Multiple Intelligences in the Classroom with MakeyMakey

In CEP 811 this week we each chose a learning theory to research and explored ways that our maker kits could be used in the classroom in connection with this particular learning theory. The theory I chose to research was Howard Gardner’s multiple intelligences. This is a theory that has always interested me and relates well to my teaching style, where I like to draw upon many types of learning activities throughout each unit and the school year to differentiate instruction and expose students to different styles of learning. Continuing to learn about multiple intelligences will hopefully lead me to more creative lessons ideas.

The theory of multiple intelligences states that there are nine intelligences, or ways of relating to the world, that people can possess. Each person has all nine intelligences to some degree but some may be stronger than others. Intelligences can also be developed and strengthened through training and experience (Thirteen Ed Online, 2004). The nine intelligences are linguistic, logical/mathematical, musical/rhythmic, bodily/kinesthetic, visual/spatial, naturalist, intrapersonal, interpersonal, and existential. Visit this page from to learn more about all the individual intelligences.

In the classroom, students’ stronger intelligences will express themselves in higher quality work in units or subjects that require that intelligence. (Ex: Students with high visual/spatial intelligence may have strong map reading skills. Students with high linguistic intelligence may be exceptional poetry writers or find memorization be easy.) Intelligences can also be evident in the activities students choose to do during free time. (Ex: Students with high logical/mathematical intelligence often enjoy “strategy games” or “brainteasers.” Students with high boldily/kinesthetic intelligence often enjoy “outdoor games and sports.”) (Heming, 2008, pp. 4-9). Teachers can develop, strengthen, and appeal to students’ intelligences by varying their lesson types to require different intelligences at different times and offer different choices in the projects or assessments available to students to demonstrate their learning. (Heming, 2008, pp. 12-13).

Here I will highlight four of the nine intelligences that I think can be appealed to or developed in the classroom with MakeyMakey. There may be other intelligences that can be connected to MakeyMakey, but these four stood out to me the most. Some of these ideas are related to teaching academic content, while others focus on classroom management and student engagement.

Logical/Mathematical– “[The] ability to think conceptually and abstractly, and capacity to discern logical or numerical patterns.” (Thirteen Ed Online, 2004).

  • Logical reasoning is needed to set up and connect MakeyMakey with given computer programs. Students with strong reasoning skills who enjoy constructing and putting things together could be taught how to set up MakeyMakey as a responsibility in the classroom.

  • Students could be challenged to think of websites or computer programs that could be used with MakeyMakey, based on their knowledge of MakeyMakey’s interface.

  • A variety of objects can be made into creative alternatives to arrow keys and used for online puzzles and games in math or science.

Visual/Spatial– “[The] capacity to think in images and pictures, to visualize accurately and abstractly.” (Thirteen Ed Online, 2004).

  • A student with high visual/spatial intelligence would also enjoy the responsibility of setting up MakeyMakey. Visual/spatial intelligence is needed to arrange the wires, interface, and connected objects in ways that make sure the objects are easily accessed, the wires and interface are out of the way, and the computer is within view.

  • Using MakeyMakey for any lesson activity expands parts of the computer keyboard and makes their use easier to see and understand.

    • When studying electricity in science, MakeyMakey can be used to show a complex electrical circuit that is large, brightly colored, and easy to see and manipulate.

  • Using MakeyMakey’s arrow keys with Google Maps and objects labeled North, South, East, and West can reinforce map reading skills and cardinal direction understanding.

Bodily/Kinesthetic– “[The] ability to control one’s body movements and to handle objects skillfully.” (Thirteen Ed Online, 2004).

  • For any computer learning activity that involved only arrow keys, mouse movement, and clicking, use MakeyMakey as an alternative to the traditional computer interface to allow more body movement when performing these computer functions.

  • Explore force and motion in science with MakeyMakey and this Javascript Ball Simulation. Connect mouse movement and click functions on MakeyMakey in such a way that the balls can be rolled on the screen in response to hand/arm movements. I suggest using 3-4 students at a time to do this activity because it’s difficult for one person to manipulate all the necessary wires. The MakeyMakey interface connections are pictured below.

IMG_1469 IMG_1470

Musical/Rhythmic– “[The] ability to produce and appreciate rhythm, pitch, and timber.” (Thirteen Ed Online, 2004).

  • Use Virtual Keyboard, Apple GarageBand, or similar programs with various metal objects to explore electrical circuits and conductivity, using musical sound as the output of the circuit.

    • This activity could also spark creative discussions on what types of everyday objects would best fit with certain instrument sounds (piano, flute, saxophone, strings, etc.), which would appeal to a student with high musical intelligence.

    • View my previous post to read about these ideas in more detail.


Heming, A.L. (2008). Multiple intelligences in the classroom. (Senior thesis, Western Kentucky University). Retrieved July 17, 2013 from

 PBS Great Performances (n.d.). Educational resources: Howard Gardner’s multiple intelligences theory. Retrieved July 17, 2013 from

Thirteen Ed Online (2004). Concept to classroom: Workshop: Tapping into multiple intelligences. Retrieved July 17, 2013 from



Filed under CEP 811 (MATC), Educational Technology

3 responses to “Multiple Intelligences in the Classroom with MakeyMakey

  1. Pingback: Universal Design for Learning (UDL)- Detailing a MakeyMakey Lesson | Lauren Murray

  2. Pingback: MaKey MaKey’s news to me | Connecting, learning & teaching

  3. Pingback: Everyone can be an inventor with a MaKey MaKey! | Digital Learning News

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