This is the first article in a series which aim to provide some insight into the way spatial thinking develops in children, and draw on a range of reported research. The focus of this article is the. . . .

This article looks at levels of geometric thinking and the types of activities required to develop this thinking.

For this task, you'll need an A4 sheet and two A5 transparent sheets. Decide on a way of arranging the A5 sheets on top of the A4 sheet and explore ...

What can you see? What do you notice? What questions can you ask?

What happens to the area of a square if you double the length of the sides? Try the same thing with rectangles, diamonds and other shapes. How do the four smaller ones fit into the larger one?

Here's a simple way to make a Tangram without any measuring or ruling lines.

How many DIFFERENT quadrilaterals can be made by joining the dots on the 8-point circle?

The aim of the game is to slide the green square from the top right hand corner to the bottom left hand corner in the least number of moves.

Can you fit the tangram pieces into the outline of this telephone?

Can you fit the tangram pieces into the outlines of the workmen?

Can you fit the tangram pieces into the outline of this goat and giraffe?

Can you fit the tangram pieces into the outline of Little Ming and Little Fung dancing?

Can you fit the tangram pieces into the outline of this sports car?

Can you fit the tangram pieces into the outline of these rabbits?

Can you fit the tangram pieces into the outline of the telescope and microscope?

Can you fit the tangram pieces into the outline of this plaque design?

Can you fit the tangram pieces into the outline of the rocket?

Can you fit the tangram pieces into the outline of these convex shapes?

Can you fit the tangram pieces into the outline of this junk?

This article for teachers discusses examples of problems in which there is no obvious method but in which children can be encouraged to think deeply about the context and extend their ability to. . . .

If you split the square into these two pieces, it is possible to fit the pieces together again to make a new shape. How many new shapes can you make?

Can you fit the tangram pieces into the outline of the child walking home from school?

Can you fit the tangram pieces into the outlines of the lobster, yacht and cyclist?

Can you fit the tangram pieces into the outlines of the chairs?

Can you fit the tangram pieces into the outlines of these clocks?

Can you fit the tangram pieces into the outlines of these people?

Can you fit the tangram pieces into the outline of Little Fung at the table?

Can you fit the tangram pieces into the outline of this brazier for roasting chestnuts?

Can you fit the tangram pieces into the outline of this shape. How would you describe it?

A magician took a suit of thirteen cards and held them in his hand face down. Every card he revealed had the same value as the one he had just finished spelling. How did this work?

Take it in turns to place a domino on the grid. One to be placed horizontally and the other vertically. Can you make it impossible for your opponent to play?

Can you fit the tangram pieces into the outlines of the candle and sundial?

Can you fit the tangram pieces into the outlines of Mai Ling and Chi Wing?

Can you fit the tangram pieces into the outlines of the watering can and man in a boat?

Investigate the number of paths you can take from one vertex to another in these 3D shapes. Is it possible to take an odd number and an even number of paths to the same vertex?

Use the three triangles to fill these outline shapes. Perhaps you can create some of your own shapes for a friend to fill?

Can you fit the tangram pieces into the outline of Little Ming playing the board game?

In how many ways can you fit two of these yellow triangles together? Can you predict the number of ways two blue triangles can be fitted together?

Can you find ways of joining cubes together so that 28 faces are visible?

Exploring and predicting folding, cutting and punching holes and making spirals.

Building up a simple Celtic knot. Try the interactivity or download the cards or have a go on squared paper.

A dog is looking for a good place to bury his bone. Can you work out where he started and ended in each case? What possible routes could he have taken?

What shape has Harry drawn on this clock face? Can you find its area? What is the largest number of square tiles that could cover this area?

How many different ways can you find of fitting five hexagons together? How will you know you have found all the ways?

What is the total area of the four outside triangles which are outlined in red in this arrangement of squares inside each other?

This challenge involves eight three-cube models made from interlocking cubes. Investigate different ways of putting the models together then compare your constructions.

Can you describe a piece of paper clearly enough for your partner to know which piece it is?

Can you work out how many cubes were used to make this open box? What size of open box could you make if you had 112 cubes?

Design an arrangement of display boards in the school hall which fits the requirements of different people.