Gardner (1993, p. 143) describes logical/mathematical intelligence as “the ability to recognize significant problems and then to solve them.” A mathematician seems to “sense a solution, or a direction, long before they have worked out each step in detail” (Gardner, 1993, p. 143). This definition suggests powerful reasoning ability. It also indicates that mathematical knowledge reaches far beyond a memorization of facts and algorithms.

Mathematical intelligence involves a process. A problem must be identified, recognized as something worth solving, an algorithm is then identified and/or created, and a solution is attempted. Intelligence in this area requires a true understanding of how mathematics and logic work in the real world, in everyday life. Understanding the why in mathematics truly indicates an understanding of mathematic processes.

The National Council for the Teaching of Mathematics (NCTM) defines mathematics as the attainment of mathematical power. “Mathematical power includes the ability to explore, conjecture, and reason logically; to solve nonroutine problems; to communicate about and through mathematics; and to connect ideas within mathematics and between mathematics and other intellectual activity. Mathematical power also involves the development of personal self-confidence and a disposition to seek, evaluate, and use quantitative and spatial information in solving problems and in making decisions” (NCTM, 1989, p. 1). Mathematical power instills confidence and certainty. Mathematical power allows the child to develop, create, and control numerical thought processes. The NCTM (1989) has identified thirteen curricular standards that help children gain mathematical power. The standards are applicable to children from kindergarten to fourth grade. Learning these key mathematical concepts helps the child develop mathematical power, which creates the necessary foundation for mathematical intelligence.

The standards include the following mathematical concepts:

  • Problem Solving
  • Communication
  • Reasoning
  • Connections
  • Estimation
  • Number Sense and Numeration
  • Whole Number Operations
  • Whole Number Computation
  • Geometry and Spatial Sense
  • Measurement
  • Statistics and Probability
  • Fractions and Decimals
  • Patterns and Relationships

Concepts taken from the curriculum standards in Curriculum and Evaluation Standards for School, NCTM, 1989