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Multiple Intelligences

Page history last edited by John James 14 years ago

How can applying Multiple Intelligences theory help students learn better?

Students begin to understand how they are intelligent. In Gardner's view, learning is both a social and psychological process. When students understand the balance of their own multiple intelligences they begin

  • To manage their own learning
  • To value their individual strengths

Teachers understand how students are intelligent as well as how intelligent they are. Knowing which students have the potential for strong interpersonal intelligence, for example, will help you create opportunities where the strength can be fostered in others. However, multiple intelligence theory is not intended to provide teachers with new IQ-like labels for their students.

Students approach understanding from different angles. The problem, "What is sand?" has scientific, poetic, artistic, musical, and geographic points of entry.

Students that exhibit comprehension through rubrics5, portfolios6, or demonstrations come to have an authentic understanding of achievement. The accomplishment of the lawyer is in winning her case through research and persuasive argument, more than in having passed the bar exam.

When Planning a Lesson, Ask the Right Questions!   

Certain questions help me look at the possibilities for involving as many intelligences as possible:

Linguistic: How can I use the spoken or written word?

Logical-Mathematical: How can I bring in numbers, calculations, logic, classifications, or critical thinking?

Spatial:  How can I use visual aids, visualization, color, art, metaphor, or visual organizers?

Musical: How can I bring in music or environmental sounds, or set key points in a rhythm or melody?

Bodily-Kinesthetic: How can I involve the whole body, or hands-on experiences?

Interpersonal: How can I engage students in peer or cross-age sharing, cooperative learning or large-group simulation?

Intrapersonal:  How can I evoke personal feelings or memories, or give students choices?

Key principles

Key principles of multiple intelligences (M.I.) theory to guide curriculum structure and lesson planning include the following:

It is important to teach subject matter through a variety of activities and projects. To this end, fill the classroom with rich and engaging activities that evoke a range of intelligences. Also, encourage students to work collaboratively as well as individually to support both their "interpersonal" and "intrapersonal" intelligences.

Assessments should be integrated into learning. And students need to play an active role in their assessment. When a student helps determine and clarify the goals of classroom activities, his or her academic success and confidence increases.

Offer students a number of choices for "showing what they know" about a topic. In addition to traditional paper tests, students need opportunities to create meaningful projects and authentic presentations.

It is counterproductive to label students with a particular intelligence. While an artistic genius may begin to reveal herself in grade 2, it limits her potential for understanding to fail to expose her to opportunities to access her other intelligences. All students have all intelligences. By nurturing the whole spectrum, teachers motivate students, foster their learning, and strengthen their intelligences.

Three types of implementation exercises

The following three types of classroom teaching strategies have their own complex structures and variations, yet they are all conducive to tapping into the multiple intelligences of your students. Learning Centers offer the teacher and student a variety pack of projects and ideas. Simulations are powerful models of teaching because they teach students how to master concepts and learn to be effective in pursuing goals. And finally, with presentations, the student must not only understand what is being presented, but to whom it's being presented, and apply different presentation strategies.

Learning centers

Learning Centers, also called "Learning Stations", are situations around the classroom that a teacher sets up for students to work in either small group or individual activities. Each of these centers has supplies and materials that work well together and give students the tools to complete activities and mini-projects -- either in groups of two to three students or individually.

How can you nurture student understanding of the topic by setting up learning centers? What types of learning centers are appropriate? Classroom size, students' interests, and grade level will help you determine your decision.

NOTE: Although learning centers are typically found more often in elementary and middle school classrooms, this technique has been found to be effective with high school students as well.



Some great learning centers you may want to consider:


(for encouraging students' Verbal/Linguistic; Visual/Spatial; Intrapersonal and Interpersonal Intelligences)

·         Fiction and non-fiction books on a variety of topics, in many genres

·         Illustrated books

·         Books on tape with related book in hard copy

·         Books, articles, and papers written by students

·         Cushions for quiet reading or for group discussion

·         Word games (Boggle, Wheel of Fortune, Scrabble, Password)

·         Creative writing tools (variety of pens, paper, etc.); tape recorder; magazines that can be cut up for images; story starter books and cards

·         Yellow pages; other address resource books

·         List of addresses and phone numbers of relevant organizations

·         Computer with color printer: concept mapping software, word processor, e-mail and Internet connection

·         Multimedia presentation tools (e.g. HyperStudio, PowerPoint etc.)


