The 8Way Thinking strategy

The other day, I came across an interesting way of conducting an inquiry lesson. The reason I found it interesting was due to the fact that it was a simplified version of Howard Gardener’s Theory of Multiple Intelligence. The child friendly language and the interesting layout of the graphic organizer captured my attention. Upon closer inspection, I realized that it wasn’t being used for differentiation in class. It was being used as an inquiry tool.

Yesterday, I tried it in class. My class is currently learning about how people express their feelings and ideas through visual arts. Using Van Gogh’s  “Entrance to the Park”, I introduced the the tool at the beginning of the lesson (advance organizer).



You may have noticed how the tool has simplified the different intelligences into very child friendly language. In each section, we are supposed to pose questions.

This is how I went about modelling an inquiry lesson. I talked aloud to myself. Pointing to one section of the tool, ” Number”, I asked aloud, How long did Van Gogh take to complete the painting? When was it finished? How old was he when he painted this picture?

The students had just completed a study on Kadinsky. He used his synaesthesia (apparently, he could see sound and hear colour!) to create abstract paintings. So under the heading of Sound, I asked the question, ” Just like Kandinsky, could Van Gogh hear colour?”

By the end of the session, the students were helping me out and we came up with very interesting questions. The challenge was to see whether they would manage the same in groups without my intervention.



After the lesson, I took time to highlight the questions I found interesting.

Am sorry about the poor quality of these shots.



I guess you must be thinking why I didn’t use coloured print outs of the painting  On hindsight, I should have. Some students were not happy and insisted on looking at the painting on their computers in order to get a better picture. To me that meant they were interested in their task! 🙂

As I scoured their questions I was pleasantly surprised by the depth and earnestness of some of them. By the end of the lesson, the students were excited about the paintings and wanted to know more about them. I promised them they could share their findings in any way the wanted to,

Now that I have highlighted the exciting and burning questions, do we look for the answers? Try and predicts the answers and then see if we are anywhere close? Try to sort them out according to concepts? Once that is done, do we see if they coincide with the concepts we have selected for the unit? What do we do with the questions that do not involve critical thinking? Can we polish them up?

Any suggestions are welcome!


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5 Responses to The 8Way Thinking strategy

  1. Jane Nordli Jessep says:

    I loved reading about this inquiry tool and the interesting questions your students generated. What is the next step with this and might you make their thinking “visible”? Since not all the questions generated were as generative and inquiry based as others might you have a discussion on “What makes a really good question?” or “What did you notice about our questions? Are some more complex than others? What makes you say that?” I’m not sure if you are familiar with some of the work Howard Gardner’s colleagues have been doing on Visible Thinking, but I think you’ll love it, if you haven’t already. I’m going to include a link here to the Artful Thinking site which is part of the Project Zero site and as you know Dr. Gardner was one of the creators of that. After you visit Artful Thinking, you’ll probably want to visit Visible thinking as well.
    I hope these might be of use to you as what you’re doing is so wonderful and very related to this work. Enjoy.


    • Naini says:

      Thanks Jane, Yes i am familiar with Visible and Artful thinking. They are fantastic tools! 🙂 In this post I was trying to focus on how I could maximize the effectiveness of an inquiry tool.


  2. Karli says:

    Thank you for sharing this idea. I think it’s an excellent way engage students and to get them thinking/inquiring!


  3. Lindy Buckley (@LindyBuckley1) says:

    What a great idea! Something useful to add to the toolbox, for sure! Thanks!


  4. Pingback: Multiple Intelligences & 8 Way Thinking | the middle road

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