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A Systematized Review of the Students’ Upbringing Influence on their Spatial Reasoning

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2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual On line

Publication Date

June 22, 2020

Start Date

June 22, 2020

End Date

June 26, 2021

Conference Session

Student Division Technical Session 5

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Hassan Ali Al Yagoub Purdue University-Main Campus, West Lafayette (College of Engineering) Orcid 16x16

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Hassan Al Yagoub is a Ph.D. student in Engineering Education at Purdue University. His research interests include diversity & inclusion, students’ persistence, advising and mentoring, engineering career pathways, and school-to-work transition of new engineers.
He holds a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and a M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology.
Prior to beginning his doctoral studies, Hassan worked for five years at General Electric where he graduated from their Edison Engineering Development Program (EEDP) and then worked as a gas turbine fleet management engineer. In addition to his technical role, Hassan supported the recruiting, interview, and selection process of the EEDP Program, where he mentored interns, co-ops and Edison associates from the Middle East and Africa regions by developing and teaching a technical training curriculum, providing guidance for graduate school applications, and providing career consultation.

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This systematized review paper discusses the concept of spatial ability and its influence on students’ success in STEM fields. My intention from this review is to identify what influences students’ spatial ability and to draw connections between scholarly research to provide a deeper understanding of this phenomenon. This study will focus on nature and nurture influences on spatial ability differences. Nature is a term that I use to conditions placed upon children since their birth such as gender, race, and cognitive abilities. Nurture, on the other hand, is a term that summarizes the upbringing experiences that take place as children grow such as socioeconomic status, culture, hobbies, and childhood toys. I have performed this study by reviewing 35 peer-reviewed journal articles selected by a systematized procedure. Effects of activities on childhood and teenage spatial reasoning were explored. Activities such as construction puzzles, 3D sketching, and video games were found to have a positive correlation to spatial thinking and to have a positive association with self-efficacy. Students can improve their spatial abilities through training programs, which have a lasting impact of up to 8 months. The optimal time for students to have a training program is around middle school age to avoid adverse effects on the efficacy of spatial reasoning. However, it should be noted that the impact of training on students’ spatial abilities in STEM courses may have a limited threshold in which additional training will provide a minimal effect on students’ performance. Thus, it may be necessary to identify alternative intervention approaches and to expand the scope of who receive those interventions by looking beyond currently studied demographics.

Al Yagoub, H. A. (2020, June), A Systematized Review of the Students’ Upbringing Influence on their Spatial Reasoning Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--34070

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