(for encouraging students' Visual/Spatial; Intrapersonal Intelligences)

·         Canvas or dropcloth

·         Painting (acrylics, watercolors, poster paints, finger paints) and drawing materials (pens, pencils, colored chalk)

·         Easel, bulletin board, chalk board, drawing boards or tables

·         Flat file storage

·         Props for still lifes

·         Variety of clip-on flood lights, flashlight, colored gels

·         Cameras (35mm, disposable, digital)

·         Computer with color printer and scanner: e-mail and Internet connection


(for encouraging students' Logical/Mathematical, Naturalist, Visual/Spatial Intelligences)

·         Field guides and science resource books

·         Popular science magazines

·         Biographies of scientists and inventors

·         Exploration and experimentation tools

·         Magnifying glass, microscope, telescope, or binoculars

·         Megaphones, cones and microphones

·         Measurement devices (rulers, graduated cylinders, etc.)

·         Bug jars and boxes, plastic containers for collecting specimens (botanical, entomological, geological, etc.)

·         Teacher-written index card challenges "What happens if you..." (students make predictions, then conduct experiments)

·         Computer with color printer: probe-ware, robotics, spreadsheets, and timeliners. Science-based software such as The Voyage of the Mimi (Sunburst), The Great Space Rescue (Tom Snyder Software) and reference CD-ROMs


(for encouraging students' Musical, Bodily-Kinesthetic, Interpersonal Intelligences)

·         Mat on the floor

·         Cassette or CD player with headphones (optional: jack so that two students can listen to same music at the same time)

·         instruments from a variety of multicultural backgrounds

·         Books about famous composers and musicians

·         Books of poems and stories that students can set to music

·         Books of collected lyrics

·         Computer with microphone, speakers, and earphones plus MIDI connector and keyboard: music composition software, CD-ROMs designed for music study, CDs for incorporating sound into multimedia presentations


(for encouraging students' Logical/Mathematical, Bodily-Kinesthetic, Interpersonal, Intrapersonal Intelligences)

·         Puzzles and games that involve logical thinking (looking for patterns, sequences, process of elimination, inference, etc.)

·         Arithmetic and graphing calculators with instructions on how to solve common types of problems (e.g. percentages, averages, etc.)

·         Maps, charts, timelines, Web sites -- vivid examples of how math and logical thinking can relate to social studies, science and language arts

·         "Math manipulatives," such as unifix cubes, pattern blocks, cuisinaire rods, and geoboards

·         Computer with color printer and links to download data from graphing calculators, spreadsheet, graphing, and 2 - and 3-D geometry programs


(for encouraging students' Visual/Spatial, Bodily-Kinesthetic, Interpersonal, Logical/Mathematical Intelligences)

·         Materials for attaching things to other things (glue, staplers, sewing materials, nails and screws, pins, clips, etc.)

·         Wood, metal, Styrofoam, recycled containers, bottles, cardboard, and tools to work with them

·         Various types and colors of paper and cardboard (for creating a homemade board game, etc.)

·         Variety of writing implements (markers, crayons)

·         Variety of fabric scraps

·         Modeling clay

·         Large rolls of mural paper for scenery backdrops for performances

·         Computer with color printer: developmental level design software (younger students use Car Builder; middle school might use Roller Coaster Builder; older students need CAD-CAM (computer assisted design-computer assisted manufacturing) software and Internet connection


(for encouraging students' Visual/Spatial, Bodily-Kinesthetic, Interpersonal)

·         Wigs, costumes, shoes

·         Washable makeup

·         Masks

·         Props

·         Cassette or CD-player for background music

·         Stage area


Simulation Activities help develop students' intelligences by allowing them to experiment with real-world activities

Such activities obviously have practical value. Before boarding an airplane, for example, wouldn't you feel more comfortable knowing that the pilot had successfully completed many "simulation exercises" on the ground?

In the younger grades, the line between play and work is often blurred. In order to master a new concept or behavior, a child will often "play" with it. In the older grades, too often teachers forget how effective play can be as an educative tool. Rather than hearing about how to do a behavior, students will learn how to do it with greater understanding if that behavior is learned via experience. Simulation activities can give students a "safety net" while they are learning.




To supplement classroom work, consider using some of these simulation activities:


Role-Playing - To understand the various sides of an event (whether presented in literature, or in a history class), it is often useful to let students research the issue from a particular viewpoint, then be put in an imaginary situation where they must speak from that point-of-view. Another form of role-playing is allowing a student the opportunity to "become" a person from history and present a short lecture to other students, then answer any questions they have.

Debating - Debates and panel discussions encourage students to think of topics in complex ways. Encourage students to create visual aids to support their arguments (lists, charts, illustrations, etc.). In mock-trials students play out an imaginary case and decide if a fictional defendant is innocent or guilty.

