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Sketch 3-D Objects


All Ages Strategy


Visual Memory Spatial Perception

Sketch 3-D Objects

If your student's weaker spatial skills could affect math performance but you want to give a non-math activity

How To Apply It!

  1. Sketching 3-D objects can be a fun way to help students improve their spatial perception, an important STEM skill, by developing their mental visualization and rotation skills.
  2. Present students with an irregularly-shaped object. You will have them draw it from where they are sitting without the opportunity to move it or touch it.
  3. Help students focus on the relative proportions, placement and angles of the object, not the artistic quality
  4. Consider allowing students who are concerned about their artistic skills to use graph paper and a ruler so they can more easily draw to scale by counting boxes or make angles and straight lines. Over time, it would be good to do this exercise without these tools.
  5. Encourage student to begin by identifying the primary shapes they see (squares, rectangles, triangles, circles) without drawing. First draw the largest shape. Then add the smaller ones.
  6. Remind students that even complex parts can be broken down into their primary shapes. Focus on simplifying to the most basic shape.
  7. After students have completed their initial drawings, rotate the object and have them draw it again.
  8. Discuss how their perspective changed from this new view. Does the object look deeper, wider or taller now? Are they surprised? How could they have realized this earlier?
  9. Finally, allow the students to physically manipulate the object by holding, rotating and examining its physical shape. Have them discuss their drawings and observations.
  10. As students describe the object, remind them they can use this technique of drawing and/or describing when they need to remember visual information.

Why It Works (the Science Of Learning)!

Spatial reasoning skills are an important component of most STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) work. Spatial perception can be developed through greater awareness and attention to details. Students can improve their ability by learning to break-down spatial problems into key components: relative size, shape, angle, depth, etc. Drawing an object from different angles helps students think about perspective and builds understanding of alignment, depth and directionality.