Activity (6)–Mnemonic Devices

Mnemonic Devices – Memory Strategies and Techniques


There are several proven techniques that aid in improving long term memory and memory recall.

We will be focusing on Mnemonic Devices.  (Nah-MON-ic).    Mnemonic rhymes with Demonic.  And who would forget an encounter with a demon.

We just created our first Mnemonic Device – rhyming.

Mnemonic devices are best when used for large pieces of information like lists, categories, phases, steps, procedure etc.

Just think about your own teaching experiences experiences; Are there any mnemonic devices you use to remember something.


After a few decades removed from Mrs. White’s Math class I still remember the acronym and what it does.

(B.E.D.M.A.S  for Math Order of operations – Brackets, Exponents, Division, Multiplication, Additions, Substraction).

That’s the power of Mnemonic Devices and that’s a power we can share with our students.

In this section we will explore some of mnemonic device techniques.  At the end of this section, your task will be to create a mnemonic device for your teaching specialty and share it with the class.


Let’s get started.


Mnemonic Devices:


Word Mnemonic or Acronym:  The first letter of each item in a list is used to make a memorable word.

This is the most popular mnemonic device technique and maybe the most useful for remembering lists.



Chemistry:  LEO GER  (stands for  Loss of Electrons is Oxidation  and Gain of Electrons is Reduction.

First Aid:  RICE when recovering from an injury (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation

English: Coordinating Conjunctions:  FANBOYS  (For, And, Nor, But, Or, Yet, So)


Expression Mnemonic or Acrostic: Much like the Word Mnemonic, the first letter of each item in a list or process is used to make an expression instead of a single word.



Math: Order of long division: Dracula Must Suck Blood  (Divide, Multiply, Subtract, Bring Down)

Biology Taxonomy Order: Did King Phillip Come Over From Great Spain?

Domain, Kind, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus, Species)


Rhyming Mnemonics:  If you can come up with a good rhyme, our brain can encode more easily because of “acoustic encoding”, basically involving another sense (hearing) into the memory process. Rhyming is also a way of sub-vocally rehearsing, or mentally repeating the rhyme which helps in memory formations.



History:   “In 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean’s blue”

English Spelling: “I before E, except after C”


Music Mnemonics:  One step up from rhyming Mnemonics is putting the rhyme to a catchy tune or universally known song.

This teacher went the extra mile in creating this Exponents Math Rap “Super Base”


But don’t think you have to do all the creating as instructor. Check out these student videos with popular songs re-written with “math” lyrics.


Model Mnemonics:  A visual representation of data.  For visual learners, placing information in maps, organizers, word webs, learning posters, are all techniques that help in the processing and retrieval of information.







  1. Create a mnemonic device for essential information/data in your teaching specialty. It can be an acronym, an acrostic, a rhyme/song, or visual representation.  The key is to create a new mnemonic device for an area in your teaching specialty.
  2. Post it on the moodle site for our class to comment. Also please consider submitting it to and share your learning resource with teachers around the world.
  3. Since this is an activity on memory, choose one of your fellow classmate’s mnemonic devices, study it for the next couple of days (2 minimum).  In a short blog (100-200 words), report your findings to the creator by the end of the week:  Did the mnemonic device work?   Any hang ups?  Any suggestions for improving it?