Simulation Software - Popular CD-ROM programs such as SimCity present complex, open-ended problem-solving situations that students frequently have to use many of their intelligences to solve. GenScope provides an interactive environment where chromosomes, genes, and observable traits can be manipulated and viewed in a variety of ways. Virtus WalkThrough and similar programs present environments for people to experience.



Presentations are most commonly thought of as speaking in public with the hope that the audience will come out of the presentation room having learned something new. But the benefit to the audience is only part of the picture.

To perform a successful presentation the student must understand the subject matter, the psychology of the planned audience, different presentation strategies, and how to organize the information in the most efficient and effective manner. Presentation formats range from simply talking in front of the class to designing complex interactive computer-based information systems to be delivered through the Internet.

Always consider what is developmentally appropriate for your students. While a report might be a good way for presenting information, report writing is generally mastered in middle school. High schools might more appropriately prepare a legal brief or a piece of journalistic reporting.



The following list of methods of assessing student understanding is a start...

For Presentations, students can...


·         poems

·         short plays

·         screenplays

·         legal briefs

·         song lyrics

·         journals

·         diaries

·         memoirs

·         travelogue

·         interviews

·         newspaper or newsletter

·         letters (or email) to experts

·         an original advertisement

·         new ending for story or song

·         "what if..." thought experiment


·         posters

·         cartoons

·         timelines

·         models

·         chart

·         map

·         graphs

·         paintings (with explanations similar to museum exhibits)

·         board game

·         concept maps

·         multimedia presentations


·         solutions to problems in your school or community

·         math formulas to explain a problem, or pose a solution

·         categorization method for some plants or animals in your area based on careful observation (perhaps a small collection, or homemade "museum")

·         a plan for a scavenger hunt

·         a treasure hunt (in which clues involve vocabulary from the topic)

·         collect objects in nature

·         the night sky, food chain, water cycle, or other science topic

·         local, national, or international environmental concern

·         create simulations


·         a play

·         a concert

·         role-play lecture (such as a well-known person from history)

·         a dance based on literature or historical event

·         collected songs about a topic or from an era


·         Step-by-step M.I. lesson plan guide

·         Now it's time to build your own lesson plan. We've shown you how others do it, given you tips and tools to plan and produce, so the next step is to try it yourself. Spend some time drawing up a lesson plan and then share your ideas with your colleagues.

·         Print out the Lesson Plan Format. A format for planning your lessons has been designed for you to use as a guide for implementation of M.I. ideas and activities in your curriculum.


·         In the following pages, you will find sets of questions to consider when developing each step of your lesson plan. Below each set of questions are blank boxes that coincide with the lesson plan. These "blank" fields act as indicators to fill in the Lesson Plan Format.

·         A. The Topic

What is the subject matter you are teaching?

Do your students have any previous experience with this topic?

How motivated are your students to learn about this topic?

What connections can you make to the students' lives to help motivate them about the topic?



·         B. Your Goals and Objectives

What do students want to learn about the topic?

What do students need to learn based on state or national curriculum goals?


·         C. Available Time

The amount of time you have to devote to this subject affects how much you will need to focus the topic. Since the goal of M.I. theory is to help cultivate students' understanding, it is worth thinking about how to make your lessons meaningful experiences that connect to other things students have learned, and will learn. Longer blocks of time (i.e., double periods) are instrumental to more in-depth work.

AVAILABLE TIME (days, weeks, class periods):

·         D. Assessment

How will you know if students have an understanding of the subject matter?

To supplement traditional testing methods (paper tests), what other options can you give students to "show what they know?"

What are some ways in which students can present their knowledge to others?

Will you prepare rubrics for students to help them set reasonable goals and take the initiative in editing and producing their own work? Rubrics may assist students in a public speaking course to assure they have all of the components of a comprehensive report.


See the Presentation segment of this Workshop section for a variety of methods for students to demonstrate their knowledge.



Oral presentations with visual aids

Write report etc.

Perform play

·         E. Supplies/Materials

You might want to complete this section after you have figured out the scope of your lessons.




·         F. Topic Introduction

How will you introduce the subject matter to students? Some examples are group discussion, watch video, read a story, brainstorm relevant questions, etc.


Wrap up

Teachers interested in implementing multiple intelligences in their curricula have a variety of options. Don't feel bad if it doesn't come easily right away. It's not always easy to make changes. Use the guides we offer you in this workshop and take advantage of our helpful hints. Many M.I. experts with years of experience helped develop this workshop so that you could learn to improve your teaching methods.


