In the thesis spatial ability is considered as the ability to manipulate, generate and retain well-structured visual images. Three elements of spatial ability are presented in detail: spatial visualization, spatial relations and mental rotations. Spatial ability plays an important role in school mathe- matics when students learn about space geometry. Students use different manipulatives to help them through studying. Computer programs for spa- tial geometry are not yet introduced into learning process. As an example, Gutierrez method is described in the thesis. It consists of three steps: ma- nipulation of real objects, manipulation of 3-dimensional representation on a computer screen, and reading or drawing plane representations on paper. It is proved that computer programs for spatial geometry increase students motivation for learning, also computer diagrams are always precise and terms convenient for exploration. Students can also explore different ways to get the solution.
The aim of my pilot research is to investigate how much the ninth grade students rely on diagrams, real objects and computer models when dealing with spatial geometry problems. 23 ninth grade students, divided in two groups, participated in the research. Students in the first group only used real objects during learning about pyramids, whereas in the second group, students had next to real objects also available computer models made in program SketchUp. As a result no significant difference was obtained between the achivements of both groups in solving spatial geometry problems. Also, there was no significant influence of sex or grade in mathematics. During the learning process students who used program SketchUp were more active than others. They were motivated for work, they always answered questions and they also asked more questions during class. They especially enjoyed exploring plane sections with SketchUp.