Exploring the Bridge Between Research and Teaching Practice: Spatial Thinking Concepts in Geography Standards in the United States and England




Anthamatten, Peter

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The Grosvenor Center for Geographic Education


A great deal of research in the cognition sciences has identified multifarious means through which human children conceptualize and understand space and spatial relations. This paper uses a framework developed by Gersmehl and Gersmehl (2006) to evaluate the extent to which spatial thinking concepts are employed in early grade-level geography standards in the United Kingdom and the United States. While some spatial thinking concepts are deeply integrated into geography curriculum and teaching guidelines in both countries, others are only superficially addressed, and yet others are altogether absent. Geography is in an excellent position to use work from the cognition sciences to inform and guide the development of curriculum.



geography, cognition, curriculum, skills, spatial thinking, standards


Anthamatten, P. (2009). Exploring the bridge between research and teaching practice: Spatial thinking concepts in geography standards in the United States and England. Research in Geographic Education, 11(2), pp. 94-114.


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