Multiple Intelligences Lesson Plan

Instructor: Sharon Linde
Use this lesson to teach your students about the theory of multiple intelligences. Compare and contrast the theory to traditional intelligence, then allow students to put the theory to practice using short biographies.

Learning Objectives

After this lesson, students will be able to:

  • define and explain the theory of multiple intelligences
  • compare and contrast intelligence theories and definitions
  • identify types of intelligences in selves and others


  • 1 hour

Curriculum Standards

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.11-12.1.c

Propel conversations by posing and responding to questions that probe reasoning and evidence; ensure a hearing for a full range of positions on a topic or issue; clarify, verify, or challenge ideas and conclusions; and promote divergent and creative perspectives.

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.11-12.1

Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grades 11-12 topics, texts, and issues, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.11-12.3

Evaluate a speaker's point of view, reasoning, and use of evidence and rhetoric, assessing the stance, premises, links among ideas, word choice, points of emphasis, and tone used.


  • For homework the night before, have students write an autobiographical paragraph that includes what they like to do, things they're good at, and accomplishments. If possible, have students type and print, leaving names off. Before class, assign a number to each paper.
  • Begin class by asking students to define the word 'intelligence.' Make a list of characteristics intelligent people have. Discuss:
    • How do we know whether or not someone is intelligent?
    • What value does our society put on intelligence?
    • Do you know anyone who is intelligent yet struggles in school?
  • Show our video Multiple Intelligences.
  • Brainstorm the eight intelligences mentioned and qualities of each. Record on the board or chart paper.
  • Ask:
    • How does Howard Gardner's theory change what you think of intelligence?
    • Have you seen evidence the theory changed education or the definition of intelligence? How?


  • Explain that students will be reading one another's papers and determining which intelligence the person exhibits. Have students create a three-column chart labeled 'Number,' 'Intelligence,' and 'Reason.'
  • Randomly pass out papers and allow students to read.
  • Have students write the number from the essay, the intelligence the person exhibits, and the reason why.
  • Redistribute papers a few times, allowing students to practice with several essays.
  • Have students claim their essay. Share thoughts and ideas among students. Were students' interpretations the same? Why or why not? Were they accurate? Discuss.


  • Print biographies of famous people and repeat the activity. Share thoughts and ideas.
  • Have students review the feedback from classmates and write a reflection.
  • Ask students to imagine a school that only taught to one intelligence, such as naturalistic. What would that be like?

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