BY:  John John

Multiple Intelligences 
By Khalid Ait-Kass
Many schools focus their attention on two types of intlligence, linguistic and logical-mathematical intelligence. In fact, there are other multiple intelligences we need to take into consideration such as spatial intelligence for those individuals who are picture smart, musical intelligence, interpersonal intelligence (people smart), intrapersonal intelligence (self smart), and also naturalist intelligence.
How do we judge or view intelligence?
Most people,examiners or educators view intelligence based on results, records of tests, solving problems skills, or even intelligence test such as Intelligence Quotient  test in order to measure the student intellect.
Research on this topic has been done by many prominent thinkers such as Howard Gardner so that educators can better plan, create, implement and evaluate a classroom lesson. In the begining of the year, I ask my students to weite briefly about their favourite subjects and I ask why do they enjoy learning about that particular subject.
I'd like to mention an important view of Skinner called mechanistic view, and I quote " The mind is a blanc device that detects pattern and operates on them. We assess to see if the individual is recognizing and responding to pattern he/she is exposed to.
I believe that each teacher deals with mechanistic view of Skinner; in fact, we try to assess our students intelligence or understanding of the topic by using various methods of tests and other types of assessment.




What Is Intelligence?


Traditional views of intelligence base human intellect on the results of paper and pencil tests and statistical analysis. If a test is reasonably challenging, some students score better and some worse. Those who perform better than most are said to have a higher amount of something called "intellect," as expressed in a number or "quotient" - hence the term Intelligence Quotient, or "IQ." Traditional views assume that intellect is an intrinsic quality, like height or hair color, something we can measure and that we will carry with us for the rest of our lives. Classroom teachers with a traditional view of intelligence believe some students perform tasks better than others due to different intellectual capacities that are fixed and unchangeable.


The substance of intelligence will probably always be debated. On a practical level, IQ is defined by the tests employed to measure it. Researchers suggest that intelligence has many components, resulting in one IQ that measures a singular intellect.


For more information Visit the Brain Connection Website: http://www.brainconnection.com/topics/?main=fa/mult-intelligence




Web Definitions of Intelligence

  • the ability to comprehend; to understand and profit from experience

  • Intelligence is a property of mind that encompasses many related mental abilities, such as the capacities to reason, plan, solve problems, think abstractly, comprehend ideas and language, and learn. ...


  • ability to think and learn: the ability to learn facts and skills and apply them, especially when this ability is highly developed



Who Is Howard Gardner?


Professor, author and champion of multiple intelligence theory. SEE FULL BIOGRAPHYSEE BOOKS.

(Howard Gardner 1999: 180-181)


I want my children to understand the world, but not just because the world is fascinating and the human mind is curious. I want them to understand it so that they will be positioned to make it a better place. Knowledge is not the same as morality, but we need to understand if we are to avoid past mistakes and move in productive directions. An important part of that understanding is knowing who we are and what we can do... Ultimately, we must synthesize our understandings for ourselves. The performance of understanding that try matters are the ones we carry out as human beings in an imperfect world which we can affect for good or for ill.



Types of Intelligence


In American schools, much of the assessment has been based on the pencil/paper tests referred to earlier. This is fine for those students that are good at analytical or linguistic tasks. It means though, that students with other abilities fail to achieve on these tests.

According to Howard Gardner there are Multiple Intelligences (MI). There are eight different types of intelligence (seven originally) which include:

  • Musical Intelligence (music smart)
  • Bodily-Kinesthetic Intelligence (body smart)
  • Logical-Mathematical Intelligence (number/reasoning smart)
  • Spatial Intelligence (picture smart)
  • Linguistic Intelligence (word smart)
  • Interpersonal Intelligence (people smart)
  • Intrapersonal Intelligence (self smart)
  • Naturalist Intelligence (nature smart)

A person does not possess a single intelligence. Rather they will have areas in which they are stronger or more inclined. There is a belief that any of these intelligences can be strengthed through practice.


Howard Gardner defined the first seven intelligences in Frames of mind (1983) and added the last one in intelligence reframed (1999). He described the historical development of the concept of intelligence in an essay entitled Intelligence in Seven Steps.




LdPride and MIReasearch offer helpful information and signs to what Gardners theory looks likes in the individual and in students.




Musical/Rhythmic Intelligence: To think in sounds, rhythms, melodies and rhymesguitar.

These musically inclined learners think in sounds, rhythms and patterns. They immediately respond to music either appreciating or criticizing what they hear. Many of these learners are extremely sensitive to environmental sounds (e.g. crickets, bells, dripping taps).

