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Reinforcing Math Skills Through the Multiple Intelligences

Improve your child's Math skills by tapping into his or her best style of learning.

Reinforcing Math Skills Through the Multiple Intelligences

If there is one subject that should be taught on an individual basis, it is mathematics. But most school children do not receive individualized instruction. The majority of math classes consist of a teacher-led lesson directed at the whole class followed by individual practice and sometimes group-activity reinforcement. I have worked in classrooms that allow students to work through a text book at their own pace, using the teacher as a resource when necessary. This works well for students who are strong conceptual learners and can process information through written instructions. But a student who learns better through hands-on experiences will flounder through this type of text-book only learning.

The surest way of guaranteeing that your child encounters mathematical experiences that approach his or her best learning styles is to include math activities in the home as often as possible. But don't start picturing dreary evenings of pencils, erasures and columns of figures. Reinforcing math skills through the multiple intelligences can be lots of fun!

First of all, what are the multiple intelligences?

  • Visual/Spatial Intelligence
    • Someone who is a visual/spatial learner thinks in pictures. Understanding takes place best when using or creating images. Visual learners benefit from films, pictures, graphs, maps, etc.

  • Verbal/Linguistic Intelligence
    • The verbal/linguistic learner can absorb great amounts of information just from listening. In addition, they are often excellent at giving oral presentations. Their brains often picture words in place of images when processing or recalling information.

  • Logical/Mathematical Intelligence
    • These are the people who are masters of reason and logic. They love working with numbers and patterns. Excellent at drawing conclusions from gathered data, these learners are prone to asking endless questions and conducting experiments.

  • Bodily/Kinesthetic Intelligence
    • You can usually spot these people through their natural grace and rhythm. The kinesthetic learner grasps concepts most successfully while in motion.

  • Musical/Rhythmic Intelligence
    • Musically inclined people learn best through sounds, rhythms and patterns. Memory rhymes such as "Thirty days hath September…" are especially effective for rhythmic learners.

  • Interpersonal Intelligence
    • These are the social geniuses who always seem to know exactly what to do or say in any given situation. Great at organizing and natural born leaders, the person possessing interpersonal intelligences often learns best in a group situation.

  • Intrapersonal Intelligence
    • Excellent at setting and reaching goals, the learner who ranks high in intrapersonal intelligence is an effective self-directed learner. Drills and skill games are great ways to stimulate an intrapersonal learner.

So now that you have a better understanding of what the multiple intelligences are, how do you go about putting them to work? First, find out what your strengths are:
Multiple Intelligence Inventory

How To Learn

Next, find activities to reinforce skills using the learning styles that indicated the highest tendencies. For this article, we are going to use the skill of understanding equivalent fractions. For each of the seven different intelligences listed above I will suggest activities that use that style of learning as the primary approach.

Visual/Spatial Intelligence

Visual learners respond well to colors and images. This link takes you to an online lesson that makes excellent use of color and shape to teach fractions.

Who Wants Pizza? A Fun Way to Learn Fractions

Another great visual learning activity for reinforcing fraction skills you can create using everyday objects in your own home. Choose two common items that you have several of each. For example, two different types of dry beans, two different colors of buttons, pennies and nickels, etc. Now designate one of the groups to represent the numerators of your fractions, the other group represents the denominators. (Parents, use the words numerators and denominators instead of top number and bottom number. Many tests that students must take, expect the student to know the correct math terms.)

Now make groups of the two items to make fractions. For our example, we are going to make the fraction 16/24. So, we have 16 red buttons spread out on the top part of our work table and 24 blue buttons on the bottom.

Next, explain to the child that you are going to make an equivalent fraction that is equal to 16/24 by grouping the buttons of the numerator and denominator. Put both set of buttons into groups of two. Now count the number of groups that you formed and name your new fraction as 8/12.

Okay, repeat the process by grouping the buttons into three's. Oops! There is a problem. Grouping by three's won't work. Even though the blue denominator group divides easily into eight groups of three, you get five groups of three with one button left over in our red numerator group. It is easy to see that this grouping does not name an equivalent fraction. One button left over prevents you from forming equal groups.

Continue trying all the possible number groupings to find the remaining equivalent fractions that can be named from 16/24. Repeat the process with a different numerator and denominator as long as interest remains high.

Verbal/Linguistic Intelligence

Verbal learners absorb information easily from written material. A person who is a verbal learner could benefit from well-written instructions and lessons such as the ones provided here by

Fraction lesson and games

Have fun reinforcing equivalent fractions with your verbal learner by creating word problems for each other to solve.

Martha's mother was serving pizza for her birthday party. Including herself, there would be six people at the party. Knowing that smaller pieces of pizza are less messy than large pieces, Martha's mother cuts the pizza into twenty-four pieces. How many pieces of pizza does each person get? What fraction represents each person's share of the pizza? What if Martha's mother had cut the pieces bigger so that everyone got two pieces, what fraction would represent each share?

Teaching Math Using the Multiple Intelligences - Page 2

Our editor, Jean Fisher, is a former elementary teacher. She offers "What's For Dinner?" as a free service for busy families.One delicious meal is suggested for each day of the week, plus an organized grocery shopping list that can be customized to include all your shopping needs.You will also find two stimulating table topics and one educational after-dinner activity for each day.

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