Benjamin Banneker Term Paper

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For many generations, the intelligence quota, or IQ test, has been the basis for comparing the intelligence of one person to another. That is, an individual's intelligence is based on the ability to solve problems, utilize logic, and think critically. These usual traits of intelligence are sometimes grouped together under the heading of "raw intelligence." Howard Gardner Harvard Graduate School of Education and Harvard Project Zero approaches this measurement in another way: He asks scholars and educators to consider that each individual has "multiple" intelligences and may be stronger in one area than another: musical, bodily-kinesthetic, logical-mathematical, linguistic, spatial, interpersonal and intrapersonal.

Gardner in his book Frames of Mind. The theory of multiple intelligences: describes the difference between his approach and others as:

In the heyday of the psychometric and behaviorist eras, it was generally believed that intelligence was a single entity that was inherited; and that human beings - initially a blank slate - could be trained to learn anything, provided that it was presented in an appropriate way. Nowadays an increasing number of researchers believe precisely the opposite; that there exists a multitude of intelligences, quite independent of each other; that each intelligence has its own strengths and constraints; that the mind is far from unencumbered at birth; and that it is unexpectedly difficult to teach things that go against early 'naive' theories of that challenge the natural lines of force within an intelligence and its matching domains. (Gardner 1993: xxiii)

Based on Gardner's approach, many teachers are now developing new curriculum and new ways to measure a student's knowledge and abilities. Other scholars are also using this same approach in their areas of specialization. For example, educator and psychologist Thomas Armstrong, who specializes in multiple intelligences believes that all children are geniuses in their own way. Each child is born with special potentials, which are often not recognized because of society's roadblocks.

Controversy continues to exist around the theory of multiple intelligences, because of the years of studies showing a correlation between different abilities. While other individuals in the field, such as Robert Sternberg, who theorized a "triarchic model," share Gardner's aversion to a traditional intelligence theory. However, rather than looking at the specific material a person is processing, Sternberg studies the three aspects of componential, experiential and contextual facets of intelligence. The main point, with both Gardner and Sternberg, is that rather than pegging people into one type of testing or measurement, they understand the unique qualities of each person.


As Gardner and Sternberg note above, people are born with different skill sets and multiple intelligences. Benjamin Banneker is a good example. Born in 1731 in Baltimore, Maryland, Banneker's father, Robert, had been a slave who became a farmer after gaining his freedom. His mother, Mary, was the owner of the farm where Robert had worked as a slave. He attended a Quaker School until he was old enough to help on his parent's farm. Despite the fact that he had so little formal schooling, he showed math abilities from a young age. When he was 22, Banneker made a clock that struck the hours from wood using a pocket watch as a model. He quickly gained a reputation for being skillful in making and solving mathematical puzzles. He taught himself the algebra, geometry, logarithms, trigonometry, and astronomy needed for astronomy and used a compass, sector, and other instruments to make astronomical predictions, including eclipses. Banneker also created and published a Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Maryland

Almanac. He also published anti-slavery pamphlets.

ARTICLE: Benjamin Banneker

This article is written in order to provide an overview of Banneker's life and his achievements, especially as a free black during a difficult period of history.

The author wanted to detail Banneker's biography in order to show all that he accomplished in his life.

The most important information is about Banneker's innovations, such as the clock, and publications. This demonstrated his mathematical and creative abilities.

The author is showing that a person, such as Banneker, who has little formal education, but innate skills and talents, can be very innovative and an asset to society.

When reading this article, it is necessary to keep in mind the challenges that Banneker faced in his historic period. He was a black man who continually faced barriers of racism.

The author is assuming that everyone reading this article will understand and empathize with Banneker's situation.

When writing the first draft of this article, the author made several mistakes. If these had not been corrected, the readers would have had incorrect information. It is important to note that not all web articles necessarily have accurate or unbiased articles.

The main point-of-view is that a person, regardless of the challenges faced in life, can succeed by using his/her inborn abilities.


You are known for your mathematical ability. Do you remember when you first knew that this was a special talent?

Even as a young boy, I used to love numbers and counting. I remember my grandmother giving me sums to do in my head. It was a fun game to play.

What made you work on a clock after seeing a watch? Did it pop into your mind or had you been thinking about it?

The idea just came to me. Maybe I had been unconsciously thinking of it when I had seen other watches. However, it was like I already had the plans in my mind. All I had to do was write them down and begin working on the clock.

Today some people believe that everyone has the potential for equal intelligence. Others believe that people vary in intelligence in different areas, such as music, math or language. Which do you believe?

You can see by my background, that I was much better with mathematics. Although I have written my anti-slavery pamphlets and political letters, the mathematical and scientific concepts come much more easily to me.

What do you think about our computers? Did you ever imagine that numbers could be calculated so quickly?

I am completely amazed at this machine. I cannot believe what it can do! What if I had something like this to work with when I was alive? I could have accomplished so much more with my almanacs and astronomy.

What invention today surprises you the most? Which do you like least of all? Why?

Besides the computer, it is the rockets to the other worlds that I am most surprised about. I never imagined that it would be possible to see the stars and other planets like this...and to actually walk on the moon. It is very difficult for me to grasp.

Although I know the automobile is very important, I do not like seeing all of them in a row on the highways. It seems like a waste of time to me. So much could be done in the time that people are traveling one place to another.

What do you think about the advances in astronomy?

Oh, with all your telescopes, I can see so many different stars and even planets. It is like a completely different world!

Do you think the world is a better place now or when you lived?

Yes, in some ways. The machines have helped people in many ways. but, it is sad that you have lost contact with nature and the outdoors. Also, it is wonderful to see how the blacks are free, but there is still racism in the world and that is sad.

What are you sorry that you were never able to invent?

There were many more things I wanted to do to my clock. With your computers, I could have done it. I saw one of your watches with all different timers on it. That's what I mean!


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Cite This Term Paper:

APA Format

Benjamin Banneker.  (2007, September 22).  Retrieved January 19, 2020, from

MLA Format

"Benjamin Banneker."  22 September 2007.  Web.  19 January 2020. <>.

Chicago Format

"Benjamin Banneker."  September 22, 2007.  Accessed January 19, 2020.