Multiple Intelligences: How to Teach Young Students to be Smart

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Utilizing Multiple Intelligences for Differentiated Instruction

Up until the present day, standardized intelligence exams are used to determine the intellectual capacity of learners. For years, many individuals are convinced that they are not smart enough because of failure in a one-size-fits-all I.Q test. Fortunately, Howard Gardner, a professor in Harvard University, has determined that intellect is a pluralistic phenomenon. He has identified seven types of multiple intelligences, which are collectively known as the multiple intelligence theory.

Utilizing Multiple Intelligences for Differentiated Instruction

What is Multiple Intelligence?

Each person has a unique profile, and is gifted in different intelligences in varying degrees. Howard Gardner’s multiple intelligences theory states that a person may excel in one or two fields, has moderate skills in three, and is weak in one or two types of intelligences. Gardner’s discovery has proven to be a great help for educators and psychologists to better understand the differences in every child. Below are quick explanations of each, and additional tips on how you can nurture your students’ different strengths and aptitudes.


Children who have strong logical and mathematical skills love numbers, have amazing problem-solving skills, and enjoy creating connections. They are interested in knowing how things work, and like asking “how” and “why” questions.

Tip: Formulate mathematical problems, conduct simple scientific experiments, and incorporate math games in the class. You can also arrange chess or Sudoku games once a week to further develop the logical intelligence of the students.


Children who excel in linguistic intelligence have a knack for words and language. They are able to express themselves through writing and speaking, and are able to manipulate words to create poetry, prose, and other forms of literature.

Tip: Read a short story to students, and divide them into several groups. Allow them to discuss about the tale for fifteen minutes. Choose a representative from each group to re-tell the story based on how they understood it. You can also organize a word-of-the-day scheme, and ask volunteer students to use the word in a sentence.


Children who are good in this field can easily visualize images and their dimensions. They are equipped with an imaginative mind, and have great motor skills.

Tip: Ask your students to tell a story about their weekend through drawing or painting.  Another idea is to instruct them to form their favorite animal using clay or blocks.


Musical intelligence is the ability to recognize rhythm, pitch, and music. Children who excel in this area have great chances of working in the music industry.

Tip: Play a classic nursery rhyme song in the class. Together with the students, make your own nursery rhyme by changing the words in the song while keeping the original rhythm of the music. Encourage your students to learn how to play instruments by bringing a flute or a guitar to the class. Teach them the basic skills that they need to play the instrument, and ask a volunteer to play the instrument for the class.


Kinesthetic intelligence is the ability to mentally control one’s movements in order to achieve a body coordination system. This type of intelligence would lead a child to dominate in sporty activities.

Tip: Enhance hand-eye coordination by giving coaching lessons to your students on how to play ball games, like baseball, basketball, and Frisbee. Arrange a friendly match, and encourage everyone to participate in the games.

coaching lessons to your students on how to play ball games


This is the capability to reflect and understand one’s feelings and emotions. Children who are introspective are excellent in capitalizing on their strengths and weaknesses.

Tip: Ask the children to write about what they want to become when they grow up. This activity will allow them to reflect, and listen to the thoughts in their heads. Communicating with one’s self is just as important as interacting with other children.


Children who have an interpersonal intelligence can easily sympathize with other children. It is easy for them to detect the feelings and emotions of those around them. They are often called “people-person,” and strive on the interaction that they get with other children.

Tip: Make up a story about two people who are having a conflict, and discuss with your students how it could possibly be solved. Another idea is to flash some cards showing different people displaying varied facial expressions.  Ask the students what each of these people are feeling or thinking.

The latest addition to Gardner’s multiple intelligence theory is the Naturalistic Intelligence. Children who are quick to observing and understanding patterns in the natural environment are most likely to fall in this category. If you have naturalists in the class, bring them outside the classroom from time to time, and allow them to observe and explore the surroundings. Such activities would involve scientific discoveries, leading to more complicated questions, as in the metamorphosis in butterflies.


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