Visit Your Local PBS Station PBS Home PBS Home Programs A-Z TV Schedules Watch Video Donate Shop PBS Search PBS
Scientific Frontiers Logo
TV Schedule
Alan Alda
For Educators
Previous Shows
Future Shows
Special Features

Losing It
  Teaching Guide

Activity 1: Grades 5-8
Memory Tests

Print version (PDF)
Main Menu


  1. Is memory alone responsible for success in this challenge? Explain.
    (No. Although memory is essential in recalling the locations of flipped cards, "chance" also has a role. You can get lucky and turn over pairs without knowing the value of the cards.)
  2. Does a card's position affect your ability to recall its identity?
    (Most likely, since some positions are memorable. Often the corners are memorable positions that make recall easier.)
  3. Suppose you marked one pair of cards with identical symbols instead of numbers. Would this affect memorization? Explain.
    (The "uniqueness" of the pair identity would help you recall their positions.)
  4. What trends did you observe in this memory game? How could they be explored with additional research?
    (Accept all reasonable answers.)

An acronym is a very common memory device. It uses an abbreviation that takes the first letter in each word to be remembered to form a new word. Check out the familiar acronyms below. What do they stand for? NOTE: Some acronyms use two letters from one word.

RAM Random Access Memory
CPU Central Processing Unit
PBS Public Broadcasting Service
NATO North Atlantic Treaty Organization
CIA Central Intelligence Agency
SCUBA Self Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus
RADAR Radio Detection and Ranging
SONAR Sound Navigation and Ranging
NASA National Aeronautics and Space Administration

© 1990-2004 The Chedd-Angier Production Company, Inc. All rights reserved.


Yesterday's GoneNever Forget A FaceWhy Memories LastWhen Memory LiesKeeping Old Brains Young Teaching guide Email scientists Watch Online Web links & more Contact Search Homepage