How to best teach children memory techniques to remember long numbers?
April 19, 2006 10:27 AM   Subscribe

How to best teach children memory techniques to remember long numbers? I'm talking of mnemo techniques where you associate pictures to numbers. Like a wheel represents 0, a candle represents 1, a swan represents 2, etc. I know how to learn these as an adult, but are there any strategies adapted to children?
posted by Daldianus to Education (5 answers total)
If the child uses a computer to play games then set the desktop password to the number you want them to remember. A kid that plays on the computer will quickly learn and remember any login password.
posted by StarForce5 at 11:23 AM on April 19, 2006

Thanks to songs, I knew how to spell "encyclopedia" at five, and knew the names of all the presidents in first grade.

My dad just made up a catchy little tune for the former, and a teacher taught us the presidents to the tune of "Yankee Doodle Dandy". This could probably be applied to mnemonics pretty easily.
posted by interrobang at 11:28 AM on April 19, 2006

I should add that, at 30, I still remember the names of the presidents—to the tune of "Yankee Doodle Dandy".
posted by interrobang at 11:34 AM on April 19, 2006

How old are they? If they're old enough, teach them the Dominic System. It's a very powerful memory system, and I'm quite sure it can be adapted to suit children swimmingly. I have adapted my own version from the original, but the original would work just fine as well.

Example: Each number equals a letter. Each 2 digit combination equals a person - (for me, 00 = NN, or Nick Nolte). Each combination of numbers/letters has a person and an action you equate with that person (for Nick Nolte, I picture him getting a mugshot taken.) So when I want 00, I automatically think "NN" or "Nick Nolte".

So to memorize a 4 digit number, you need only remember ONE thing. For me, 2373 = Bill Clinton sliding down a chimney. (In my adaptation of the system, 23=BC and 73 = Santa Claus, so to remember 2373 I just imagine Bill Clinton performing the actions of Santa Claus.)

Of course the point is moot if they're too young, but this system could work well even with young children.

Find out more here - or
posted by Help Me Impeach Bush at 12:07 PM on April 19, 2006

It isn't clear why you'd want a child to remember long strings of numbers. As an intellectual exercise it would seem to have limited benefit (i.e., it would improve ones ability to memorize numbers, but not much else). With children it's more important that they UNDERSTAND basic concepts, surely, than how to memorize pi or e or whatever.
posted by adamrobinson at 11:14 AM on April 27, 2006

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