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Multiple Intelligences: Naturalistic Learners
What is a Naturalistic Learner?

A naturalistic learner is very much like a kinesthetic learner in many ways. They love to be able to touch, feel, hold, and do. Hands-on learning, preferably outdoors is the best way for these students to learn (Gardner).

How do I teach my nature-loving child?

The answer to this one is: Very easily! Nature lovers love to be outdoors, and where better to learn about zoology (science, history), gardening (math, science, history), or entomology (science, math)? Digging in the dirt is always a fun pastime for children and a great learning experience to boot. How many different species of insects can they find in your soil? What about at the park? Collect samples, make slides and look at them close up through a microscope. For writing/English have him write a report on the different species he found. Naturalistic learners lead themselves to unit studies and unschooling. If your child is interested in something, they will suck up any and all information on that topic.

Math you ask? Real world math at your local farmer’s market, or grocery store, games (bonus points for outdoor games like horseshoes), and through play are great ways to learn these basic skills. Being outside, and in tune with nature is extremely beneficial to your nature lover-so let them be out there. Fresh air and a bit of vitamin D producing sunshine will do a growing body good. Reading in a hammock or on a swing is much more fun than in a stuffy “classroom” or bedroom. If you are able to set up an outdoor classroom that is protected from the elements do it.

If you live in an urban area, don’t stress. There are still many opportunities to learn in a natural setting. Look for a 4-H or scouting group to join. Camping on the weekends, or as family vacations is also a great way to learn outdoors away from your urban setting. Starting (or joining) a community garden is a great way to learn and be involved in your community. Plant your fruits and veggies-not only will you save money, you will be able to truly eat the fruits of your labor. Don’t forget to make charts and graphs of your garden as a built in science unit!

What will my Naturalistic Learner become?

As with any personality and learning styles anyone can become anything, but nature lovers often go for careers that will allow them to be outside much of the time, such as landscaping, gardening, archaeology, and farming. Other great careers are marine biologists, zoologists or zookeepers, animal trainers or handlers, fishermen (or women) or a veterinarian. Many nature lovers also become photographers, chefs, conservationists, and environmental inspectors. They want everything in the world to be the best it can be, so they go to help it and help people understand their environments. Charles Darwin, Jacques Cousteau, Lewis and Clark, and John James Audubon of the Audubon Society fame are famous naturalists.

Further Reading:
Frames Of Mind: The Theory Of Multiple Intelligences
Science Adventures: Nature Activities for Young Children
Hands-On Chemistry Activities with Real-Life Applications: for Grades 8-12
Nature and Young Children: Encouraging Creative Play and Learning in Natural Environments

Gardner, Howard. Multiple Intelligence Theory.
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