Skills:  singing, whistling, playing musical instruments, recognizing tonal patterns, composing music, remembering melodies, understanding the structure and rhythm of music

Vocal Ability: a good voice for singing in tune and in harmony

Instrumental Skill: skill and experience in playing a musical instrument

Composer: makes up songs or poetry and has tunes on her mind

Appreciation: actively enjoys listening to musicof some kind

Career Interests:  musician, disc jockey, singer, composer





Bodily/Kinesthetic Intelligence: To think in movements and to use the body in skilled and complicated ways for expressive and goal directed activities.


These learners express themselves through movement. They have a good sense of balance and eye-hand co-ordination. (e.g. ball play, balancing beams). Through interacting with the space around them, they are able to remember and process information.


Skills: dancing, physical co-ordination, sports, hands on experimentation, using body language, crafts, acting, miming, using their hands to create or build, expressing emotions through the body

Athletics: ability to move the whole body for physical activities such as balancing, coordination and sports

Dexterity: to use the hands with dexterity and skill for detailed activities and expressive moment.

Career Interests:  Athletes, physical education teachers, dancers, actors, firefighters, artisans








Logical/Mathematical Intelligence: To think of cause and effect connections and to understand relationships among actions, objects or ideas.chess

These learners think conceptually in logical and numerical patterns making connections between pieces of information. Always curious about the world around them, these learner ask lots of questions and like to do experiments


Skills: problem solving, classifying and categorizing information, working with abstract concepts to figure out the relationship of each to the other, handling long chains of reason to make local progressions, doing controlled experiments, questioning and wondering about natural events, performing complex mathematical calculations, working with geometric shapes

Everyday Math: performs well in math at school

School Math: used math effectively in everyday life

Everyday Problem Solving: able to use logical reasoning to solve everyday problems, curiosity

Strategy Games: good at games of skill and strategy.

Career Interests:  Scientists, engineers, computer programmers, researchers, accountants, mathematicians






Visual/Spatial Intelligence: To think in pictures and to perceive the visual world.drawing

These learners tend to think in pictures and need to create vivid mental images to retain information. They enjoy looking at maps, charts, pictures, videos, and movies.


Skills: puzzle building, reading, writing, understanding charts and graphs, a good sense of direction, sketching, painting, creating visual metaphors and analogies (perhaps through the visual arts), manipulating images, constructing, fixing, designing practical objects, interpreting visual images.

Space Awareness: to solve problems of spatial orientation and moving objects through space such as driving a car.

Working with Objects: to make, build, fix, or assemble.

Artistic Design: to create artistic designs, drawings, paintings.

Career Interests: navigators, sculptors, visual artists, inventors, architects, interior designers, mechanics, engineers






Verbal/Linguistic Intelligence: To think in words and to use language to express and understand complex meanings.

reading glasses

These learners have highly developed auditory skills and are generally elegant speakers. They think in words rather than pictures.


Skills: listening, speaking, writing, story telling, explaining, teaching, using humor, understanding the syntax and meaning of words, remembering information, convincing someone of their point of view, analyzing language usage.

Expressive Sensitivity:skill in the use of words for expressive and practical purposes

Rhetorical Skill: to use language effectively for interpersonal negotiation and persuasion

Written-academic: to use words well in writing reports, letters, stories, verbal memory, reading/writing.

Career Interests: Poet, journalist, writer, teacher, lawyer, politician, translator








Interpersonal Intelligence: To think about and understand another person.girlfriends

These learners try to see things from other people's point of view in order to understand how they think and feel. They often have an uncanny ability to sense feelings, intentions and motivations. They are great organizers, although they sometimes resort to manipulation. Generally they try to maintain peace in group settings and encourage co-operation.They use both verbal (e.g. speaking) and non-verbal language (e.g. eye contact, body language)  to open communication channels with others.


Skills: seeing things from other perspectives (dual-perspective), listening, using empathy, understanding other people's moods and feelings, counseling, co-operating with groups, noticing people's moods, motivations and intentions, communicating both verbally and non-verbally, building trust, peaceful conflict resolution, establishing positive relations with other people.

Social Sensitivity: :sensitivity to & understanding of other people's moods, feelings & point of view

Social Persuasion: ability for influencing other people

Interpersonal Work: interest and skill for jobs involving working with people.

Career Interests: Counselor, salesperson, politician, business person









Intrapersonal Intelligence:To think about and understand one's self.contemplation

These learners try to understand their inner feelings, dreams, relationships with others, and strengths and weaknesses.


