Boosting STEM Achievement Through Visual-Spatial Learning

3 min read

If you have ever taken a basic chemistry course, you probably remember making molecular models out of marshmallows and tooth-picks or whatever comparable substitute was lying around the science lab. This kind of molecular modeling is not only a great excuse to eat marshmallows in class; it also enhances spatial literacy, an essential part of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education. With the help of state-of-the art technology, Gale Interactive: Chemistry is taking spatial learning in chemistry to the next level.

Gale Interactive
Molecular Model in Gale Interactive: Chemistry

While Gale Interactive: Chemistry might not give you the same sugar rush as marshmallow modeling; what it lacks in high fructose corn syrup, it makes up with engaging 3D models of molecular and atomic structures, a fully interactive periodic table and chemical reaction demonstrations, and much more. Also available is Gale Interactive: Human Anatomy, which brings the same spatial and visual learning strategies to anatomy. Gale Interactive: Human Anatomy features virtual 3D dissections, 3D printing resources, and allows students to immerse themselves in interactive research.

Gale Interactive: Human Anatomy
Dissecting a human heart in Gale Interactive: Human Anatomy

The relationship between spatial literacy and STEM achievement has been demonstrated in research for years. Gale Interactive aims to leverage that relationship with technology to create a more engaging STEM education tool. Utilizing spatial learning strategies to teach complex STEM concepts boosts student comprehension and aids in the retention of those concepts. At a recent conference focused on spatial learning in STEM disciplines, Professor of biomedical engineering, neurobiology, and ophthalmology, Robert A. Linsenmeier stated, “Spatial skills are just as important as verbal and math skills to educational and career success in STEM…modest interventions early in college can dramatically improve spatial learning and retention.”

Engaging first and second year undergraduate students’ spatial intelligence can help them throughout their entire academic education. In a 2010 article, “Picture This: Increasing Math and Science Learning by Improving Spatial Thinking,” Nora S. Newcombe the lead investigator at the Spatial Intelligence and Learning Center stated, “Spatial training has been found to improve educational outcomes, such as helping college students complete engineering degrees.”

Gale Interactive brings new life to STEM education and was created with student engagement in mind. It allows students and instructors to interact with course materials in a way never before possible and, in doing so, offers an enhanced interactive educational experience.

For more information and to request a trial of Gale Interactive: Human Anatomy or Gale Interactive: Chemistry visit

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