This activity page will offer:
minds-on and hands-on experience in memory
opportunity to compare memory tricks
and ideas for improving memory
There are all sorts of ways to improve your memory. In addition
to proper diet, adequate exercise, reduced stress and healthy lifestyle
choices, there are strategies and memory "tricks" for improving
recall. Most likely, you've already learned to use some of these
practices. However, there are many different techniques that are
available to increase recall. In the following section, we'll offer
up an assortment of memory experiences that you might find yourself
using in other situations (if you can remember them).
Heavy stock paper*
*If applicable, you could use decks of standard playing cards
or specialty decks such as Old Maid or Go Fish.
Work in teams of two. Use your ruler to divide a sheet of the
heavy stock paper into 16 same-sized squares.
separate the squares using a scissors.
the squares into two equal piles. Write the number "one" in the
center of one pair of square. Continue numbering the squares until
you have eight pairs (numbered 1-8).
the role of researcher and subject. During this step, the researcher
turns the cards over. Next, the researcher shuffles the squares
and arranges them in a 4 x 4 matrix.
The subject then identifies two of the cards to be turned over.
The researcher flips the two cards over. If the cards match, they
are removed from the matrix. If they do not match, they are turned
back over and their identities hidden. This is recorded as round
The subject identifies two more cards to be turned over. If they
match, they are removed. If not, they are turned back over in
their places. The results are recorded as round two
The rounds continue until all the cards have been matched and
removed from the pattern. The roles are exchanged and steps 4
through 6 are repeated.
Is memory alone responsible for success in this challenge? Explain.
Does a card's position affect your ability to recall its identity?
Suppose you marked one pair of cards with identical symbols instead
of numbers. Would this affect memorization? Explain.
trends did you observe in this memory game? How could they be
explored with additional research?
Suppose you repeated this activity, but used scents instead of numbers
as a means of card identification. Create a strategy for inquiry
that could be used in the classroom to test short-term scent memory.
Share your design with your instructor and, with his or her approval,
perform the test.
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.
a United States map to select any five neighboring states. Use the
first letter in each of the selected states' names to compose an
acronym. Exchange acronyms with another student. Can you both identify
each others' states based upon decoding this memory device? How
might the order of the letters in the acronym communicate additional
information? (It might offer clues to the positions of the states.)
Where were you when you learned of the horrific events
of September 11? Most likely, you remember the time and place when
you first became aware of this startling news. That's because the
emotional attachment to this event was powerful enough to generate
a strong and vivid memory. What else can you remember about that
moment? Can you describe your surroundings? Do you remember what
you were wearing? What other "memory- intensive" events might be
common to other students in your grade? Explain.
and Aging Resource Center
An overview of age-related memory loss, including an audio file
of a radio interview with Director of the UCLA Center on Aging,
for Kids-Memory and Learning
An assortment of online memory tests, experiments and games.
Techniques and Specific Memory Tricks
An assortment of mnemonic memory techniques and links to various
pages that address a range of memory topics.
Advisors for this Guide:
Suzanne Panico, Science Teacher Mentor, Cambridge Public Schools,
Anne E. Jones, Science Department, Wayland Middle School, Wayland,
Gary Pinkall, Middle School Science Teacher, Great Bend Public Schools,
Great Bend, KS
Cam Bennet Physics/Math Instructor Dauphin Regional Comprehensive
Secondary School Dauphin, MB Canada