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The Naturalist Intelligence

by Bruce Campbell

 

Dr. Howard Gardner added the Naturalist Intelligence to his list in 1996. It is the first addition to the original seven. This intelligence has to do with observing, understanding and organizing patterns in the natural environment. A naturalist is someone who shows expertise in the recognition and classification of plants and animals. This could be anyone from a molecular biologist to a traditional medicine man using herbal remedies.

Examples of naturalists might include George Washington Carver, Rachel Carson, Charles Darwin, or a child who skillfully sorts and classifies rocks, insects, shells, or dinosaurs. These same skills of observing, collecting, and categorizing might also be applied in the "human" environment as witnessed in a child sorting sports cards, or an adult who shrewdly distinguishes between the sounds of different engines or analyzes the variations in fingerprints.

 

A Menu of Instructional Strategies for the Naturalist Intelligence
Some Naturalist Subjects
Some Naturalist Resources

A Menu of Instructional Strategies for the Naturalist Intelligence

  • Collecting data
  • Collecting objects from the natural world
  • Labeling and mounting specimens from nature
  • Organizing collections
  • Observing nature
  • Doing experiments in nature
  • Noticing changes in the environment
  • Sorting articles from nature
  • Categorizing objects
  • Classifying information
  • Keeping notebooks
  • Learning names of natural phenomena
  • Learning characteristics of the natural world
  • Using magnifiers or microscopes to study nature
  • Using binoculars or telescopes to study nature
  • Drawing or photographing natural objects
  • Nature hikes or field trips in nature
  • Gardening
  • Caring for pets
  • Wildlife protection projects
  • Setting up winter feeding stations for wild animals or birds
  • Comparing natural observations with others
  • Visiting zoos and botanical gardens
  • Visiting museums of natural history
  • Drying flowers
  • Studying books about nature
  • Learning about the work of famous naturalists such as:
    • John Muir
    • Rachel Carson
    • Charles Darwin
    • George Washington Carver
    • Luther Burbank
    • Annie Dillard
    • John James Audubon
    • Aldo Leopold

Some Naturalist Subjects

 Animals
Astronomy
Balance of Nature
Birds
Botany
Butterflies
Conservation
Constellations
Deserts
Earth
Fish
Flowers
Forests
Game
Gardening
Geology
Insects
Lakes
Mountains
Oceans
Plants
Rivers
Rocks
Seasons
Seeds
Shells
Stars
Tides
Trees
Volcanoes
Weather
Zoology

 

Some Naturalist Resources

 

Audubon Society
Boy Scouts
Girl Scouts
Campfire
Izaak Walton League
Natural History Museums
National Forest Service
National Park Service
Observatories
Parks
Planetariums
Zoos

About the author

Bruce is a classroom teacher, trainer, and consultant and the author of books and articles including The Multiple Intelligences Handbook: Lesson Plans and More and Teaching and Learning Through Multiple Intelligences (Allyn and Bacon, 1996) which he co-authored with Linda Campbell and Dee Dickinson.

Bruce can be contacted via email at bcampbell@teacher.com.

Copyright © May 1997

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