This is a way to demonstrate the memory benefits of elaborated rehearsal (vs. simple rehearsal or simply repeating verbal content). It can also be used to help illustrate the nature of long-term memory, in addition to the activity described above:

Give your students two simple memory tests. The first quiz should consist simply of about ten short words chosen randomly, and which they must memorize as you say them: e.g. parent, green, tree, school, lake, pencil, box, bike, horse, car. Read the words one at a time at the rate of about one word every 1-2 seconds, but do NOT allow students to write them down as you read them. Instead students should simply listen to each word and say it once immediately after you read it. After you finish the list, give the students 1-2 minutes to write down as many of the words on the list as possible. Take a quick survey of the class to see how well students have remembered the words--what their average or median score is, etc.

Now give the same kind of quiz, but with a crucial difference. With the second quiz, students should DO the word that is read. Here are some words that work well for this purpose: yawn, smile, frown, stretch, wiggle, tilt, cough, sneeze, stamp, wave. Again, students should NOT write these words down during the quiz, but simply DO the action named in the word. After you finish the list, give the students 1-2 minutes to write down as many of the words as they remember. Take a quick survey to see how well students have remembered the new list. If they are like most people, they should remember these words much better than the words on the first list!

- Seifert Seifert Nov 8, 2010


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