Skills: Recognizing their own strengths and weaknesses, reflecting and analyzing themselves, awareness of their inner feelings, desires and dreams, evaluating their thinking patterns, reasoning with themselves, understanding their role in relationship to others

Personal Knowledge/Efficacy: awareness of one's own ideas, abilities;able to achieve goals.

Effectiveness: ability to relate oneself well to others and manage personal relationships.

Calculations: meta-cognition "thinking about thinking' involving numerical operations

Spatial Problem Solving:self awareness to problem solve while moving self or objects through space

Career Interests: Researchers, theorists, philosophers





Naturalist: To understand the natural world including plants, animals and scientific studies.shark

To recognize and classify individuals, species and ecological relationships. To interact effectively with living creatures and discern patterns of life and natural forces.

Animal Care: skill for understanding animal behavior, needs, characteristics

Plant Care: ability to work with plants, i.e., gardening, farming and horticulture.








Find out your score in each category of intelligence!

This form can help you determine which intelligences are strongest for you.  If you're a teacher or tutor, you can also use it to find out which intelligences your learner uses most often.  Follow the link below to a form with 56 questions to find out your scores for all eight intelligences listed above.





Spiritual Intelligence?

It seems more responsible to carve out that area of spirituality closest 'in spirit' to the other intelligences and then, in the sympathetic manner applied to naturalist intelligence, ascertain how this candidate intelligence fares. In doing so, I think it best to put aside the term spiritual, with its manifest and problematic connotations, and to speak instead of an intelligence that explores the nature of existence in its multifarious guises. Thus, an explicit concern with spiritual or religious matters would be one variety - often the most important variety - of an existential intelligence. HG


Existential Intelligence?

Existential intelligence, a concern with 'ultimate issues',is, thus, the next possibility that Howard Gardner considers - and he argues that it 'scores reasonably well on the criteria.' However, empirical evidence is sparse - and although a ninth intelligence might be attractive, Howard Gardner is not disposed to add it to the list. 'I find the phenomenon perplexing enough and the distance from the other intelligences vast enough to dictate prudence - at least for now'



Smith, Mark K. (2002, 2008) 'Howard Gardner and multiple intelligences', the encyclopedia of informal education, http://www.infed.org/thinkers/gardner.htm.



Some caution must be observed before accepting this theory.


First the theory was proposed in 1983, there have been no published empirical test of the theory as a whole.   Given that a major goal of science is empirical tests of the theory as a whole.  Given that a major goal of science is empirically to test theories, this fact is something of a disappointment but certainly suggested the need for such testing to occur.  (p427)


Even if one accepts Gardner’s criteria for defining intelligence, it is not clear whether the eight or ten intelligences proposed by Gardner are the only ones that would fit.  For example, might there be a sexual intelligence?  And are these intelligences really intelligences, per se, or are some of them better label talents?  Obviously, the answer to this question is definitional, and hence there may be no ultimate answer at all.  (p428)




Sternberg, Robert J. International Handbook of Intelligence Cambridge University Press 2004








