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Review: Multiple Intelligences in the Mathematics Classroom

One of my favorite subjects to write about is the use of multiple intelligences (MI) in teaching Math. A while back I reviewed Math for Humans and I wrote a couple of articles that touch on MI: 10 ways to get wild about Math, and 11 tips for building a strong Math foundation for kids. I also reviewed a really nice Math history book that helps engage interpersonal intelligence. And, I wrote 26 tips for using learning styles to help your kids with Math, that relates to MI.

Multiple Intelligences in the Mathematics Classroom, by Hope Martin, is a great book with very practical ideas for incorporating MI into activities that homeschool parents could guide and motivated kids could work out on their own.

The book has 32 activities, divided into five chapters:

  • Chapter 1: Estimation, Large Numbers, and Numeration
  • Chapter 2: Applying Fractions and Decimals in the "Real World"
  • Chapter 3: Geometry: The Mathematical Window to Our World
  • Chapter 4: The Measure of Mathematics
  • Chapter 5: Data Collection and Probability

There's an appendix with guidelines on designing your own activities.

The book is geared towards grades 5-8. Charts are included to relate activities to the NCTM standards and to the intelligences targeted. The book is very well organized. Each activity is divided into a number of sections:

  • Math topics: lists the subject areas covered by the activity
  • Types of intelligences: lists the different intelligences accessed
  • Concepts: provides a very high level overview of what the child will be doing
  • Materials: tells what the materials are
  • What to do: gives step by step directions
  • Variation: provides ways to extend the activity
  • Assessment: suggests how to assess performance
  • Worksheets (1 or more): what the child writes on, sheets are ready to be copied
  • Grading Matrix: for recording performance of student against criteria specific to the activity

My favorite part of the book is how creative the activities are. My very favorite activity is "Making a Tangram Quilt." Students work in pairs to design 8x8 quilts using some or all of the tangram pieces (they can use a shape multiple times). They then make paper or fabric quilts with their designs. Then, the students can join their quilts to make a big quilt incorporating the creations of the entire class. Brilliant!

Other fun activities include "How Long is Your Digestive System?", "How Long Would it Take to Walk to China?", and "Just How Big is the Statue of Liberty?" These activities are particularly nice for their relevance to the real world.

This book would be a fine addition to the library of any teacher or homeschooler.

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