Physics and Space Science examine topics that are highly spatial in nature. Students
are required to visualize a system, manipulate that system, and then solve a given problem. Doing all of this, simultaneously, can lead to a cognitive overload where the student is unable to correctly solve the problem. Some difficulties may be rooted in conceptual difficulties, whereas other difficulties may arise from issues with spatial intelligence and visual cognition. In some cases, students might have created an incorrect mental image of the problem to begin with, and it’s this misconception, not the lack of content knowledge, that has caused an incorrect answer. It has been shown that there is a correlation between achievement in Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields and spatial ability. My work focuses on several discrete investigations in topics that relate to student learning in physics and space science and the relationship to spatial ability.