Friday, 29 June 2012

Mnemonics

I had never explicitly used or taught mnemonics before. Maybe because the word looked scarier than it really was ..I am not sure. I teach a integrated Maths and Science subject to a group of Year 10's this year. We were doing a unit on Psychology and statistics and were up to learning the structures of the brain. You know, the hypothalamus, corpus callosum, cerebral cortex, hippocampus...you know the usual every day stuff :P
I am quite ashamed now to admit last year I taught this unit (and it was my first time) to my Mainstream class I just gave them a diagram and listed off the name and function. It worked well. But I knew this wasn't going to work with this class. Enter mnemonics.
Mnemonics is the use of stories or words within words to help memorise information. You probably have use mnemonics before, but just never put a title to it.
I used these fantastic (and a bit crazy) clips from You Tube - Memorise Parts of the brain: Part 1 and Part 2. In conjunction with the clips I got them to fill in a table as they went along in their workbooks: Name of brain structure, function, mnemonic. At first they were a bit unsure, but after some encouragement they were making their own mnemonics!

One of my favourite student created mnemoic was for amygdala. The amygdala is the part that influnces fear and anger. Her mnemonic was: "The amygdala starts with the letters AMY, like Amy Winehouse who is pretty scary". Best mnemonic I have herd for amygdala so far!!
Best of all, saw greater imporvemnts with information recall and appliaction on this contetc on the test! Not a magic potion but a great memory tool!

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