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

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

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

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 the lobster, yacht and cyclist?

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

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 this shape. How would you describe it?

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

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 the child walking home from school?

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

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?

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

Looking at the picture of this Jomista Mat, can you decribe what you see? Why not try and make one yourself?

Paint a stripe on a cardboard roll. Can you predict what will happen when it is rolled across a sheet of paper?

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?

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

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

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?

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 ...

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

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

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?

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 these rabbits?

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

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

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 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 this goat and giraffe?

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

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

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 this junk?

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

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

Make a flower design using the same shape made out of different sizes of paper.

Make a cube out of straws and have a go at this practical challenge.

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

This problem invites you to build 3D shapes using two different triangles. Can you make the shapes from the pictures?