The good news is that we can do things to help us remember. What are some things that you can do to help you remember important information? (Use a calendar, assignment sheet, make lists, put items such as papers, keys, ID in the same place every day.) You have already seen how our senses or favorite objects can bring back memories. Let's try some other experiments.
Have the students sit in a circle (You may wish to divide the class into 2 or 3 circles). The students are going to play a memory game. The first person will say "I'm going on vacation and I'm going to bring a _______________." The student fills in the blank with any appropriate word he/she chooses. The second player says, "I'm going on vacation and I'm going to bring (repeat the first players choice) and a _______________." The third player must repeat the first two players choices and add his/her own, etc. The students should play until someone cannot remember the entire sequence. They should record how many turns were taken by this time. Have the students play once more. You may wish to substitute a different prompt. On the third round you will change the rules slightly. This time the first person must bring an object that begins with the letter "A." The second person must use the letter "B" and so on. (You may wish to omit the letters Q and X from the game.) Also, have the students play this way twice.
Have the students return to a whole class setting and share their results. When were they able to play longer? What explanation could be given? Hopefully the students were more successful when using the alphabet. In this situation they had an association to help them remember. Using association is a helpful memory tool.
Define mnemonics for the students. Mnemonics is a technique for improving the memory. You may also want to introduce Mnemosyne who is the Greek goddess of memory. Discuss some common mnemonic devices such as HOMES to remember the great lakes- Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie, and Superior. Have the students take some factual information that they are to memorize and create their own mnemonic device for the information.
Memory, association, memory game, Mnemosyne, mnemonic