Multiple Intelligences Lesson Plans by Clifford Morris and Branton Shearer | Home
Many of the following lesson plans / strategies were created by practicing teachers. Their main objective was to extend the range of student intelligences engaged in the wider learning process. Teachers rewrote existing lesson / unit plans, adding and altered classroom activities so that their student's learning process might be enhanced and true understanding of the topic enriched.
At the end of some of the lesson plans, teachers included their reflections so that the reader may hear their reasoning on the benefit of this type of (MI) instruction. Most experienced teachers find that MI lesson planning was quite familiar and affirming because they often already thought this way naturally. The structure of the MI approach was beneficial for even the most experienced teacher because it added dimensions that were easily neglected. This was especially true for teachers of kindergarten and elementary school children who had to think across numerous disciplines. High school teachers, on the other hand, who were more discipline focused often found thinking in cross discipline terms to be more of a challenge.
A fundamental guideline to MI lesson planning is to ask yourself the question: "How might I translate this information/topic/concept/skill into variety of different yet appropriate intelligences?" Of course, there is no such thing as the perfect MI plan that engages every intelligence. Moreover, it is not necessary to involve all of the intelligences in a lesson or unit. Most "real life" activities and work require a combination of skill in two (2) or three (3) dominant intelligences for successful completion. The addition of intelligences beyond these dominant few will most likely enhance the final product. Classroom activities that mirror the working process of "real life" experts will often be quite successful. The exception to this rule is that many students have dominant intelligences (and weaknesses) in areas different from experts in that field. Thus, the need to create lesson plans that go beyond the traditional dominant intelligences usually associated with the content. The following lesson plans are offered not as "perfect plans" but rather to illustrate how current classroom teachers in a variety of disciplines have approached the challenge of expanding the range of intelligences involved in tackling a topic.
MI teaching is not always drastically different from what many teachers have been doing quite naturally. It does, however, necessitate that the lecture-listen-text-test classroom procedure be replaced or enhanced with activities that actively engage students in diverse, authentic and meaningful tasks. Many teachers ask How do I begin if I want to teach with MI in mind?
There is no one "right way" to teach with MI but, instead, there are a range of options that you may consider as starting points. The art of MI teaching is a personal activity that requires careful thought regarding individual growth and professional effectiveness. You may review the following list of ideas and select those that are the most feasible for you.
Expand your strengths
- Add one (1) intelligence at a time to your teaching in a way that is comfortable for you but still stretches your teaching repertoire.
- Develop a year-long personal development plan to add one or several different MI teaching activities and strategies throughout the school year in a systematic way.
- Add a new form of MI-related technology into your instruction / units to increase student motivation.
- Bring an MI activity from home that is a real strength and interest for you into your curriculum.
- Adopt one or more compensatory strategies (i.e., tape players, video machines, guest presenters, field trips) to incorporate additional intelligences into your lessons and units.
- Gather periodically with like-minded colleagues and brain-storm MI strategies.
- Write a proposal for a mini-grant to fund new MI activities, software or student assessment.
Develop and use of the power of the MI language
- Teach students about the 8 Multiple Intelligences of Howard Gardner.
- Use MI language to "unpack your thinking" (Visual-spatial thinking, Bodily-kinaesthetic problem solving, Logical-mathematical reasoning, etc.) to describe how you solve problems, create things and provide valuable services.
- Bring in expert-type guests (i.e., architects, artists, writers, engineers, social workers, musicians, local historians, etc.) to teach students the language used by people in the field.
- Require that students learn the MI vocabulary and give assignments where students must use it to explain their thinking and productions.
- Connect the intelligences to the school's curricular and extra-curricular activities.
Highlight an MI of the day / week / month
- Bring in a guest who exemplifies the designated intelligence.
- Teach alternative studying strategies using each intelligence (i.e., mind mapping, musical memorization, learning by doing and movement, etc.)
- One Minute MI News Flash: Describe some important aspect of the designated intelligence daily.
- Have student Expert Volunteers speak briefly on the daily MI and how it is used in their lives / career plans.
Add Intrapersonal Intelligence Activities to Lessons
- Put the development of student self-awareness first on your curriculum.
- Give a range of MI choices for projects and learning activities.
- Provide opportunities for expression of student feelings about the material.
- Provide forms for student Self-Assessment and grade prediction by students.
- Have students use Goal Setting, Project Planning, Self-Monitoring, Evaluation and Reflection forms.
- Provide opportunities for Peer Feedback and evaluation to students.
Accentuating Student Strengths
- Give student self-assessment and interest surveys and incorporate interests in class activities.
- Make careful observations of your students and create informal assessments of their MI strengths and weaknesses especially for those students who are struggling in your class.
- Recognize and value students who are strong in a non-academic area and link it to the curriculum.
- Create MI class group profiles to become familiar with the whole group in a general way.
- Create opportunities for positive student feedback regarding MI strengths.
- Make efforts to connect student strengths with the curriculum material.
- Avoid comments about student abilities that create "paralyzing" negative experiences.
Introduce MI projects into your curriculum
- Create meaningful (perhaps small) projects that reinforce reading and lectures.
- Set your criteria so that four (4) or five (5) of the intelligences are activated.
- Make sure that students must present their work publicly and receive feedback.
- Make projects that represent "authentic, real world" work connected to important questions in "the field."
Multiple Intelligences Lesson Plans
- MI Units of Study
- Anatomy of a Multiple Intelligences (MI) Lesson Plan
- General MI Lesson Plans
- Google here and type in "Lesson Plans and Multiple Intelligences"
- Kindergarten Art Scroll down to # 4a Diana Labbe's Lesson Plan
- Grade 1 Scroll to # 4.1 If You Can't Make Waves, Make Ripples by Shiffy Landa, Grade 1 Teacher
- Grade 4 and Attention Deficit Disorder Scroll to # 4 The MIDAS and Attention Deficit Disorders by Marne Jo Patterson
- Grade 4: Special Education and Reading Scroll to # 4 Multiple intelligences (MI) lesson plans: Part II by Clifford Morris
- LD is Learning Disabilities and Learning Differently Scroll to # 5 Thomas Armstrong's other LD by Clifford Morris
- Grade 4 Art
- Grade 4 Geometry
- Grade 5 and 6 Library Scroll to # 3 Multiple intelligences (MI) lesson plans: Part I by Angie Thompson and Mary Strouse
- Grade 6 Science Scroll down to # 4b Angie Thompson's Lesson Plan
- Grade 7 Math: Lateral Thinking and Logical Puzzles
- Grade 8 History
- Grade 9 Music
- Grades 9 -- 12
- Leslie Wilson's Secondary School Lesson Plans
- Secondary School French Scroll to # 5.4 Lesson Plan: Exploring French-Speaking Africa by Julie Hanna
- Secondary School Literature Scroll to # 5.1 Lesson Plan: Literature-Based Projects by Kathleen McCafferty
- Secondary School Mathematics Scroll to # 5.2 and # 5.3 Lesson Plans: Integrating MI and Technology to Personalize the Curriculum by Deb Merrow and Exponential Models in Math by Jill Madonia, respectively
- Grade 10 History
- Grade 10-11 Spanish
- Primary and Intermediate Literacy Strategies
- Job Skills
This web page was last modified on Monday, 12 July, 2004