Multiple Intelligences with Potato Head Toys

If you teach about the multiple intelligences, you may want to give this one a try. Multiple Intelligences with Potato Head Toys will not only engage your students because this is a hands-on activity, but you may even get a smile or two out of your students as they “play”—oops, I mean “learn” about this topic!  So, if you have some of these classic toys stashed away, it may be time to dig them out and give them a new life and purpose in your classroom!  If not, I’ve linked them below.   

Set

  • Place students into small groups and give each group a “potato head” to work with along with a notes form to fill in as you discuss and explain each of Howard Gardner’s multiple intelligences.
  • First, provide an overview of Howard Gardner’s theory of Multiple Intelligences:
    • Howard Gardner was a cognitive psychologist who studied and developed the
      multiple intelligence theory (released in 1983) because he believed that everyone
      was smart in a different way.
    • He posed the theory by asking “How are you smart?” not “How smart are you?”
      (there is a difference)
    • There are 8 multiple intelligences. Be prepared to take notes on each as you
      perform the following activities with your potato head toy.

Materials

  • Potato Head Toys (male or female or both): affiliate links
  • Paper Bags
  • Paper & Crayons
  • Fresh & Sprouted Potatoes
  • Dirt & Paper Cups

Activities

  • Go through each of the intelligences, one by one, directing students to complete the activity, followed by the associated characteristics (see attachment).
    • Intelligence #1: Bodily Kinesthetic (body smart)
      Direct students to…
      Remove all of the pieces on the potato head. Place all pieces in a paper bag. Pass the bag around and use your fine motor skills to select and insert your selected piece(s) in a mixed-up, comical way until all of the “holes” have been filled.
    • Intelligence #2: Spatial (picture smart)
      Direct students to…
      Place the mixed-up, comically created potato head toy in the center of the table so all group members can see it. With the blank piece of paper and crayons you’ve been given, “draw” the potato head to the best of your ability in the center of your paper.
    • Intelligence #3: Verbal Linguistic (word smart)
      Direct students to…
      Use the picture that was just drawn, have each student create a funny, short story from the potato head’s perspective explaining how they came to look the way they do (mixed-up and comical) in 3-5 sentences. Read aloud to the group and then have the group select the funniest to share with the class.
    • Intelligence #4: Musical (sound smart)
      Direct students to…
      Create a song (one stanza) about the potato head using an existing tune such as “I’m a little teapot” or “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star”. Perform the song as a group.
    • Intelligence #5: Interpersonal (people smart)
      Direct students to...
      Put yourself in Potato Head’s shoes. Explain to your peers your feelings about your current state (comical state). Explain the impression you might make on the other potato head. Share examples with the class.
    • Intelligence #6: Intrapersonal (self smart)
      Direct students to…
      Set the stage with students and have them reminisce about a mission completed in the movie, Toy Story. Movie Reference: “After learning that her husband saved the lives of three Aliens during the mission, she decides to adopt them, much to his dismay.” Talk about Mr. Potato Head’s innermost feelings when he learns his wife has decided to adopt the 3 aliens in Toy Story. Talk about Mrs. Potato Head’s innermost feelings when she learns her husband has just saved the lives of the three aliens during a mission in Toy Story. Share examples with the class.
    • Intelligence #7: Mathematical (numbers & reasoning smart)
      Direct students to…
      Create a rebus math sentence based on “potato head’s” parts of the body. Show a rebus example (see attachment).
    • Intelligence #8: Naturalistic (nature smart)
      (Note to teacher: have a fresh potato and an older potato (one that has wrinkles and eyes sprouting) on hand as well as cups/containers and dirt to give to each small group of students.)
      Direct students to…
      Examine the potatoes they’ve been given. Ask them to compare and contrast them and make a list of observations they notice about the two potatoes. Share. Then provide each student with a cup and have them fill it with dirt. Show them how to section the potato for planting in order to “grow” their own potato plant. This is a good time to explain how a potato is a vegetable classified as a tuber because of how it grows. Students write their name on their cup, then plant and water their potato. Place on the windowsill to grow and then plant them in the school garden if one is available or allow students to take them home.

Attachments

Similar Lessons on Multiple Intelligences

Photo by Robert Linder on Unsplash

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