Spatial Perception Test

Spatial Perception Test
A short version is described here. You need:
• two glass bottles, about 250 cm3 capacity, with firm stoppers. One is about one-third full of ‘orange juice’
• two large jam jars with lids. One has a lump of plasticene hanging on a string from the centre of the lid
• an answer sheet for each child with outlines of bottles and jars for them to complete.
Essentially, you are asking children to predict what the water levels and so on will look like when you tilt the jars, then showing them what happens and asking them again to record what they saw. You may find the results surprising. Even after they have ‘seen’ what happens, young children often have not processed the information and so do not ‘see’ what we see.
• [Show bottle with juice upright.] ‘Show me what the water (juice) looks like in the jar — draw the juice in this drawing’
• ‘Suppose I lay the bottle on its side?’ [Demonstrate with empty bottle.] ‘Draw in here where the juice would be’
• Now lay the bottle with liquid on its side. Ask them to have a look at it. When everyone has seen it, put it upright again. ‘Do you want to try again? Do it here.’
• Repeat the procedure with bottle inverted (before seeing it; and after seeing it), and then tilted (before seeing it; and after seeing it).
The procedure with the plumb-line jar is much the same — asking (in effect) for a prediction and then, after showing it and returning it to upright, what it actually did look like.
The longer version of this task also asks children to draw (1) a mountain and then on its sides, a tree, a house, with chimney and smoke, looking for the idea of verticals even on a slope; and
(2) trees down the side of an avenue, looking for perspective.

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