrams with complete lines

Older Preschool
Sing songs or rhymes with positioning terms (e.g. Simon Says and Hokey Pokey)

Provide and encourage use of tangrams with or without completed lines, as appropriate for the child