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Spatial thinking in childrens education: the relationship between geography and cartography

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Paula Cristiane Strina Juliasz
Total Authors: 1
Document type: Doctoral Thesis
Press: São Paulo.
Institution: Universidade de São Paulo (USP). Faculdade de Educação (FE/SBD)
Defense date:
Examining board members:
Sonia Maria Vanzella Castellar; Helena Copetti Callai; Ronaldo Goulart Duarte; Lúcia Helena Sasseron Roberto; Maria Elena Ramos Simielli
Advisor: Sonia Maria Vanzella Castellar

Spatial thinking, comprised of concepts, representations and spatial abilities, is a cognitive activity developed in everyday living, and can be systematized through different school disciplines, mainly Geography. The comprehension of this concept and the investigation of how it can be developed and systematized in schools are critical points, involving different languages that represent the space. Considering this, we noticed the absence of references in geography-focused school activities for the development of spatial thinking. Our main objective is to propose theoretical and methodological references for the spatial knowledge of children aged between 4 and 6 years old. The research is based on the following question: Which spatial abilities and concepts can be addressed in activities aimed at developing spatial thinking in children aged 4 to 6 years old? To answer this question and achieve the main objective, the specific objectives were: a) to investigate and analyze the pertinence, possibilities and approaches regarding the spatial notions in childrens education; b) develop teaching situations based on guiding theories about spatial thinking, childrens drawing and the concept construction under a historical and cultural perspective; c) understand the patterns in childrens graphic representations; and d) analyze the childrens dialogues. Three series of activities with distinct objectives were proposed and analyzed as investigation instruments, based on the spatial thinking representation, concept, and abilities. All the activities addressed the central concept of Location. The first activity series deals specifically with the space nearby, the existence space, while the two other series are related to the geographic knowledge regarding distant aspects. In order to analyze spatial thinking expression, we narrated the main outcomes of the activities, transcribed the video recordings, and mapped the resulting data according to our interests; i.e., verify the spatial concepts and abilities. Drawing consists in a language that concretizes and reflects spatial reasoning, involving important principles of Cartography and Geography. The present research adopted the conception of childhood as a social category, and the child is the subject of the right to acquire knowledge, in this case, spatial knowledge. In this research, children are considered capable of learning, reflecting, creating, exchanging experiences, dialoguing, and teaching about the space. The analysis of the research data allowed us to conclude that drawing is part of the cartographic initiation, and words are fundamental elements that concretize the way of thinking, in this case, spatial thinking ability. In this thesis, we reaffirm the direct relationship between Geography and the development of spatial thinking, considering the very nature of this Science, and Cartography as the language used to materialize this way of thinking. The present thesis defends the development of spatial thinking in childrens education as a way to broaden the spatial knowledge and the construction of spatial concepts by the children. (AU)

FAPESP's process: 13/22654-2 - The relationship space-time and school cartography in childhood
Grantee:Paula Cristiane Strina Juliasz
Support Opportunities: Scholarships in Brazil - Doctorate