Master of Natural Sciences (MNS)


Natural Sciences (Interdepartmental Program)

Document Type



This study investigates the relationship between a student’s spatial abilities and their success in high school physics. First, I investigate whether the success of students in high school physics class correlates with their spatial abilities before taking the class. Second, I investigate whether taking high school physics has an effect on student’s spatial abilities. No direct intervention was given to any of the students. Three instruments were administered to determine the student’s spatial abilities, The Perspective Taking/Spatial Orientation Test (Hegarty & Waller, 2004), The Mental Rotation Test (Peters & Laeng, 1995), and The Paper Folding Test (Ekstrom, French, Harmon, & Derman, 1976). Students were also evaluated on their pre-conceived notions of force and motion using the Force Concept Inventory (Hestenes, Wells, & Swackhamer, 1992). These four instruments as well as the student’s course test averages were evaluated to determine correlation. Results show that there may have been an improvement in spatial abilities as measured by the Mental Rotation Test in the AP course (n=17,p<0.05). However, I did not find any correlation to pre-existing spatial abilities and performance in the course



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Slezak, Cyrill