By Craig Ferch, School Psychologist


Last month in this newsletter, I discussed Verbal-Linguistic intelligence, one of the two multiple intelligences that is most utilized and taught to our children in school.  This month, we will be discussing the second of these two; Logical-Mathematical intelligence.  Again, if you would like another copy of the MI rating scale that I put in the newsletter in September, or would like more information on multiple intelligences in general, please call me here at school (526-2192 x145). 


Logical-Mathematical intelligence involves the capacity to work well with numbers, scientific processes, logic, or reasoning.  It is the intelligence used by an accountant, a computer programmer, a mathematician, an engineer, and of course, used everyday by our children in school.  As adults, we use this intelligence to balance our checkbooks, understand the latest scientific breakthrough, or, just for fun, do logic problems or number puzzles. 


Children strong in Logical-Mathematical intelligence think numerically, or in terms of logical patterns and sequences.  These children like to explore patterns, categories and relationships between concepts by actively manipulating their environment and experimenting with things in an orderly way.  By adolescence, these children are often capable of highly abstract forms of thinking and reasoning.  These are kids who love computers, chemistry sets or trying to figure out the answer to a difficult math problem.  They enjoy brain teasers (like Mr. Ferch’s Brain Teaser of the Week), logic puzzles, and games like chess, which require reasoning skills, and being able to think and plan ahead abstractly. 


Students use the Logical-Mathematical intelligence in school, not just in math or science, but in almost all subjects.  Just as with all intelligences, there are many ways to be number/logic smart.  Some students will demonstrate it through science fair projects, yet may not do as well on science tests.  Others may struggle on math assignments because their teacher wants them to show their work, but they do the computations quickly in their head, and don’t feel as though they should have to show them on paper.  Still others will do very well in drafting classes where they can “draw” with a ruler, but may do poorly in art, because they cannot draw freehand.


At home, here are some ideas and things children can do to further develop and enjoy their Logical-Mathematical intelligence, whether it is one of their stronger intelligences or not:


·        Play logical-mathematical games such as chess, backgammon, or cribbage with family and friends.

·        Work on logic puzzles and brain teasers.

·        Become proficient at using a computer (keyboarding and understanding how computers work.

·        Perform experiments using a chemistry set or other scientific activities.

·        Make up math problems and then try solving them in their head, and then use a calculator to check their answer.

·        Pretend they own stock in a company, and then check in the daily newspaper to see if they have gained or lost money.

·        Read about famous scientists and others who use their Logical-Mathematical intelligence in their career.

·        Visit a science museum, planetarium, or aquarium.  The Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago is amazing!

·        Watch the Discovery Channel, Animal Planet or other educational programming on TV.  It sure beats South Park and other junk that kids watch these days.

·        Subscribe to a magazine that features scientific news, such as Omni.

·        Help with family finances such as budgets and balancing the checkbook.

·        Use a telescope or microscope to explore their surroundings.

·        Use Lego’s, K-Nex or other such building toys to build creative structures.

·        Learn to play a musical instrument (which research has shown improves math skills).

·        Play with that Rubik’s Cube that we as parents had fun with 20 years ago (by the way, if you have one, and would like it solved, have your child bring it to me at school). 

·        Send for a free catalog from Mindware (www.mindwareonline.com), which has many fun toys, games, and activities to promote the Logical-Mathematical intelligence.


Next month: Visual-Spatial intelligence