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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!
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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!
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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
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Great way to remember those terms - thanks for sharing.
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Love the acronym! Thanks!
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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.
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Michelle - thanks for sharing the PMAT and saying to help students remember DNA. I'm going to use it! :-)
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!
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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
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Excellent mnemonic...thanks for sharing!
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I love it, Renee! Thanks for sharing.
This is simple yet important! Thank you for sharing...
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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).
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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".
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.
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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!
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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!
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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.
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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!
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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
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Don't forget to teach your students about Domain.
Kings = Kingdom
Play = Phylum
Chess = Class
On = Order
Fine = Family
Green = Genus
Silk = Species
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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 :-)
My Very Educated Mother Just Served Us Noodles!
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!
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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?
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.
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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?
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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!
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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!
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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.
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