Spatial intelligence is one of the nine intelligences on Howard Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences. It is a critical component for many endeavors, particularly in science, engineering, and mathematics, and yet only minimal activities involving spatial intelligence are integrated into high school curricula.
To engage high school students in applying their spatial abilities, this activity is designed to challenge them in three distinct manners. First, students are shown examples of how multi-cube links can be assembled into a specific shape through interpretation of two-dimensional views. Then the students are assigned the challenge to construct different objects that are represented by drawings that display top, front, and side views of the objects.
The second challenge is also three-dimensional, but requires students to illustrate how optical illusions can make a point in a three-dimensional coordinate system (space) simultaneously appear to be in different locations.
The final challenge asks students to construct necessary line segments (straight or curved) to divide distinct figures into two congruent parts.
Although I have successfully used the first and third activities in remedial high school math courses, I found that the students in accelerated classes enjoyed these problems as group challenges even more. For the second challenge, I use a copy of one of M.C. Escher’s drawing to illustrate how optical illusions can make it appear that water must flow uphill.