An Interdisciplinary Approach to Secondary Math Class Activities : The Influence of Multiple Intelligences Inspired Tasks on Student Learning of Geometric Concepts

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


College of Science and Mathematics


Mathematical Sciences

Thesis Sponsor/Dissertation Chair/Project Chair

Anthony Piccolino

Committee Member

Ken Wolff

Committee Member

Mark Weinstein


Several theoretical considerations (Gardner, 1993, 2000, 2003; Foshay, 1998; Miller, 2001, NCTM, 2000, 2003; Schreiber, 2002) suggest that subject matter integration influences positive mathematical outcomes. Prior to this study, empirical research has been limited and has included integration of subject matter with multiple intelligence inspired tasks primarily in the elementary grades (Bednar, Coughlin, Evans, & Sievers, 2002; Cluck & Hess, 2003; Komhaber, Fierros, & Veenema, 2004; Wicklem & Schell, 1995). This study is primarily qualitative practitioner research with a quantitative component designed to examine how multiple intelligences-inspired multidisciplinary tasks help promote engagement and improve test scores in a high school geometry class. Since this is the first study designed to examine the impact o f multiple intelligence-inspired tasks in a traditionally scheduled high school geometry class, these findings provide secondary mathematics teachers with a pedagogical approach for promoting student engagement, and improving test scores using a set o f activities that bridge seven intelligences as well as several disciplines. Strategies in the development of these activities were grounded in preexisting theoretical frameworks and recommendations, such as Howard Gardner’s MI Theory, (e.g. Gardner, 1983; 1993), and the National Council o f Teachers o f Mathematics Standards (NCTM, 1989; 2000), and in new models o f instructional practice theoretically based on the these constructs. The instrument used to generate MI profiles was The Teen MIDAS: Multiple IntelligenceDevelopmental Assessment Scale (Shearer, 1996).

Positive learning experiences were demonstrated in student oral and written expressions o f fun, interest, active engagement, and the ability to make meaningful conceptual connections to other subject matter, occupations, and activities. Student experiences revealed an elevated level of engagement in the learning process. Positive testing outcomes were demonstrated when 96% of a sample o f 46 geometry students showed an increase on an objective peer-reviewed publisher provided chapter test. Implications for an increase in state standardized test scores is inferred (Greenhawk, 1997).


Print version available at Sprague Library.

Full text available at ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Global.

File Format