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A Mnemonic Lesson Plan For Science, Math or Language Arts
Here’s a challenge. Learn the prefixes in the metric system. In order. In one minute. Go.
Kilo, Hecto, Deca, Deci, Centi, Milli.
Not so easy, right? But with helpful mnemonics (for kids and adults alike), you’ll be able to remember complex groups of information with ease. Try the metric system again, but this time with the story of King Henry: King Henry Died Drinking Chocolate Milk. Much easier to recall a kings sweet slurping habits than arbitrary prefixes, and if you know the first letters correspond, you’ll remember the facts.
With this lesson plan, students will harness the power of non-rhyming mnemonics and then write their own to remember important information. Because once you’ve mastered the basic facts in a subject, you can get into the fun stuff.
The Mnemonics for Kids Lesson Plan
Objective: Use and create non-rhyming mnemonic devices to recall complex sets of information.
1. Define mnemonic for students as something that helps someone remember information. If our students are already familiar with Flocabulary, tell them that the rhymes in Flocabulary songs are examples of mnemonic devices because they help students remember key facts. But even if you aren’t writing rhymes, you can use and create mnemonics to help remember sets of information.
2. When creating non-rhyming mnemonics, it is helpful to take the first letter from the words you need to remember, and either use the acronym or make a catchy phrase with those letters. Share some common non-rhyming mnemonics that students might know:
- To remember the planets: My Very Eager Mother Just Served Us Nuts
Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune
- To remember the colors of the rainbow: ROY G BIV
Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, Violet
- In music, to remember the notes on the lines of treble clef:
Every Good Bird Does Fly (E, G, B, D, F)
And the notes on the spaces of treble clef:
Ask students to share any mnemonics like these that they might know.
3. Share one or more of the following Flocabulary videos that uses a non-rhyming device to remember a key concept.
- For science: Classification (with a mnemonic for the groupings of animals) or The Metric System (with a rather royal mnemonic for the metric prefixes)
- For language arts: Conjunctions (with the acronym mnemonic FANBOYS).
- For math: The Order of Operations (with the acronym mnemonic PEMDAS).
4. Note that the mnemonics in these songs are pretty silly–and that’s the point! The more weird and unique your mnemonic, the more you may remember it. Have students write their own mnemonic to remember the key facts from their song. So, for example, if you used the Order of Operations song, have students create an alternative mnemonic for PEMDAS to “Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally.” (i.e. Purple Elephants Make Dinner After School)
5. Depending upon what you’re studying, have students create a non-rhyming mnemonic to help them recall key facts. As an extension, they could also write a song about it using Flocabulary’s Writing Academic Rhymes Project.
6. Share your students’ creative mnemonics in the comments section!
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