Life Science

So many Terms, create Acronyms!

Hi All! We just got through the introduction to Biology Study of Life Unit. The EA (Educational Assistant) in my biology class came up with a great way to remember the main characteristics of life by remembering "CHARGER". C = composed of cells H = highly organized A = adapt to the environment R = repoduce G = growth & development E = energy for growth & maintenance R = respond to a stimulus Biology is so much fun to learn but there are so much terms to remember. By teaching the kids a different way to remember things and help they understand the meaning of it all is a challenge. My EA and I found that even the Special Ed kids in the regular education biology class were able to remember the main characteristics of life and also explain what they meant. Acronymns....it's a cool thing!

Robin Fujioka
Robin
1390 Activity Points

Thanks for sharing. We're about to go into a unit on cells so this will help a lot. Wish my EA had thought of that!

Loren Nomura
Loren Nomura
4055 Activity Points

That is a pretty cool acronym. The definition of life is actually very difficult to pin down. There really is no one criteria for life. It a very interesting topic. I have my students (high school) do a Socratic seminar about "life" in class, by introducing the concept of self replicating nanobots and whether they are alive. They meet most of the definitions of life except for the cells but a virus (biological) is also not made of cells. It really gets the students thinking not only about life but also about the technologies of the future. I recommend reading the Age of Spiritual Machines-When Computer Exceed Human Intelligence by Ray Kurzweil. The way the book is written it is very easy reading but very thought provoking and a little scary.

Colin Delos Reyes
Colin Delos Reyes
1430 Activity Points

Great way to remember those terms - thanks for sharing.

Mrs Hawk
Catherine Hawkins
2400 Activity Points

Love the acronym! Thanks!

Kara Kitamura
Kara Kitamura
360 Activity Points

That's a really great way to remember the characteristics of life, Robin. And I agree that the sped students have a hard time, but small tricks like acronyms work well. For mitosis, I just make them remember PMAT for the phase order: prophase, metaphase, anaphase, and telophase. Then for DNA, I have them remember "Anna is good and pure, and she has 2 rings" which translates to A in Anna for adenine, G in good for guanine, pure for purine, and 2 rings refer to the number of rings in a purine. I hope that make sense. My students actually pointed out to me that cytosine and thymine which are pyrimidines all have y's in them to remember that. They are much more observant than I give them credit for sometimes.

Michelle Amorin
Michelle Amorin
310 Activity Points

Michelle - thanks for sharing the PMAT and saying to help students remember DNA. I'm going to use it! :-)

Robin Fujioka
Robin
1390 Activity Points

That was very creative, Robin. Here is one that I used to teach my students to remember Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus, & species in the right order: King Phillip Chews On Fat Green Stems. Michelle, for mitosis, the text had 5 stages: Interphase, Prophase, Metaphase, Anaphase, and Telophase (The text called Interphase a stage, too). So I had my students learn this silly sentence: I procured myself A telephone. Then for a tiny bit of extra credit, I allowed them to make up their own silly sentences. Their sentences were ALWAYS better than mine! Of course everyone knows one for some of the metric prefixes: King Hector drives unusual Dodge cars merrily. Kilo, hecto, deca, unit, deci, centi, and milli. I heard one using chocolate milk, too, but I can never remember that one for some reason! Carolyn

Carolyn Mohr
Carolyn Mohr
81598 Activity Points

Here is a mnemonic for the metric system involving the chocolate milk. Two = Tera = T Giant = Giga = G Mean = Mega = M Kangaroos = Kilo = k Hopped = Hecto = h Down = Deca = da Stairs = Standard unit = gram, liter, meter Drinking = Deci = d Chocolate = Centi = c Milk = Milli = m Until = Micro = µ Nearly = Nano = n Puking = Pico = p

Renee Carlyle
Renee Carlyle
3090 Activity Points

Excellent mnemonic...thanks for sharing!

Olukayode Banmeke
Olukayode Banmeke
23633 Activity Points

I love it, Renee! Thanks for sharing.

Carolyn Mohr
Carolyn Mohr
81598 Activity Points

This is simple yet important! Thank you for sharing... Kimberly

Kimberly Emanuel
Kimberly Emanuel
280 Activity Points

It's funny how these mnemonics change - sort of like the game "telephone." We use King Henry Died Suddenly Drinking Chocolate Milk (at the middle school level, we stick to the middle of the range). Thanks!

Don Dean
Don Dean
200 Activity Points

That's a good one Renee! I still remember from elementary school for the order of the planets....and this was almost 30 years ago...blah My = Mercury Very = Venus Educated = Earth Mother = Mars Just = Jupiter Served = Saturn Us = Uranus Nine = Neptune Pies or Pizzas = Pluto (this was almost 30 years ago) I asked my Sophomores about this one and several students gave me their version on the above and they learned it in elementary school too. How cool...silly things like this helps us remember things that we would unfortunately forget after we "take the test".

Robin Fujioka
Robin
1390 Activity Points

Mnemonics are a great way to remember a lesson beyond the test. There were many a times they had saved me on tests and quizzes! In reading over other responses, I could remember so many others that I thought I had forgotten. There was Red Orange Yellow Green Blue Indigo Violet, to learn the visible light spectrum. Back in high school, my Biology teacher shared many acronyms to help us quickly recall information and one of those was: My Very Educated Mother Just Served Us Nine Pizzas to remember the order of the nine planets (at the time). I also remember learning PMAT in college to learn the mitotic phases. There was also Camels Often Sit Down Carefully, Perhaps Their Joints CrEak: Early Oiling May Prove Positively Helpful. This was to remember the geological ages.

All these mnemonic devices were extremely helpful for me and my classmates as we learned new facts in class.

