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. . . .

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?

This article is based on some of the ideas that emerged during the production of a book which takes visualising as its focus. We began to identify problems which helped us to take a structured view. . . .

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

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 Little Ming playing the board game?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Can you visualise what shape this piece of paper will make when it is folded?

Can you fit the tangram pieces into the outline of Granma T?

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

Can you work out what shape is made when this piece of paper is folded up using the crease pattern shown?

I found these clocks in the Arts Centre at the University of Warwick intriguing - do they really need four clocks and what times would be ambiguous with only two or three of them?

Here you see the front and back views of a dodecahedron. Each vertex has been numbered so that the numbers around each pentagonal face add up to 65. Can you find all the missing numbers?

What happens when you try and fit the triomino pieces into these two grids?

Eight children each had a cube made from modelling clay. They cut them into four pieces which were all exactly the same shape and size. Whose pieces are the same? Can you decide who made each set?

How many different triangles can you make on a circular pegboard that has nine pegs?

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

Use the lines on this figure to show how the square can be divided into 2 halves, 3 thirds, 6 sixths and 9 ninths.

This second article in the series refers to research about levels of development of spatial thinking and the possible influence of instruction.

Take a rectangle of paper and fold it in half, and half again, to make four smaller rectangles. How many different ways can you fold it up?

Have a go at making a few of these shapes from paper in different sizes. What patterns can you create?

Can you work out what shape is made by folding in this way? Why not create some patterns using this shape but in different sizes?

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

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 plaque design?

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 outlines of the candle and sundial?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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?

Imagine a 3 by 3 by 3 cube. If you and a friend drill holes in some of the small cubes in the ways described, how many will have holes drilled through them?

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?

What shape is made when you fold using this crease pattern? Can you make a ring design?

How many different cuboids can you make when you use four CDs or DVDs? How about using five, then six?

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?