• Allison Felten

Using Multiple Intelligences to Engage Students!

Updated: Jan 4, 2021

At some point in your educational journey, you have probably learned about Howard Gardner's famous work documented in his 1983 book "Frames of Mind". If you're a little rusty, here's a reminder: Gardner questioned the way we traditionally measure IQ and developed eight distinct types of intellectual competencies. By learning about each of the eight different intellectual competencies we will be better able to identify our student's strengths and once we identify their strengths we can teach to them.


1. Verbal-Linguistic Intelligence

People with verbal-linguistic intelligence are able to pick up on the spoken and written language. They tend to be strong writers, compelling speakers, as well as having a tendency to learn new languages. Strategies for students with verbal-linguistic intelligence:

  • Write essays

  • Give vocabulary quizzes

  • Have them recall information verbally

  • Write a short story

  • Write a poem

  • Listen to audiobooks or podcasts

  • Give a speech

  • Journal

2. Logical-Mathematical Intelligence


People with logical-mathematical intelligence are gifted when it comes to understanding and manipulating sums. They often think in a linear way and like to work through things in order. Strategies for students with logical-mathematical intelligence:

  • Give them organizers

  • Have them list steps

  • Pattern games

  • Outlining

  • Logic puzzles

  • Have them use deductive reasoning

  • Analysis or critique

  • Calculation processes

3. Visual-Spatial Intelligence


Visual-spatial intelligence enhances a person's ability to analyze and absorb patterns as well as mentally visualizing shapes in three dimensions. People with this intelligence can usually do well in visualizing and understanding both large patterns (like on maps) as well as small patterns (like painting). Strategies for students with visual-spatial intelligence:

  • Make a mural

  • Record a video

  • Make a graphic representation

  • Using or making a flow chart

  • Sculpting

  • Mind Mapping

  • Photography

  • Manipulative demonstration

4. Kinesthetic Intelligence

Kinesthetic intelligence is an intelligence that is natural to kids. People with kinesthetic intelligence use their bodies to work through problems or interpret information. Kids who count on their fingers are using this kind of intelligence. Strategies for students with kinesthetic intelligence:

  • Lab experiments

  • Dramatizations

  • Dance

  • Charade or mime

  • Physical exercise routines

  • Connect movements to concepts

  • Impersonations

  • Games

5. Musical-Rhythmic Intelligence


Musical-Rhythmic intelligence enhances a person's ability to perform, compose as well as understand music. They can more naturally breakdown or put together a piece of music, lyrics, and poems. Strategies for students with musical-rhythmic intelligence:

  • Composing music

  • Discerning rhythm patterns

  • Writing a poem or lyrics

  • Writing a rap

  • Analyzing musical structure

  • Creating percussion or tonal patterns

  • Linking concepts to a song

  • Illustrating with sound

6. Interpersonal Intelligence


People with interpersonal intelligence (not to be confused with the very similar intrapersonal intelligence) are easily able to understand and connect with others. They can quickly determine other people's wants and needs. Strategies for students with interpersonal intelligence:

  • Group "jigsaws"

  • Explaining ideas/concepts to others

  • Peer tutoring

  • Giving and receiving feedback

  • Interviews

  • Empathic processing

  • Group projects

  • People searches


7. Intrapersonal Intelligence


Intrapersonal intelligence is the ability to understand oneself. It seems like everybody would have a high level of intrapersonal understanding but true comprehension of one's thoughts, fears, and desires can be hard to solidify. Strategies for students with intrapersonal intelligence:

  • Autobiographical reporting

  • metacognitive surveys

  • higher-order questions and answers

  • Feeling diaries

  • Reflection journals

  • Making personal goals

  • Concentration tests

  • Personal history correlation

8. Environmental/Naturalist Intelligence

Someone with environmental intelligence has the ability to more easily recognize and classify aspects of their environment. Through observation, they are able to pick up on the workings of the natural world. Strategies for students with environmental intelligence:

  • Attend class outside

  • Keep a nature journal

  • Read about the local environment

  • Perform skits about nature

  • Do experiments

  • Illustrate findings

  • Write about organisms

  • Write about natural phenomenon

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