Okemeteri Esiekpe
Okemeteri Esiekpe
765 Activity Points

What a great discussion and examples of mnenomic devices! I absolutely love the geologic time strategy. *I* even struggle with remembering those. Do you have a conversation with students about these strategies or do you just offer the strategy and allow them to keep it or to forget it? I find that it's a great way to build communication in groups and within the class by having students create their own (after given them one of the 'standard' examples like King Henry David...) and then sharing out. Also, what an easy way to encourage creative thinking in the science classroom!

Kathryn Kennedy
Kathryn Kennedy
9055 Activity Points

I think using acronyms is a great way to help students memorize terms! It gets the children to study in a way where they can familiarize with words they already know. I remember when I was in school, acronoyms helped me so much and I still remember some today! I am right now in college studying to be an elementary school teacher, and I know I will be using this concept with my students since I will be teaching a younger age. I will also plan to use the acronym you just provided in my science class. Thanks so much! Sincerely, Jessica Valenstein

Jessica Valenstein
Jessica Valenstein
545 Activity Points

Acronyms help me a lot, but I also use funny word associations to help me remember things. Like to remember that lipids are fats, I think of Angelina Jolie's lips and remember that they are "fat" and that helps me associate LIPids with fats.

Kayla Anselmi
Kayla Anselmi
3400 Activity Points

I remember my teacher in elementary school read us a story with a character named Roy G. Biv. She read it to us so that we would remember the order of the colors in a rainbow. Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, and Violet! I wish I could remember the title of the book so I could share it with you but this strategy really does work!

Juliet Kim
Juliet Kim
2330 Activity Points

I love the idea of using clever acronyms such as these in the classroom. They are a great way to remember some of the important information that we cover. Its still the way I remember stuff that I learned in grade school so I know it sticks! Here's another commonly used one (I know there are several variations to this one.) Kings = Kingdom Play = Phylum Chess = Class On = Order Fine = Family Green = Genus Silk = Species

Travis Toriano
Travis Toriano
990 Activity Points

Hi Travis,

Don't forget to teach your students about Domain.
Daring= Domain
Kings = Kingdom
Play = Phylum
Chess = Class
On = Order
Fine = Family
Green = Genus
Silk = Species

Ruth Lehmann Hutson
Ruth Hutson
61810 Activity Points

YES! It is so important for us to remember to update our tricks to fit the changes in science. So, Ruth, I guess mine would be Daring King Phillip Chews On Fat Green Stems :-) AND My Very Educated Mother Just Served Us Noodles!

Carolyn Mohr
Carolyn Mohr
81598 Activity Points

King Henry Died By Drinking Chocolate Milk is the metric system one all of my kids know.... Carolyn what about Pluto! I still call it a planet!

Chris Leverington
Chris Leverington
3900 Activity Points

Hi Chris, Then you can still use the older version: My Very Educated Mother Just Served Us Nine Pizzas :-) Are you resistant to the change in status of Pluto based on the new way to determine what constitutes a planet?

Carolyn Mohr
Carolyn Mohr
81598 Activity Points

Thanks everyone for sharing all of these acronyms. Being a future teacher I think that these are great ways for student to remember lists and ideas. I also think it helps for students to come up with their own acronyms for things. Taking the time to make one up may help them remember the topic even better. Thanks again

Jamilynn Mrozinski
Jamilynn Mrozinski
2470 Activity Points

This is a great idea! tahnk you for sharing; I think it could be extended to teh students. They can create their own acronyms. I wonder how could it work for the respiratory chain or glycolysis?

Maria Nogueron
Maria Nogueron
1555 Activity Points

I love acronyms. It reminds me of the Mc.Donalds commercial they have right now about remembering peoples orders. My students love acronyms because it helps them to better remember difficulty ideas. However, at times I have students who remember the acronyms but forget what they stand for :p I love it when they can make up their own acronyms because it gives them a sense of accountability becuase they made up their own. One thing I do have to remember is that they understand what they are learning and not just memorizing to memorize. I have used the usuals such as acronyms for planets and for order of operations in math. I need to find or make up more. Thank you all for sharing!

Eve Nishikawa
Eve Nishikawa
3190 Activity Points

I love acronyms. It reminds me of the Mc.Donalds commercial they have right now about remembering peoples orders. My students love acronyms because it helps them to better remember difficulty ideas. However, at times I have students who remember the acronyms but forget what they stand for :p I love it when they can make up their own acronyms because it gives them a sense of accountability becuase they made up their own. One thing I do have to remember is that they understand what they are learning and not just memorizing to memorize. I have used the usuals such as acronyms for planets and for order of operations in math. I need to find or make up more. Thank you all for sharing!

Eve Nishikawa
Eve Nishikawa
3190 Activity Points

Does anyone else have as many problems remembering acronyms as I do? It seems that the more lists we expect ourselves to remember, the more acronyms. And we need to remember those! My head hurts just thinking about it!

Jennifer Rahn
Jennifer Rahn
67915 Activity Points

Hi Jennifer - LOL! I feel the same way. Acronyms have never worked well for me, so I'm not a fan of those lists. It's just another thing to memorize. For me, acronyms have always just added more work and confusion. I'd rather just learn the concept and make my own connections. Must be a Learning Style / Multiple Intelligence preference. :-) That said, I know they really help some students, so do offer acronyms as learning options. Dorothy

Dorothy Ginnett
Dorothy Ginnett
27835 Activity Points

Does anyone else have as many problems remembering acronyms as I do? It seems that the more lists we expect ourselves to remember, the more acronyms. And we need to remember those! My head hurts just thinking about it!

Jennifer Rahn
Jennifer Rahn
67915 Activity Points

Post Reply

Forum content is subject to the same rules as NSTA List Serves. Rules and disclaimers