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How will we explore multiple intelligences theory in the classroom?
How do I apply multiple intelligences (M.I.) theory in my classroom?
What are some simple ways to get started?
What are some of the challenges I may face?
How do I assess students' progress?
How does curriculum align with state and national standards?
How does technology complement the M.I. approach?
How do I work with my school, the parents, and the community?

How do I apply multiple intelligences (M.I.) theory in my classroom?

There are many different ways to apply multiple intelligences theory in the classroom. You probably employ a variety of intelligences already.

At all levels of education, teachers are transforming subject-specific lessons and curriculum units into meaningful M.I. experiences.

  • History courses study period music and art.
  • Science units incorporate visual, musical and kinesthetic experiences.
  • Language arts classes reading Civil War literature visit re-enactments and build a topographical map.

As educators explore more effective methods of assessment, they frequently encourage their students to demonstrate understanding through M.I. activities.

  • Elementary school students compose and perform songs about math concepts which satisfy the rubrics they and their teachers have developed.
  • Middle school students create multimedia presentations combining animations, MIDI compositions, and writing to satisfy interdisciplinary unit requirements.
  • High school students demonstrate mastery of self-formulated research questions through art, writing portfolios, and giving speeches before panels of local citizens.

While you look at the following grid, think of

  • Other events, artifacts, content and activities you might incorporate into the subject matter you teach.
  • A variety of appropriate ways students in your classroom might demonstrate understanding.

Multiple Intelligence Type
Incorporated into subject matter
Way of demonstrating understanding


Books, stories, poetry, speeches, author visits

Writing stories, scripts, poems, storytelling


Exercises, drills, problem solving

Counting, calculating, theorizing, demonstrating, programming computers


Tapes, CD's, concert going

Performing, singing, playing, composing


Posters, art work, slides, charts, graphs, video tapes, laser disks, CD-ROMs and DVDs, museum visits

Drawing, painting, illustrating, graphic design, collage making, poster making, photography


Movies, animations, exercises, physicalizing concepts, rhythm exercises

Dance recital, athletic performance or competition


Teams, group work, specialist roles

Plays, debates, panels, group work


Reflection time, meditation exercises

Journals, memoirs, diaries, changing behaviors, habits, personal growth


Terrariums, aquariums, class pets, farm, botanical garden and zoo visits, nature walks, museum visits

Collecting, classifying, caring for animals at nature centers


Working on causes, charity work, astrology charts

Community service

The ultimate goal of M.I. theory -- to increase student understanding -- is something for which good teachers have long striven. Excellent educators have always addressed the needs of their variously intelligent students. In this sense the real values of M.I. theory are:

  • To legitimize the powerful and wide-reaching curricula many teachers have always delivered.
  • To systematize and broadcast the theory and methodology of an enriched curriculum.

Classroom activities frequently activate and utilize more than one of the multiple intelligences. Now consider how you would add to and interpret the items on the following list:

  • Group discussion - Verbal-Linguistic; Interpersonal
  • Journal writing - Intrapersonal; Verbal/Linguistic
  • Choreography - Musical-Rhythmic; Verbal-Linguistic; Interpersonal
  • Constructing timelines - Logical-Mathematical; Visual-Spatial
  • Putting on a play - Musical-Rhythmic; Verbal/Linguistic; Interpersonal; Visual-Spatial
  • Making a video - Logical-Mathematical, Musical-Rhythmic; Verbal/Linguistic; Interpersonal; Visual-Spatial
  • Writing a report or essay - Verbal-Linguistic
  • Making graphs - Logical-Mathematical; Visual-Spatial
  • Designing posters - Verbal-Linguistic, Visual-Spatial
  • Communicating with peers or experts online - Verbal-Linguistic; Interpersonal
  • Hands-on experimentation - Kinesthetic; Logical/Mathematical
  • Composing a song - Musical/Rhythmic; Verbal-Linguistic
  • Building a model or 3-D displays - Kinesthetic; Logical-Mathematical

In this section of the M.I. Workshop (Exploration), you will have many opportunities to both analyze what you're already doing well, and to explore some new techniques that you can add to your repertoire.

Thinking Questions

Workshop: Constructivism as a Paradigm for Teaching and Learning
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