Classroom Activities for Superior Perceptual-Reasoning Students

A teenage girl building a molecule model in a classroom.
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From the moment children stack a set of blocks to when they solve a complicated geometry problem, they are using perceptual reasoning. It is a vital part of nonverbal skills. The Weschsler Intelligence Scale for Children uses a wide variety of activities in order to test for perceptual reasoning skills. There are activities that a teacher can provide to assist children in honing their perceptual reasoning skills. Parents can also benefit from participating in perceptual reasoning skill activities with their children to unlock their potential.

1 What Are Perceptual Reasoning Skills?

Characterized as one of four reasoning groups by the Weschsler Intelligence Scale, perceptual reasoning is a category of reasoning skills that includes visual perception, nonverbal fluid reasoning and spatial processing. Perceptual reasoning skills are used in activities such as organizing objects, classifying groups, problem solving and drawing inferences. Broken down, this means skills that people use such as sensory, in particular visual, information to learn and then store new information they have gleaned from their immediate surroundings.

2 Why Is Perceptual Reasoning Important?

A child with slow perceptual reasoning skills will continue to lag behind their classroom counterparts. If young students excel in finding relationships between non-verbal information and how it interacts within the context of what they are doing, then they have superior perceptual reasoning skills. If a child suffers from slow processing of visual information, it is not something to get overly worked up over.

Gifted students often present as lagging in their perceptual reasoning skills. A good example of lagging perceptual reasoning or slow processing is a child who does not seem to follow directions quickly when given a task such as putting on shoes or grabbing their backpack on the way out the door to get to school on time. The child appears to have forgotten or stalled in their efforts to complete the task that they are probably asked daily. A student with superior perceptual reasoning will make correlations between objects and verbiage quickly and in surprising ways.

3 Activities in the Classroom

Spatial vocabulary helps a child think about an object. Consider talking to a child from a young age about a ball as a squishy sphere or a stuffed animal as a soft bear. Take an object and put it under a surface or manipulate a set of blocks to move them over, near, left and right of a stationary object. Say the words as you move the blocks around the stationary object to reinforce the spatial vocabulary. For older children, they can create a 3-D model of a lesson on animal cells, architecture theory or other lesson.

4 Understanding WISC IV Scores

Getting to the root of the WISC PRI score isn’t difficult. When paired with the full scale IQ test, the WISC score can give a better view of the student’s capabilities and intelligence. Understanding WISC IV scores is also simple. The WISC IV has four standard scores, which are processing speed, verbal reasoning, perceptual reasoning and working memory.

Kimberley McGee is an award-winning journalist with 20+ years of experience writing about education, jobs, business and more for The New York Times, Las Vegas Review-Journal, Today’s Parent and other publications. She graduated with a B.A. in Journalism from UNLV. Her full bio and clips can be seen at