Intelligent in More Ways Than One

Intelligent in More Ways Than One

In this lesson, youth will learn to appreciate their own intelligence as well as the gifts of others.

Quest for Life

Enhancer of Joy

Emotional Intelligence


60 minutes

Lesson Developed by

Rev. Ruben Ortiz


Appreciating Alternative Ways to Look at Intelligence

Tips to Prepare

Identify and write a list of emotions ahead of time. The students will be acting out these emotions. Also, identify several social situations familiar to teens such as: being in class; having a family dinner; going out on a date; having a birthday party; doing homework, etc. Finally, prepare a list of social challenges that students can practice over the next few days following this session.

Materials Checklist

  • 3×5 notecards

Setting the Atmosphere

This session involves some student acting. Therefore, make sure the setting is appropriate for this. Ideally ensure that there are seats, a table desks, white board, and the necessary objects for the scenes.

Scripture Focus

Philippians 1:9-10 – And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve the things that are excellent, in order to be sincere and blameless until the day of Christ.


The main goal of this session is for the participant student to appreciate each others’ abilities. They will appreciate their own level of intelligence as well.


In this session, youth will understand that there are multiple intelligences. They will explore emotional intelligence as one of those intelligences and learn to appreciate them.

Further Study

Plutchik’s Wheel of Emotions available online.

Book two of Aristotle’s “Rhetoric”

Look up Howard A. Gardner’s 9 Types of Intelligence and/or his book, “Frames of Mind, the Theory of Multiple Intelligences”


Gather (5 minutes)

  • Opening Prayer
  • Greeting One Another
  • Introduction of Session: Start by saying that discernment is such a big word and something very difficult to master. It’s the ability to perceive well. Today’s passage is about loving through knowledge and discernment so that we can make the best choices every day. Have a young person read today’s verse. Then state that we can’t get by in life without communicating with one another. One way in which we do this is by our social/emotional skills. These are skills where we understand nonverbal communication. Good understanding of nonverbal communication is a sign of social and emotional intelligence. The ability to observe and understand nonverbal signs during communication, or any other interaction between people, gives us tremendous information about the real message that’s being communicated. It’s one way in which we can demonstrate our love and grow in our faith. It is especially important when we notice that the verbal message and nonverbal behavior are not harmonized. It also gives us a clue about the motives of the person we are communicating with or their emotional state. Besides what is said, it is always important to follow how it is said. Basic nonverbal aspects of human behavior include eye contact, tone of voice, facial expression, gestures, personal distance, body language, and posture. Our first activity is based on acting and improvisation. It focuses on recognizing the emotional state of participants exposed to simulated social situations, by observing only their nonverbal behavior.


Engage (30 minutes)

Activity 1: Fact and Fiction:

This activity is also known as Two Truths and a Lie.

  • Instruct the students to take turns sharing two facts and one fiction about themselves. If needed, give them a few minutes to write it down.
  • The rest of the group are to guess what is and is not true. You can go around the room in order or let the person who guesses correctly to tell their two truths and a fiction next.
  • At the end, ask the students what interesting facts they learned about the others. Look for what students are perceiving or discerning.

Activity 2: What Am I Feeling?

  • Ask a volunteer from the group to leave the room. You will give him or her different instructions than the rest of the group.
  • While the volunteer is outside, each student left in the room has to choose one emotion and must express this emotion only through nonverbal behavior (acting).
  • Remind them of the different aspects of nonverbal communication such as body posture, facial expressions, attitude, etc. If the youth group is large you can have them select an emotion more than once.
  • Meanwhile, the volunteer outside is given the task of coming up with several social situations familiar to teens such as: being in class; having a family dinner; going out on a date; having a birthday party; doing homework, etc.
  • They are to come into the room, set up the scene to the group and say that the students have to participate in the scene.
  • Finally, when the volunteer is back to the room, s/he sets the scene: You’re in class (for example). All of the students act as if they are in the classroom, and at some point begin expressing their chosen emotional state nonverbally. They can use their voice but only in the form of inarticulate sounds.
  • The volunteer observes their behavior and tries to guess how they are feeling. If s/he cannot guess the emotions, s/he can change the scene and practice in another social situation. The game can be repeated several times with different volunteers, emotions to guess, and social situations.


Reflect (20 minutes)

Activity 3: Bring the students together to discuss what was experienced.

  • Students may become very participatory regarding each other’s acting. Allow this to happen as long as the conversation moves forward.
  • Ask: How did you feel while acting? Did anybody have difficulties acting in the scenes (why)? What are the main nonverbal indicators of specific emotions?
  • (Name several emotions and have them respond). What do you usually do when you feel this particular emotion? What do you usually do when you recognize somebody acting like this?
  • To the volunteer(s); Was there anything confusing? If so, what was confusing? Depending on available time and the goal of the group, you can go deeper into a conversation about particular emotions.

Activity 4: Read the Bible verse of the day.

  • “And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve the things that are excellent, in order to be sincere and blameless until the day of Christ.”
  • Say that we are all intelligent, even if we’ve failed every math and English test in school.
  • Repeat this statement.
  • Then state that there are about 7 different learning styles. Additionally, there are about 9 types of intelligences. However, our educational system may only focus on several learning styles and one or two types of intelligences. For example, there is existential intelligence, which tackles the questions of why we live and why we die. Known for this type of intelligence are people such as futurist Steve Hawkings and Ray Kurzweil. There is musical intelligence demonstrated by people who excel in discerning sounds, pitch, tone, rhythm, etc.
  • Have the students name great musicians of various genres.
  • There is also interpersonal or emotional intelligence. This intelligence stands out with people that excel in sensing other’s feelings and motives better than others.
  • Say: You had the opportunity to practice this form of intelligence during our previous activity. Some of you actually did very well with this activity and may even be an expert at this.
  • Then, have a guided discussion on ways that we could increase our confidence with the various intelligences and support each other in doing so.

Send Forth

Send Forth (5 minutes)

  • Sum-It-Up: Say that emotional intelligence is one’s ability to be intelligent with their emotions. More specifically it is the ability to recognize, understand, and manage your own emotions and understand how others might feel and why (being empathetic). It is also the ability to manage your emotional reactions and choose a different mood or feeling. A person with emotional intelligence has a good handle on their emotions. In fact, they are so good with managing emotions that they are okay with the strong feelings of others as well. Emotional Intelligence can help a person to develop a variety of skills. Even if a student has poor educational performance, s/he may actually excel in other forms of intelligence and should be affirmed.
  • Have each student take a random social challenge card and his/her task is to do what is required on the card over the next few days. Challenges can be practiced once a week or according to whatever schedule you agree upon. Examples of social challenges: Give an honest compliment to someone. Learn two new things about somebody from your class. Share with a friend what’s been on your mind lately. Tell your best friend what you like about him/her. Verbally acknowledge other forms of intelligence in others.
  • Closing Prayer:

Related Video Clips


This Resource includes the following downloadable content:

Yale Youth Ministry Institute