An Overview of Howard Gardners
The definition of an intelligence according to Gardner is
" the ability to solve a problem or make something that is valued by a
The Eight Multiple Intelligences
The following excerpt is the latest definition of Gardners
EIGHT Intelligences in his own words:
"Linguistic intelligence is the capacity to
use language, your native language, and perhaps other languages, to express
whats on your mind and to understand other people. Poets really specialize
in linguistic intelligence, but any kind of writer, orator, speaker, lawyer,
or a person for whom language is an important stock in trade highlights linguistic
People with highly developed logical-mathematical intelligence
understand the underlying principle of some kind of causal system, the way a
scientist or a logician does; or can manipulate numbers, quantities, and operations,
the way a mathematician does.
Spatial intelligence refers to the ability to represent
the spatial world internally in you mind--the way a sailor or airplane pilot
navigates the large spatial world, or the way a chess player or sculptor represents
a more circumscribed spatial world. Spatial intelligence can be used in the
arts or in the science. If you are spatially intelligent and oriented toward
the arts, you are more likely to become a printer or a sculptor or and architect
than, say, a musician or a writer. Similarly, certain sciences like anatomy
or topology emphasize spatial intelligence. (Note: formerly the "Visual-spatial
Bodily kinesthetic intelligence is the capacity to
use your whole body or parts of your body -- your hand, your fingers, your arms
-- to solve a problem, make something, or put on some kind of a production.
The most evident example are people in athletics or performing arts, particularly
dance or acting.
Musical intelligence is the capacity to think in
music, to be able to hear patterns, recognize them, remember them, and perhaps
manipulate them. People who have a strong musical intelligence don't just remember
music easily -- they cant get it out of their minds, its so omnipresent.
Now, some people will say, "Yes, music is important, but its a talent,
not an intelligence." And I say, "Fine, lets call it a talent."
But, then we have to leave the word intelligent out of all discussion of human
ability. You know, Mozart was damned smart!
Interpersonal intelligence is understanding other
people. Its an ability we need, but is at a premium if you are a teacher,
clinician, salesperson, or politician. Anybody who deals with other people has
to be skilled in the interpersonal sphere.
Intrapersonal intelligence refers to having an understanding
of yourself, of knowing who you are, what you can do, what you want to do, how
you react to things, which things to avoid, and which things to gravitate toward.
We are drawn to people who have a good understanding of themselves because those
people tend not to screwed up. They tend to know what they can do. They tend
to know what they cant do. And they tend to know where to go, if they need help.
Naturalist intelligence (new this year) designates
the human ability to discriminate among living things (plants and animals) as
well as sensitivity to other features of the nature world (clouds, rock configurations).
This ability was clearly of value in our evolutionary past as hunters, gatherers,
and farmers; it continues to be central in such roles as botanist or chef. I
also speculate that much of our consumer society exploits the naturalist intelligences,
which can be mobilized in the discrimination among cars, sneakers, kinds of
makeup, and the like. The kind of pattern recognition valued in certain of the
sciences may also draw upon naturalist intelligence" (Educational
Leadership 55, 1, Sep. 1997, p. 12).
Sample Multiple Intelligence Activities for a Unit
Leslie Gordon, 1995
- Research snow using books and the Internet. Pretend you are a snowflake.
Write a story from that point of view. Include your knowledge ofsnow and the
- Read one of Jean Craighead Georges A Day in
the... series and write an adventure story where snow plays a major role
use the same daily journal form she uses.
- Find as many words as you can that describe different
kinds of snow. Use books and the Internet. Make a book or a slide show to
teach other people what you learned. Include a bibliography of your sources.
- Research snow in books and on the Internet. Write a book
of poems celebrating and/or denouncing snow. Be sure to use at least six different
kinds of poems (haiku, couplets, cinquains, etc.). Show what you have learned
about snow, including the different kinds and how it behaves.
- Write and put on a short play that includes characteristics
and behaviors of snow as a part of the plot.
- Research and write an essay about a certain phenomenon
related to snow. Include a bibliography of your sources. At least one should
be from the Internet.
- Look a Robert Bentleys book Snowflakes.
Select six different snowflakes and enlarge them on the copier, then measure
all the angles with a protractor. Did you find any patterns? What else did
you discover? What are your ideas about why this might be? Design your own
snowflake using the protractor. Upon what polygonal shape is the snowflake
based? Why do you think that might be? Present what you learned in a slide
- Measure metrically the depth of the snow in six different
environments around your school (under a tree, next to the building, etc.).
