Fall 2022 - IAT 106 D100

Spatial Thinking and Communicating (3)

Class Number: 6533

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Th 10:30 AM – 12:20 PM
    SRYC 3310, Surrey



Introduces the world of 3D thinking, representation and communication, with a focus on spatial thinking. Provides the foundational skills and knowledge needed to understand, create, and use computer-generated 3D representations. Covers the technical bases of representing 3D environments, technical sketching, computer-based modelling (Computer-Aided Design) and physical modelling.


This course is an introduction to spatial thinking and graphical representation and communication. As a foundations course, it aims to expose students to spatial thinking concepts and to provide them with the basic knowledge and technical skills required to envision three-dimensional structures, visualize and think in three dimensions and to analyze and solve specific spatial thinking problems using sketching, computer-based geometric modeling, and physical modeling. As students learn to “think spatially”, they will start to see and understand the world around them in new and useful ways. Students will explore ideas individually, share these ideas with others, work in small groups, and demonstrate their skills by developing different representations to demonstrate their ideas to others.  
Note: Normally, the course consists of one 2-hour lecture and one 3-hour lab each week. If the course is offered online, the lecture and lab activities will take place at the scheduled times but with a format blending lectures and labs. It will make use of the lectures to support the 'learning team' activities in break-out groups.


The course employs the following principles and overall teaching approach:

  • labs with practice-based hands-on learning, quizzes, regular feedback
  • weekly readings and assignments that build in complexity and degree of difficulty.
  • small team-based approach to spatial thinking problems and solutions.
  • introduces 3D computer modeling software gradually over the term.

At the successful completion of IAT106, you will able to;

  1. Critically analyze an existing spatially intriguing object/problem/situation and describe its components and operations.
  2. Conceptualize and design your own spatially intriguing object and reflect on it.
    • Keeping in view the final form, materials, spatial degrees of freedom within which that object exists.
  3. Effectively communicate your ideas using graphical representations including both tangible and digital modes of communication, i.e.,
    • Technical drawings
    • Digital modeling
    • Physical prototyping
  4. Value the importance of iterative and cyclic design process with multitude of representations used within a process.
  5. Recognize the inherent affordances and limitations associated with each representation type and accordingly begin the design process with an informed choice of representation.


  • Final Project (team or individual) 15%
  • Lab Assignments, homework (mix of individual, team) 40%
  • weekly quizzes 20%
  • Final Exam 25%


Note-1: This outline is a draft and subject to change.

: In case of restricted access to the computer labs at the campus due to COVID-19 restrictions, the students are expected to use their or others' computers for attending the online lecture and lab sessions, team meetings, and communicating with the teaching team. They also will use digital modeling software as part of their learning activities.



Students will be expected to have or acquire certain simple tools for model-making, including a good quality metal ruler, a compass or dividers, and a modeling knife with a retractable blade. For sketching, the students should bring sketching papers, pencils (at least three with H, HB, and B softness), and erasers.


“Fundamentals of Graphics Communications” (2010) by G. Bertoline, E. Wiebe, N. Hartman, W. Ross; 6th Edition; McGraw Hill; ISBN 9780073522630 – (Note:  To reduce the cost of the textbook, the book available at the Bookstore is a custom version of the full text with just those chapters relevant for this course:  “IAT 106 Spatial Thinking” (2012) by Simon Fraser University – SIAT; McGraw Hill;
ISBN: 9781259068645

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html