Howard Gardner, a Harvard professor, researcher, and
author, proposes that there are eight main areas in which all people have
special skills; he calls them intelligences. Every one of us possesses all the
intelligences to various degrees of development, from highly developed to fairly
Schools and standardized testing
typically teach to and test for only two of the intelligences: linguistic and
logical-mathematical. This is a shortcoming of the educational system, as many
children with other abilities are overlooked in the process.
In this series, I give some information about each
intelligence, with the hopes that parents will recognize themselves and their
- Naturalist Intelligence: excellent at recognizing and
classifying both the animal and plant kingdoms, as well as showing
understanding of natural phenomena.
These questions can determine if an adult has a
strength in Naturalist Intelligence:
- Do you like to spend time in nature?
- Do you belong to a volunteer group related to nature?
- Do you enjoy having animals around the house?
- Are you involved in a hobby that involves nature, such as
- Can you easily tell the differences among species of flora
- Do you read books or magazines, or watch television shows
or movies that feature nature?
- On vacation, do you prefer natural settings to cultural
- Do you enjoy visiting zoos, aquariums, or other places
where the natural world is studied?
- Do you enjoy working in your garden?
These are some questions to determine if children may
be exhibiting a well-developing Naturalist Intelligence. Does your child:
- talk about favorite pets or preferred natural spots?
- enjoy nature preserves, the zoo, or natural history museum?
- show sensitivity to natural formations? (Note that in urban
environments, this type of "formation" can include cultural icons.)
- like to play in water?
- hang around the pet in school or at home?
- enjoy studying environment, nature, plants, and animals?
- speak out about animal rights and earth preservation?
- collect bugs, flowers, leaves, or other natural things to
show to others?
Activities that require fine-motor coordination, such as
origami, making paper airplanes, building models, finger-painting, clay, or
- use his body well to express himself?
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