20 Aug

Multiple Intelligences and Math

Based on ground-breaking cognitive research, Howard Gardner of Harvard has identified eight distinct intelligences which he classified as Multiple Intelligences (MI). His ideas when applied to the school scenario have wide implications in effective teaching-learning. He says that we all have these intelligences in varying degrees, with one or more that gain prominence over others. Each individual child with his or her unique intelligence profile can learn better, faster and more effectively when teaching-learning is oriented towards nurturing and fostering the development of multiple intelligences and uses these as the basis for learning.

When teachers adopt strategies for math competency development based on each of the MIs, they allow children with all kinds of MI profiles to participate and benefit from these. Some ideas that would be worth trying out in the classroom are given below for the specific MI that they are based on:


Math and Verbal-linguistic Intelligence (Language Smart):

• Write a set of story problems to be solved by others
• Create poems or rhymes telling when to use different math operations
• Explain how to work on a problem and have others follow the steps
• Make up puns, slogans or acronyms using math related vocabulary

Logical-Mathematical Intelligence (Logic Smart):

• Create number sequences or patterns and have others find the pattern
• Design classification charts for formulae and operations to be put up in class
• Identify and share steps used to solve problems in a systematic way
• Find unknown quantities in a problem

Math and Spatial Intelligence (Picture Smart):

• Represent math problems in pictorial form
• Use multi-media to teach concepts
• Use art and craft for actual representation of algebraic equations such as (a + b)2
• Create problems that require actively visualizing processes, sequences or patterns

Math and Kinaesthetic intelligence (Body Smart):

• Estimate measurements by sight and touch
• Conduct basic mathematical operations using manipulatives
• Represent answers and results in graphs where appropriate
• Choose and show ration and proportion using appropriate materials

Math and Musical Intelligence (Music Smart):

• Learn mathematical operations, formulae and theorems through rhyme, songs and jingles
• Memorize times tables by putting them to rhythmic beats (rap works very well!)
• Make up sound codes to give clues on the mathematical operations to be performed in solving a math problem
• Use musical beats to build up rhythm to speed up computing speed

Math and Naturalist Intelligence (Nature Smart):

• Graph positive and negative influences on the environment
• Understand and appreciate the mathematical patterns of the natural world and environment
• Use ‘nature related’ manipulatives in solving math problems
• Create math problems around the natural world

Interpersonal Intelligence (People Smart):

• Solve complex story problems in a group
• Conduct surveys that requires collection of data which can then be presented as graphs or as percentages
• Adopt the ‘Each one, Teach one’ approach
• Organise teams to work on large projects

Intrapersonal Intelligence (Self Smart):

• Bridge math concepts into real life
• Use guided imagery to visualize and solve difficult story problems
• Evaluate strengths and weaknesses in math understanding and plan new strategies for success
• Observe and note causes of behavioural changes or mood shifts while attempting math problems
Designing pedagogy to include the MIs is a great way to ensure that math is a rewarding experience for all children in the classroom.

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