Suggested Project Ideas for each type of MI:
  • Categorize Information and facts about your topic
  • Compare and/or contrast a topic using Graphs
  • Create a Venn Diagram Create a Pamphlet of info
  • Create and conduct an Experiment
  • Create Word Puzzles for your classmates
  • Create a Timeline
  • Develop a Fact file
  • Develop a Game about your topic
  • Develop a Memory System based on numbers/patterns
  • Interpret data from your topic area
  • Keep a Journal on your topic
  • Produce a Document in Excel
  • Translate data from a variety of sources
  • Make a Calendar related to your topic
  • Develop and Present a Database
  • Use your deductive reasoning skills
  • Write a computer program or modify an existing one
  • Write a Guided Visual Imagery
  • Write a Poem or an Essay
  • Write an Editorial Essay
·         Build a sculpture
·         Color Code a Process or Flowchart
·         Comic Strip
·         Create a bulletin board for your topic
·         Create a colorful mural
·         Create a Power Point presentation
·         Create an Animated film
·         Create a Photo Essay 
·         Create a Video Production
·         Create Graphics for a Multi-Media Presentation
·         Create Costumes for a production
·         Draw illustrations
·         Draw a Map or Chart
·         Create a Comic Strip/Book
·         Outline and build a Web page
·         Make a Video or Visual Collage
·         Make a Project Cube
·         Use multi-media equipment to present info
·         Use clay to create a sculpture
·         Write a Guided Visual Imagery
·         Write a Picture Book on your topic
·         Write a Rebus Storybook
  • Build or Construct a Model
  • Choreograph a dance to explain something
  • Conduct a class demonstration
  • Conduct an Experiment
  • Create a Board game
  • Develop a Memory System based on Movements
  • Devise a scavenger hunt on your topic of study
  • Develop a television program
  • Explain something using only movement
  • Invent a floor game for your class
  • Perform a Skit - Present your info using sign language
  • Role Play an interpretation of your topic
  • Change words to an existing song so that it teaches something about your topic
  • Create a Musical Game
  • Create a Music Collage
  • Create a Radio Program
  • Find a new use for Music Technology
  • Lead a Choral Reading
  • Make an Audio Tape
  • Sing or Rap a song that explains your topic
  • Write a short musical about your topic
  • Write song lyrics for your content area
  • Create a display/visual with objects from Nature
  • Find problems in nature related to you subject
  • Find examples of things in Nature related to your topic
  • Observe and/or categorize a species of
  • Observe and/or categorize the behaviors of
  • Plan an Outdoor Classroom
  • Teach your classmates about a scientific tool
  • Find Global Concerns related to your topic
·         Contact group members via email/snail mail - Conduct a Press Conference
·         Create Classroom Learning Centers
·         Create a Culture gram
·         Develop and Implement Group Rules
·         Lead a Press Conference
·         Run a Debate
·         Set up an email listserv
·         Solve a problem with a partner
·         Use Conflict Management skills
·         Use email to contact
·         Create a Bulletin Board
·         Create a collection
·         Create a Comic Strip
·         Create a personal analogy for...
·         Create a timeline
·         Describe qualities you have that would help you...
·         Explain why you want to study...
·         Evaluate your own work on...
·         Explore Career Opportunities in the field of...
·         Pretend you are...
·         Set a Goal for yourself about
·         Use Self Directed learning to help yourself...
·         Work on a problem by yourself
·         Write a Journal about ...
·         Compare/Discuss a Story
·         Conduct  an Interview
·         Create a Booklet
·         Create a Slogan
·         Develop a Dictionary of new terms
·         Develop a Petition
·         Lead a Class Discussion
·         Lead a Press Conference
·         Participate in a Debate
·         Write and/or Tell a Story
·         Write a creative Advertisement
·         Write a Poem
·         Write a Script to a TV Production
·         Write Text for a Power Point Presentation
·         Write Text for a Web page
Images for Multiple Intelligences
 Multiple Intelligences                                                


Teaching Strategies:

Using Multiple Intelligences in Teaching History


I find it challenging to come up with ideas for teaching history that will engage and motivate students, especially creative learning activities and assessments that will let them exhibit their various intelligences.  This link (http://www.ctn.state.ct.us/civics/gardner.asp ) is a chart that suggests teaching activities, teaching materials and instructional strategies for using MI in teaching social studies.   Although it’s nice to those ideas laid out in a convenient format, I prefer more detailed examples, and ideally I need to talk with other teachers, participate in a workshop or see an amazing presentation in order to really get myself thinking.  The Digital Edge Learning Interchange (part of the Apple Learning Interchange) has a variety of ‘exhibit’ lessons by teachers on a variety of topics and allows me to have a similar experience, but in an online environment.  The site is well laid out and each exhibit is broken down into sections that include the lesson, professional standards, content standards, assessment, student work samples, reflections and resources.  What I find really appealing about this site is that it includes not only written explanation, but also video clips of the teacher’s explanations for rationale and process, the actual lesson that was taught and student reflections.  It appeals to me as a visual learner to have the videos as an option and seeing the students in action makes it real.  Having examples of handouts to students, rubrics and examples of student work also helps me to imagine how I would adopt these ideas for my own teaching. 



The two exhibits that I viewed in detail were teacher Kim DiBiase’s lessons (http://newali.apple.com/ali_sites/ali/exhibits/1000328/Multiple_Intelligences.html) entitled ‘A Presentation to the Sultan’ and ‘Mingling at the Renaissance Ball.’ In video clips, her ideas were clearly presented and she explains how a focus on Multiple Intelligences is integrated into the lessons.  I think her approaches and learning activities would really appeal to my students by giving them variety, choice and the chance to move around!  I found her idea of using an ‘interactive notebook’ particularly interesting and this has me thinking about how I could modify that concept and apply it to a classroom where all students have a laptop and prefer to use digital tools rather than draw/diagram on paper. 




Lesson Ideas

The link below gives a variety of different lesson plans that use Multiple Intelligences based on the work of Howard Gardner.



Another link that has a variety of MI lesson plans:



MI lesson plans for the LD learner.



A vast series of charts showing suggested MI activities by subject is here. (These may be standard lists that appear elsewhere.)


