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Sunday, December 17, 2006

Acronyms and Memory

We have all be told, at one time or another, to use acronyms as memory aids. An acronym is a word formed from the first, or the first few letters of several words. The acronym is spoken as a word rather than as a series of letters.

“Richard of York gave battle in vain” is an acronym of the colours of the spectrum: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet.

We can use this aid to memory in mathematics. Suppose we want to revise words relating to angles.

Acute Right Straight Adjacent

We can see the early acronym as `All Right Stop Arguing’

It will take a little more effort to complete the series.

Obtuse Vertical Complementary Supplementary

Once we are able to remember the various types of angles all we have to do is remember something about each of the key or trigger words.

Acute - an angle less than 90°
Right - an angle of 90°

Don’t forget that there are a wide variety of games to excite and stimulate the memory. We have all played the game: `When I went to the supermarket I put an apple in the trolley.’ `This is followed by: `When I went to the supermarket I put an apple and a radish in my trolley.” You can progress like this until you have covered all eight of the initial letters of the angles mentioned above.

The only problem with games and exercises lie these is that you may find your ten year old has a different kind of memory to yours. But think of all the different things you have to remember in a day.

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