Record your measurements and show them in graphic form (map and graph). Think
about why the depths might be different. Share your map, graphs, and ideas
with your class.
- Set up an experiment where you test the insulation value
of six different materials by seeing how fast the snow will melt in insulated
containers in the classroom. Be sure to control your variables and do your
tests at least three times. Make a graph of your results. Think about an explanation
for your results and give a presentation to your class.
- Record your predictions about how much water will be
left when you melt 100 ml of snow. Gather the snow from six different sites
and see how much water is left when you melt it. Record your results. Find
the average and compare it to each site. Show what you have learned graphically
and try to explain what you observed.
- Select ten snowflakes from Robert Bentleys book
Snowflakes and design a dichotomous key classification system that
will have only one snowflake in each category when you get to the bottom.
Use numbers (number of points, angles, size, etc.) for at least three categories.
Write up your key so that a friend could use it and present it to the class.
- Snowflakes are hexagonal, but there are many other polygons.
Select two other "regular polygons". Study the snowflakes in Robert
Bentleys book Snowflakes. Try to make "snowflake-type designs"
in two other polygonal shapes. Use a protractor, compass, and a ruler to make
your designs. Use color to make your designs more aesthetic if you would like.
Share your designs with the class.
- Research an artist who painted a lot of snow scenes.
Learn about his/her life, art, and ideas. Paint a picture of a snow scene
in the style of that artist. Be ready to share your artist and art with the
- Research the history of ice and snow sculpture. Research
how ice/snow sculptures are made by talking to a local snow/ice sculpture.
Make your own sculpture on the school grounds or at home. Share the sculpture
with your class and explain the process that you used.
- Research different kinds of snow in books and on the
Internet. Share what you learned with your class in the form of a song or
a rap. Include at least five types of snow and the characteristics of each.
- Make a tape collection of songs about snow. Keep a bibliography.
Set up a center to share it with your class.
- Design a dance or instrumental concert with snow as the
- Sit quietly in the snow for ten minutes. Make a sound
map recording your ideas about what you hear, how far away it was, and what
you think might have made the sound. Listen especially for patterns of sound.
- Research different kinds of snow shelters. Select one
and build it at home or at school with adult supervision. Use a thermometer
for a week to chart the temperatures inside and outside of the shelter. Graph
your results. Be ready to share what you did and what you learned with the
- Learn how to cross-country ski or teach a friend. Make
a flow chart of the steps you took in order. Share it with the class.
- Learn how to build a fire in the snow. Make a flow chart.
Teach the class.
- Build a snow pit. Observe the snow (crystal structure)
carefully at different levels using a hand lens. Gather information about
the kinds of snow, layering, temperatures, and pollution. Draw a profile to
show how and where the snow changes. It might help to look at a resource describing
different types of snow.
- Build a portable snow/winter survival kit. Research what
should go into the kit and then put one together. Share it with your class.
- Research different snow activities in books or on the
Internet. You may even want to interview the physical education teacher. Plan
a snow field trip or field day for your class. Be sure there is something
fun for everyone to do and that the activities are safe.
- Design a learning center or hands-on activity about snow
for little kids (first or second graders). Take it to their class, introduce
it to them, and help them with it.
- Write and direct a play about snow or with snow as an
important part of the plot.
- Spend ten minutes a day observing the snow. Keep a journal
of your thoughts, observations, and questions concerning the snow.
- Think about how your life would be different if there
were no snow. Figure out a way to express or explain your thoughts and ideas.
- Spend time in the snow. Observe using all five senses,
then write a poem expressing how it affected you emotionally (your feelings)
and physically (your body). Refer to all five senses.
- Research the snow/winter survival strategies of six different
animals that live in the Interior. Select a means to share what you learned
- Dig three pits in the snow down to ground level (subnivean
layer). Observe carefully for at least a week. Record your observations in
a journal with words and drawings.
- Keep a track journal. Draw a line down the middle of
your journal pages. Record tracks (only as a series, not in isolation) on
the left side of your journal pages and write words that describe your ideas
about what the animal is doing and why on the right side. If you would like
to try to identify the animal, you might want to research them in a track
- How do plants survive the winter? Talk to a local scientist
and prepare a short presentation for the class. Be sure to include at least
three visual aids.