Date of Award/Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

MS in Mathematics, Science, and Technology Education


In this study of six first grade students, my initial goal was to observe and describe the varying developmental levels of spatial reasoning and number sense through which these students would progress as they solved increasingly complex tasks and activities involving one-inch, three-dimensional, primary-colored cubes. These are the types of cubes used in studies by Battista ( 1998) and that are in most primary classrooms. Based upon those observations, my ultimate goal was to demonstrate that when young students have meaningful early experiences with one-inch, three-dimensional cubes, they will be able to reach New York State's benchmarked standards (see Appendix A) in 3-D geometry as they are related to the Rochester City School District's standards. To reach that goal and to help classroom teachers more effectively match instructional materials and activities with students' developmental needs, more research was needed on the effects of early experiences with cubes on children's ability to manipulate (physically and mentally) spatial structures. The development of spatial reasoning and number sense in primary education is important because it should provide young students with the opportunity to build increasingly elaborate schemas of spatial structuring as they progress into middle school and high school where their geometric studies will become more sophisticated.