Researchers have shown that young children solve mapping tasks in small spaces, but have rarely tested children's performance in large, unfamiliar environments. In the current research, children (9-10 years; N = 40) explored an unfamiliar campus and marked flags' locations on a map. As hypothesized, better performance was predicted by higher spatial-test scores, greater spontaneous use of map-space coordinating strategies, and participant sex (favoring boys). Data supported some but not all hypotheses about the roles of specific spatial skills for mapping performance. Data patterns were similar on a computer mapping task that displayed environmental-scale videos of walks through a park. Patterns of children's mapping errors suggested both idiosyncratic and common mapping strategies that should be addressed in future research and educational interventions.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
- Developmental and Educational Psychology