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Using Multiple Intelligence Theory In The Mathematics Classroom

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1997 Annual Conference


Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Publication Date

June 15, 1997

Start Date

June 15, 1997

End Date

June 18, 1997



Page Count


Page Numbers

2.476.1 - 2.476.11



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Paper Authors

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Robert J. Radin

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Joan Dannenhoffer

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 1265

Using Multiple Intelligence Theory in the Mathematics Classroom

Joan V. Dannenhoffer, Robert J. Radin Ward College of Technology at the University of Hartford


Gardner’s theory of Multiple Intelligences (MI ) states that people learn through a combination of eight intelligences rather than one intelligence as was originally believed. Furthermore, each person has several dominant intelligences through which he/she learns better and more quickly. Two applications which use multiple intelligences in teaching concepts in college level mathematics courses are described. Anecdotal evidence suggests that students have better long- term comprehension when multiple intelligence theory is used in the presentation of concepts. Finally, the need for formal assessment of the outcome of using MI theory is discussed.


The purpose of this paper is to introduce the theory of multiple intelligences and show how it can be used in the classroom. The authors had been using learning style theories in developing applications in the mathematics and physics classrooms in an effort to maximize the outcome for students with very diverse backgrounds and natural abilities. Teaching an extremely heterogeneous group of students presents this challenge. How does one impact the long-term comprehension of concepts in a classroom where the students’ natural abilities are so varied? It became clear that multiple intelligence theory, developed by Howard Gardner, provided a definitive, yet broad framework for developing curricula which could be used to better service this group of students.

Using MI theory, we have experimented with a number of presentations techniques in the classroom. Two examples, physical models of mathematical concepts and visual models of algebraic concepts are presented in this paper. Initial student reactions have been positive and indicate increased comprehension as a result of using these techniques.

The historical background of how MI theory evolved as an educational philosophy will be described. Each of the eight types of intelligences are explained and two applications of how MI theory has been used in the mathematics classroom are presented. The results of using MI theory and suggestions for using this theory in developing curriculum are discussed throughout the paper.

Multiple Intelligences

According to Multiple Intelligence (MI) theory, individuals possess a set of eight intellectual competencies by which they learn, as opposed to one general intelligence. The eight

Radin, R. J., & Dannenhoffer, J. (1997, June), Using Multiple Intelligence Theory In The Mathematics Classroom Paper presented at 1997 Annual Conference, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. 10.18260/1-2--6879

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