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teachers.jpgDr. Howard Gardner, a psychologist and professor of neuroscience from Harvard University, developed the theory of Multiple Intelligence (MI) in 1983. The theory challenged traditional beliefs in the fields of education and cognitive science. Unlike the established understanding of intelligence - people are born with a uniform cognitive capacity that can be easily measured by short-answer tests - MI reconsiders our educational practice of the last century and provides an alternative.

According to Howard Gardner, human beings have nine different kinds of intelligence that reflect different ways of interacting with the world. Each person has a unique combination, or profile. Although we each have all nine intelligence, no two individuals have them in the same exact configuration - similar to our fingerprints.

For Gardner, intelligence is:

  • the ability to create an effective product or offer a service that is valued in a culture;

  • a set of skills that make it possible for a person to solve problems in life;

  • the potential for finding or creating solutions for problems, which involves gathering new knowledge.


1. Linguistic Intelligence: the capacity to use language to express what's on your mind and to understand other people. Any kind of writer, orator, speaker, lawyer, or other person for whom language is an important stock in trade has great linguistic intelligence.

on_target.jpg With the Bump N Stack, Students have an opportunity to read a statement aloud and respond accordingly. If a student is struggling to find a correct response, other students are encouraged to participate, verbally committing to an acceptable answer, while turning to the student whose turn it is to state the correct response (this is known as the 'No Opt Out' technique from the book, "Teach Like a Champion", by Doug Lemov.).

2. Logical/Mathematical Intelligence: the capacity to understand the underlying principles of some kind of causal system, the way a scientist or a logician does; or to manipulate numbers, quantities, and operations, the way a mathematician does.

on_target.jpg Bump N Stack offers a great way of introducing logical/mathematical challenges to students.  Math/science facts of any type are applied to the blocks with the accompanying dry-erase markers, while students - actively engaged in manipulating the blocks - are busy contemplating their understanding of a logical/mathematical statement.  Their turn is complete after an acceptable response is provided.

3. Musical Rhythmic Intelligence: the capacity to think in music; to be able to hear patterns, recognize them, and perhaps manipulate them. People who have strong musical intelligence don't just remember music easily, they can't get it out of their minds, it's so omnipresent.

on_target.jpg Bump N Stack offers a great way of introducing musical concepts. Either one-on-one with a music instructor or within a group of music students and their instructor, students select a block from the stack and are encouraged to read and engage in the activity listed on the block, e.g. "Find Middle C on the keyboard and press the key 5 times.", or "From which family does the saxophone belong?" Their turn is complete after satisfying the statement or question.

4. Bodily/Kinesthetic Intelligence: the capacity to use your whole body or parts of your body (your hands, your fingers, your arms) to solve a problem, make something, or put on some kind of production. The most evident examples are people in athletics or the performing arts, particularly dancing or acting.

on_target.jpg Bump N Stack creates a tremendous atmosphere for movement! Students are bending, reaching, standing, reading, turning, and walking about as they find a suitable block to remove from the stack of blocks. Teachers are encouraged to provide statements that promote movement, e.g. "Walk over to our Word Wall, hop up and down while touching each of our vocabulary words at the same time sounding them aloud for others to hear you.", or "Read aloud the following sonnet and perform a brief skit illustrating the essence of the 14-line poem."

5. Spatial Intelligence: the ability to represent the spatial world internally in your mind - the way a sailor or airplane pilot navigates the large spatial world, or the way a chess player or sculptor represents a more circumscribed spatial world. Spatial intelligence can be used in the arts or in the sciences.

on_target.jpg Bump N Stack has a great knack of encouraging spatial awareness of students! Questions are framed in a way that asks students to imagine a challenge or moment where they must consider variables that contribute to their success in said challenge or moment, e.g. "You have 1-hour to get ready for school - what must you do and how will you accomplish these tasks within your time limit?", or "Look at these 6 figures and describe which one will slide the easiest - why?"

6. Naturalist Intelligence: the ability to discriminate among living things (plants, animals) and sensitivity to other features of the natural world (clouds, rock configurations). This ability was clearly of value in our evolutionary past as hunters, gatherers, and farmers; it continues to be central in such roles as botanist or chef.

on_target.jpg Bump N Stack offers a great way of introducing our natural environment; statements like "Describe 3 characteristics that define a mammal.", or "You live in a time with no electricity - how will you prepare your meals? What will you eat? Where will your food come from? How will you obtain your food?" These are all great examples that are aimed at encouraging students to put themselves in a position of surviving in a raw, natural environment with limited resources.

7. Intrapersonal Intelligence: having an understanding of yourself; knowing who you are, what you can do, what you want to do, how you react to things, which things to avoid, and which things to gravitate toward. We are drawn to people who have a good understanding of themselves. They tend to know what they can and can't do, and to know where to go if they need help.

on_target.jpg Bump N Stack is a great way of encouraging students to share something about themselves. Questions or statements like, "Tell us one fact about yourself and how it makes you unique.", or "Share a story about yourself that illustrates courage/strength/happiness/sadness."...the sky's the limit when it comes to discovering your students inner-qualities. A special note of encouragement here - make it known to your students that they should only share what they are comfortable sharing - no more! We want this to be a positive experience for all students, not uncomfortable or discouraging; teachers - use your best judgment.

8. Interpersonal Intelligence: the ability to understand other people. It's an ability we all need, but is especially important for teachers, clinicians, salespersons, or politicians - anybody who deals with other people.

on_target.jpg Bump N Stack offers an opportunity for students to discover others and their relationship among them. Possible statements include, "Take a look at this picture and describe what you see (range of feelings, actions); give an example of a time when you witnessed someone else with this feeling and your response to the situation." This is a great way of introducing topics like bullying, helping others, working toward the greater-good.

9. Existential Intelligence: the ability and tendency to pose (and ponder) questions about life, death, and ultimate realities.

on_target.jpg Bump N Stack has no limits when it comes to discovering life and its endless potential. Be creative...remember, the blocks are but a canvas to our imagination! "What does life mean to you?" "What one idea motivates you to get up in the morning?" "How do you prioritize your life?"