Fall 2020 - IAT 106 E100

Spatial Thinking and Communicating (3)

Class Number: 7792

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    We 4:30 PM – 6:20 PM

  • Exam Times + Location:

    Dec 11, 2020
    7:00 PM – 10:00 PM

  • Instructor:

    Naghmi Shireen



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 lectures, labs with practice-based hands-on learning, quizzes, regular feedback, weekly readings and assignments that build in complexity and degree of difficulty and a small team-based approach to spatial thinking problems and solutions. A 3D computer modeling software system is introduced gradually over the term.
At the end of the course students will be able to: 

  • Describe and use spatial thinking,
  • Use graphical representations and communication in different problem domains such as design, art, business, and engineering,
  • Examine and interpret 3D representations via drawings, computer-based models and physical models
  • Visualize and define problems requiring spatial thinking and propose solutions,
  • Create and manipulate 2D and 3D representations of their solutions to given spatial problems,
  • Select representation tools and techniques and make associations among them when working on problems requiring spatial thinking and use a computer-based geometry-modeling tool (such as a Computer-Aided Design system).


  • Final Project (team) 15%
  • Lab Assignments, homework (mix of individual, team) 35%
  • Mid-Term exam 25%
  • Final Exam 25%


  1. In order to pass, students must obtain at least 50% on the combined Midterm and Final Exams.
  2. The Midterm Exam includes a portion on the use of the 3D modeling system, e.g. SolidWorks or another solid modeling software introduced in the course.
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


Teaching at SFU in fall 2020 will be conducted primarily through remote methods. There will be in-person course components in a few exceptional cases where this is fundamental to the educational goals of the course. Such course components will be clearly identified at registration, as will course components that will be “live” (synchronous) vs. at your own pace (asynchronous). Enrollment acknowledges that remote study may entail different modes of learning, interaction with your instructor, and ways of getting feedback on your work than may be the case for in-person classes. To ensure you can access all course materials, we recommend you have access to a computer with a microphone and camera, and the internet. In some cases your instructor may use Zoom or other means requiring a camera and microphone to invigilate exams. If proctoring software will be used, this will be confirmed in the first week of class.

Students with hidden or visible disabilities who believe they may need class or exam accommodations, including in the current context of remote learning, are encouraged to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning (caladmin@sfu.ca or 778-782-3112).