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Risky mnemonics

Discussion in 'Mathematics' started by simonc1978, Feb 26, 2011.

  1. Maths_Mike

    Maths_Mike New commenter

    Oh and if you dont believe me try some academic reasearch - take 1000 students who cant do trigonometry - GIVE them your mnemonic and see how many of them can now do it.

    Ill give yo £10 for every student who can now do it if you give me £1 for every student who still cant
  2. googolplex

    googolplex Occasional commenter

    I'd never heard if SOHCAHTOA until I became a teacher. It always amuses me that kids are expected to remember this when a significant proportion of them are as hopeless at spelling as they are at remembering their tables.
    If mneumonics work, then fine. I always encourage them to make their own up, but never make a thing about hearing them - in that way, they can make them as rude as they like. I do offer, as an example, the one about "Silly old Harry caught a herring doing something or other" (I can never remember it myself) - but I also remind them that I just learnt the trig ratios - it worked for me... At the end of the day, they are less likely to remember some silly old rhyme that someone else invented than a method they thought up themselves.
  3. Maths_Mike

    Maths_Mike New commenter

    I agree and I did say in my previous post that students with the ability to solve trig problmes will find their own way of remembering - i was just using SOHCAHTOA as an example.

    I am not against memory aids of all kinds but as a teacher I am baffled to think anyone would encourage students (quote Weebeeca) to be "lewd" or "dirty"
  4. It's just something they naturally do which helps them remember.

    I don't see why anyone would feel the need to stamp that out unless what they say really raises issues which are worth discussing. Racism is a good example of one which would be worth being unselectively deaf for and talking about.

    If you know your senior team will discipline you for it then fine don't do it. No-one's forcing you to anyway - it's your choice. Personally I like it where students have a laugh and enjoy my lessons. I've taught a lot of kids for whom the enjoyment of maths doesn't lie in the exam results. I try to make the maths engaging in the moment so they get caught up in it. I like it when they enjoy being in my classroom for any reason that isn't toxic. The more they enjoy it (for whatever reason) the better they feel about coming to the next lesson. The more they want to be in my lesson the more leverage I have to manage behaviour and the more fully they engage with the lesson.
  5. Add in 'Axes' and make TULSA (Oklahoma)...?
  6. In my NQT year I had a tough yr 11 intermediate gcse group. We were doing trig and could solve problems but were struggling to remember which went with which. I had done the 'silly old hens ...' mneomic and for homework asked them to make on up on their own.

    Next lesson my HoD observed me. To start I asked the class to give me their mneomics .... we had 'sex on hilltops can always hurt the other animals'; and it went downhill from there! Fortunately HoD found it amusing and we put it down to experience. On their mocks I did see many students get the trig question right ... but also saw lots of lewd mnenomics written down!

    Do I get students to make up their own mnenomics still?

    Yes - I do find that it's a way of getting them doing trig questions. As others have said they soon get it and don't have to refer back but, in those early days, having something to hang on works well.

    Do I ask them to read them out?

    Not anymore! Unless I have vetted them first!
  7. When I was at school our maths teacher taught us 'Two Old Angels Skipped Over Heaven Carrying A Harp'.
    Wrong order but I still remember it 7 years later - and at least it's not risking any problems of inappropriate language!

    I do agree, though, that sometimes making up your own mnemonics is more beneficial than trying to learn somebody else's. To me 'My Very Expensive Mohair Jumper Shrank Using Nasty Persil' is way more memorable than 'my very easy method just speeds up naming planets', simply because it is humorous :)
  8. "My Very Energetic Mum Jumped Straight Up Nan's Pants"
    The none planets courtesy of a Year 9 girl I taught a fewyears ago. All the class remembered it so it worked, but it did make me wonder about her immediate family...

  9. Ahem, that should be NINE planets!
    The none planets nmemonic is about nine words shorter...
  10. DM

    DM New commenter

    Eight planets.
  11. My personal favorite, the first 20 elements courtesy of my teacher when I did my O'level chemistry.
    I still use it with my classes:
    Have You Heard about
    Little Beryl's Brightly Coloured Nighty Or Fiona's Neglige
    Naughty Maggie Allowing Silly Peter's Soft Clutching Arms
    Kissing Causes...
  13. forkers - after hydrogen, the famous russian couple:
    HeLi BeBCNOF
    NeNa MgAlSiPSClAr
    but you win by 2 elements!
  14. and i actually do have to refer to:
    My Very Excellent Mother Just Showed Us Nine Planets -
    mnemonics are definitely useful for remembering the random
    oh - and Richard of York won the battle of the Roses - but Richard of Gloucester was defeated by Henry 7th
  15. Sorry back to trig.
    I was taught The Cat Sat On An Orange And Had Hysterics (which works in a different direction) but in my second teaching job picked up (from a staunch Catholic 2nd in Maths) Thousands of Abortions Come After Having Sex On Holiday.
    IMO mnemonics work as an initial tag and I disagree with many of Maths Mike's comments. I'd love to see a link to some "research" to back up your £10:£1 bet and if I see it I'll retract quite happily.
    Furthermore, I can't see anyone who's posted (and, yes, I actually read them all for once!) suggesting that sexycoolwhatever is the only way they are going to make headway but many who rightly say that engagement is the key. If that means going to the edge and taking risks then I'm all for it (subject to setting expectations of the unacceptability of racism/sexism/homophobia/etc).
    BTW, I have used the above "abortions" mnemonic for some 20 years and not had a single complaint from anybody....
  16. DM

    DM New commenter

    I didn't follow the last one at all ... were you thinking of Richard Of York Gave Battle In Vain?
  17. Signs of happiness Come after having Tankards of ale
    (not sure if this is encouraging drunkeness, but does also include beginnings of relevant words, and I got it from my maths teacher)
    My Very Eccentric Mother Just Shot Uncle Norman
  18. NOOOOO!!!! Of course not!!!!!!!!!!!!![​IMG]
  19. When I was in school we used to say : Sex On Holiday Carries A High Threat Of AIDs! nice eh!
  20. Maths_Mike

    Maths_Mike New commenter

    Are you seriously suggesting that teaching someone a mnemonics or even giving them the formula completely written out in full in sufficient for them to be able to solve trig problems?
    If so I will willing take the bet - if not I suggest you go and re read my post

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