Multiple Intelligences, Ways of Knowing, Learning Styles or Channels

A review of Howard Gardner's intelligences: ways of thinking, how they relate to actions, media, materials, activities, and some discussion points.

Nine Kinds of Intelligences
as defined by Howard Gardner:

Intelligence or Learning Style by Gardner's categories Ways to Think Understand deeply when Media, Materials, & Activities
Linguistic in words reading, writing, telling stories, playing word games, books, tapes, writing tools, paper, diaries, dialogue, discussion, debate, stories,
Logical-Mathematical by reasoning experiments, categorizing, classifying, questioning figure-out logical puzzles, calculating, problems to solve, manipulatives, science materials, trips to museums, riddles, planetariums, computer programming
Spatial/visual in images and pictures designing, drawing, visualizing, doodling, imagining art objects, LEGO's, videos, movies, slides, imagination games, charts, pictures, graphs, diagrams, maps, puzzles, illustrated books, trips to museums
Bodily-Kinesthetic through body sensations dancing, running, jumping, touching, gesturing, role play, drama, movement, crafts, construction of things, sports and physical games, tactile experiences, hands-on activities
Musical via rhythms and melodies singing, whistling, humming, tapping feet and hands, listening, sing-along, trips to concerts, music playing, musical instruments
Interpersonal by communication with people, leading, negotiating leading, organizing, relating, manipulating, mediating, partying friendly discussion, group activities, social gatherings, sharing, community events, clubs, mentors, apprenticeships
Intrapersonal internal, feelings, communication with themselves, intuitive, original setting goals, meditating, dreaming, being quiet, planning secret places, time alone, self-paced projects, choices, independent projects

understands the natural world, distinguishes objects and characteristics in the natural world: flora, fauna, animals, rocks, earth, environment and their interrelationships. working in nature, exploring living things, learning about plants, animals, and natural events being outdoors, walking, hiking, camping, gardening, caring for animals, pets, farming, ranching, horticulture, green house, rock hunting, insect collections

understands a nature of existence, who are we, why we die, how we got here analyzing and thinking about things that we can't see and asking questions that don't have clear answers. books, stories, videos, and other media that deals with creation, purpose of life, and life after death. Spiritual artifacts and philosophical use of logic

"Word smart, picture smart, number smart, body smart, music smart, self smart, people smart, nature smart." Thomas Armstrong


Activities to evaluate and discuss the organization of learning activities according to multiple intelligences or learning style.

Topic learning multiplication facts.

Discuss the positives and negatives for using different intelligences to select learning activities and how an activity may or may not relate to the purpose of what students are to learn about a topic or concept to be conceptualized.


Have students write sentences for multiplication facts.

Example: Sally six ate seven limes and had a stomach ache for forty-two days.


  • Have students construct a concrete representation for a concept or process in mathematics.
  • Have students write a song about a concept or process in mathematics.
  • Have students construct multiplication bean papers. For example write 3X4 = 12 on the board and explain that multiplication is simply repeated addition. Have them put three large circles on with four bean's in each circle. Then count the bean's and write 3 X 4 = 12. Glue the beans to the paper...


Have students pick a fact or two that they are having trouble with and draw a picture.

if a student is having trouble with with 7 X 8 the picture might have a girl with a Tee shirt with the number 7 on it standing in front of apartment 8 delivering a birthday cake with the number 56 on it to her grandmother who is having her 56 birthday today.


Have students act out a problem, concept, process, ...

Example: For four times five have the student repeat four and jump four times then say times five and finish by jumping to a total of 20 times.

Example: Student writes a story and then creates a tableau (frozen stage setting with students as characters). Freeze or pose to act out a scene while another student reads a caption. [What how do you freeze or pose to act out?] Also suggests to have students discuss the skills to be a good freezer.

Example: Multiplication baseball. Put the multiplication facts on cards with easier facts singles, harder doubles, and so one. Divide the class into... Then play ball.


  • Musical or mathematical? song link - Mathematical Pi by Antoni "Ton" Chan
  • Have the students write a song about a concept, process, or generalization related to science or mathematics.
  • Is this musical intelligence or science? Song link - Sounds of Friction by Antoni "Ton" Chan
  • Write a multiplication rap for the multiplication tables.
  • Buy a tape with the multiplication facts to music and play them everyday to help students learn them more easily.


Have students help each other. Students with strong interpersonal skills can help the other students learn the multiplication tables individually.


Let students figure out how to do it themselves.

Contrary views:

  • They know best. [If they know how to learn it best, then why bother coming to school? or Why don't they already know them?] Maybe it's a lack of motivation, which may indicate a goal setting activity?
  • If students are good at finding ways of learning the multiplication tables on their own, then they may get frustrated with group activities.



Dr. Robert Sweetland's notes
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