Having trouble figuring out what a lesson plan would look like that incorporates MI? Check out this simple sample.


Also check out the Three Types of Implementation Exercises at http://www.lth3.k12.il.us/rhampton/mi/LessonPlanIdeas.htm#Lesson%20Plan%20Guide. This chart looks at three exercises for "tapping into the multiple intelligences of your students," including learning centers, simulations and presentations.

  • For learning centers, types of activities and materials are suggested to apply to many MI strengths, by subject. Such centers (or stations) allow you to present a wide range of mini-activities, appealing to students with different learning styles and MI profiles, around the same theme.
  • Simulations allow students to work in a real-world context that is safe, yet allows for repeated and intensive practice. The simulations suggested are role-playing, debating, and simulation software, each of which has its own benefits for differentiating by MI.
  • Presentations require the student to "understand the subject matter, the psychology of the planned audience, different presentation strategies, and how to organize the information in the most efficient and effective manner."


I've employed several different strategies in order to reach certain groups at various times in my teaching career. These include:

For the linguistically focused - with an emphasis on the verbal:


  • prompting them with questions that they needed to be asking themselves.
  • Having students explain a problem to another student outloud. This system works very well in mathematics, physics and chemistry. A problem written out in mathematical form sounds very different, when properly pronounced, then it might seem on paper to the untrained eye.
  • giving them a smiley face on a post it note to talk to. When we discovered they could successfully complete any problem when they spoke about it I provided a "friend" for them to speak with. The only challenge was getting a student to speak quietly enough that they didn't disturb their classmates.


For the bodily-kinesthetic - in other words those that need to be moving:


  • allowing students to fidget. Giving them a worry stone to handle during class, the trick with this is to find something that students can move that won't disrupt class or make much noise. Many of my students become constant pen flippers as well - which works great as long as they don't drop them!
  • when there is a problem type which will always require the same steps to be completed I write/print out each step on a single sheet of paper and put those on the floor. I then literally have my students step through a problem, completely each step in the process when they reach that set of directions.
  • When talking to students about parabolas and which direction they open, about horizontal or vertical lines, or about lines and what a positive/negative slope means I have them use arm movements to show the directions and shape that the graph would take. (this is sometimes useful for spatial learners as well)
  • I ask students that need to moving to help me hand out the scissors, rulers or whatever other resource we are using. This gives them chance to do something constructive with their energy, which is still under my control.


For the interpersonal


  • having students answer each others questions or explain a problem
  • a recent idea, which I have yet to try but am excited about, is to have my students work in pairs telling them that they will be graded according to how their pair does. So if Sam and Jane sit together Sam will be marked according to Jane's work and Jane according to Sam's work. This will be a way of making them responsible for the other student's understanding, forcing them to talk together and make sure that they are truly collaborating.


For the musically inclined


  • putting important formulas to a rhythm/song. I've done this so much with certain topics that I now have to sing the song to remember the quadratic formula as well!


  • giving students a rhythm for each step in a problem. This is based on the number of variables, which side of an equation, the type of operation that is needed. I've found that when these students associate a rhythm with each step they find it much easier to remember all ofthe steps in order.


  • I have used the Elements Song and the Large Hadron Collider Rap to show them that some science can be put to music in a fun way. For those that enjoy music, it has helped to maintain their interest in the topic.




Multiple Intelligences Lesson in Biology

Use of multimedia resources


Biology lends itself well to the integration of multiple intelligences and multimedia.  The use of various types of multimedia in classroom instruction helps in diversifying instruction and appealing to various intelligence types.  In recent years, there has been a dramatic increase in the accessibility of quality multimedia products.  Many of these applications are free to the general public via the Internet.  Some examples of free multimedia biology-related Internet sites, which give a user the opportunity to utilize many different types of intelligences, are as follows:

Web site:

Cells Alive!

 Heart Preview Gallery

Virtual Frog

Body Quest 

Ewe 2

Biology Topic:

Cell Structure

Circulatory System

Dissection Lab

Human Anatomy


In addition to the above sites, there is also Labs On-Line which provides interactive, inquiry based biology simulations and exercises aimed at students in AP Biology.  By incorporating the use of such sites in the classroom, the learning shifts from teacher-centered to student-centered; thereby allowing each student to take control of their own learning.  Integrating lessons with biology-related Internet sites empowers students to explore their interest and also increase motivation and involvement, reduce learning time, and increase content retention over time.  In conclusion, having teachers incorporate various techniques and resources in their lessons to address multiple intelligences diversifies the lessons and makes it more interesting both for the teacher and students. 





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