Are you directionally challenged when traveling somewhere new? Stop for a moment and think about everything you need to consider when you are trying to drive to a new restaurant, doctor’s office or a distant city. You have to consider location, distance, direction, and perspective. Some of us are better at this than others. Those of use who are successful have a strong sense of spatial orientation.
Having spatial orientation is an important cognitive structure. I have been working with my kids on developing it using tangible activities. Working at this concrete level will make it easier when it comes time to learn to read and write.
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I had the pleasure of studying under Betty Garner many years ago where I learned about cognitive structures and the impact they have on learning. If you are interested in delving deeper into spatial orientation or any other cognitive structures, I encourage you to check out Garner’s book, Getting to “Got It!”
Today, we are sharing a very simple tic tac toe activity that I learned from Betty Garner that you can also use with kids or adults to build that important cognitive structure of spatial orientation.
TIC TAC TOE SPATIAL ORIENTATION
This is a traditional tic tac toe game with one additional layer of thinking. Take a look at this board.
Having to verbalize position on a tic tac toe board is a great way to develop spatial orientation.
TIC TAC TOE ACTIVITY 1
To play, draw a basic plain tic tac toe board. You can draw traditional Xs and Os or use small objects such as red and blue candies to be place markers.
As each person “marks” his box, he should say aloud the position he is placing his mark or token.
In the example above, the player would place their token in the middle box and say “middle middle.” Play continues until someone gets three in a row.
TIC TAC TOE ACTIVITY 2
We also use these placement cards to identify position. On each card, the child has to say where the little bug is on the board.
For example, the bee above is “bottom middle.” Continue with each card. Repeated practice will help with this placement identification.
You can download all nine cards for FREE below. Just print and cut the tic tac toe boards apart and you are ready to play.
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