The Spatial Memory Exercise
Spatial memory is the ability to remember things as they relate to other objects or things in space. Good depth perception helps with spatial memory. Some children have problems with convergence with their vision and may need to see a developmental optometrist before addressing spatial memory issues. Spatial memory is developed early in life, so children at any age older than three can participate in this exercise. Of course adolescents would be expected to do much better at spatial memory than a younger child.
Spatial memory and spatial abilities are important for us in getting around town, getting around in a large store or mall, and in doing geometry. Many exercises that remediate spatial memory appear similar to visual memory exercises. It could be said that visual memory could be part of spatial memory.
There are several toys that will increase spatial abilities. These include but are not limited to: Lego blocks, Cuisenaire Rods, Magnetic Tile Building Blocks, and Magnetic Cubes. We recommend that your child play often with these fun toys to gain spatial abilities. To develop spatial memory, we recommend the following exercise:Materials Needed.
Lego blocks, or Magnetic Tile Building Blocks, or Magnetic Cubes. These materials will keep their original shape when they are rotated. In addition a cover or a shield will be needed (e.g., Kleenex box, empty bank check box).
Preparation. Get a set of materials (e.g., magnetic blocks or legos) and divide them into two sets. One set is for the instructor and the other set is for the participant.
Step by Step Instructions.
1. At a table, sit across from the participant (the participant should be older than 10 years old).
2. Give the participant one set of materials from the preparation above.
3. Keep the second set for yourself.
4. Behind the cover or shield or small box (e.g., tissue box), make a 3-D pattern with four of the blocks. So it so that the participant cannot see the materials being assembled.
5. Expose the 3-D design (usually a second for each material, longer if necessary).
6. Cover the 3-D design and have the participant use their materials to make a duplicate of what is covered. Make sure their reproduction is in the same order and same orientation as the covered 3-D design that you built.
7. Expose the 3-D design again and allow the participant to make corrections if necessary.
8. Cover up the 3-D design and have the participant disassemble their 3-D design and put their materials back in their pile of building materials.
9. Without the participant seeing, rotate the same design in any way you wish.
10. Repeat steps 5 - 8.
11. Without the participant seeing, rotate the same design again but in a different direction. Then repeat steps 5-8.
12. Make a new 3-D design without the participant seeing. Instead of 4 pieces, use 5 pieces. Repeat Steps 5-11.
13. Continue this process until Mastery has been eached.
20. Mastery is reached when on a consistent basis, the participant is able to put together a 3-D design made from 8 pieces, without making mistakes, even when it is rotated.
Exercise: The Spatial Memory Exercise.
Time: Time: spend about 20 minutes at a time on this exercise.
Recommended Frequency: once a day, 5 or 6 days per week.
Pretest Assessment: participant is unable to grasps the concepts of geometry, can not identify objects as the same that have been rotated, and lacks memory of spatial objects.
Mastery. Mastery is achieved when the participant is able to consistently remember the correct positions of 8 materials in relationship to each other even when they have been rotated.
Recommended Refresher Frequency: Repeat this exercise every year at the beginning of the school year. Usually once spatial memory is mastered, it does not have to be refreshed.
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written by Daniel T. Moore, Ph.D. copyrighted 2013-2017
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