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					                                       Memory Experiment

This is a fun experiment to conduct with students that are studying descriptive statistics concepts
such as the measures of central tendency, box plots, histograms and/or stem and leaf plots. The
experiment provided meaningful data but also lead to an insightful discussion of how students
think. The experiment was first developed by Janet Simons and Don Irwin (Bolt, 1996), and then
further adapted by Marie A. Revak and David B. Porter from the United States Air Force
Academy who intended to use the data to perform a two sample t-test. After observing the
increased motivation of students at the Advanced Placement Statistics level, we thought to adapt
the activity so it could be used in the Pre-Algebra and Algebra I classroom to enhance the study
of descriptive statistics.

PART I:
The experiment is conducted by dividing the class in two, without the students knowing that they
are in a particular group, and then giving each group a different set of instructions. One group of
instructions reads Please rate the sentences I will read aloud on how easily you can pronounce
them. Repeat the sentences silently to yourself. Do not write the sentences. The other group of
students will read Please rate the sentences I will read aloud on how easily you can form a vivid
mental image of the action of the sentence. Do not write the sentences. The teacher reads the 20
sentences having the students rate each silently using the scale indicated.

PART II:
Once the teacher has read all twenty statements explain to the students that they should turn over
their papers for a ‘pop quiz’. Tell the students that this is not a measure of intelligence and that it
is important that they answer the questions honestly and on their own. Each question is worth
two points, one point given for the correct adjective and another given for the correct noun.
Encourage students to write any portion of the answer they remember.

PART III:
Once all students have completed the verbal questions; review the solutions with the class in a
lighthearted manner having students grade their own quizzes. Again stress to the class that the
activity is dependent on unbiased data and that they should accurately grade their responses.
Starting with the students who rated how difficult it was to pronounce the sentence, record the
results of each student on the front board. In a separate column record the scores of the students
who visualized an image of the sentences. The class will eventually recognize the disparity in the
scores and generalize that something is amiss. Ask students from both groups to read the
directions given. This leads to an interesting discussion of how students remember with word
repetition versus establishing a visual image.

PART IV:
In groups of 2-4, students should discuss the data incorporating box plots, histograms, and stem
and leaf plots. During the summary students should be encouraged to incorporate the real life
meaning of the experiment in analyzing and comparing the visual representations.
SENTENCES:

  1. The noisy fan blew the papers off the table.

  2. The green frog jumped into the swimming pool.

  3. The silly snake slithered down a steep sliding board.

  4. The crafty surgeon won the daily double.

  5. The skiing trumpeter started a gigantic avalanche.

  6. The plumb chef liked to jump rope.

  7. The captured crook liked to do difficult crossword puzzles.

  8. The small child sat under the lilac bush.

  9. The medieval minstrel strolled along the babbling brook.

  10. The distressed teacher ate a wormy apple.

  11. The chocolate choo-choo train chugged down the licorice tracks.

  12. The marching soldier lit a cigarette.

  13. The long-haired women had a phobia about scissors.

  14. The cheerful choirboy sang off key.

  15. The toothless bathing beauty hardly ever smiled.

  16. The sweaty gardener was wearing a scarf and mittens.

  17. The spotted dog was sleeping in the sun.

  18. The lanky leprechaun wore lavender leotards.

  19. The bearded plumber was flushed with success.

  20. The novice camper got lost in the woods.
QUESTIONS/ANSWERS

  1. Who won the daily double? (crafty surgeon)

  2. What chugged sown the licorice tracks? (chocolate choo-choo)

  3. Who liked to do difficult crossword puzzles? (captured crook)

  4. Who sang off-key? (cheerful choirboy)

  5. What blew papers off the table? (noisy fan)

  6. Who hardly ever smiled? (toothless bathing beauty)

  7. Who slithered down a steep sliding board? (silly snake)

  8. What was sleeping in the sun? (spotted dog)

  9. Who strolled along the babbling brook? (medieval minstrel)

  10. Who was flushed with success? (bearded plumber)

  11. What jumped into the swimming pool? (green frog)

  12. Who lit a cigarette? (marching soldier)

  13. Who got lost in the woods? (novice camper)

  14. Who started a gigantic avalanche? (skiing trumpeter)

  15. Who wore lavender leotards (lanky leprechaun)

  16. Who liked to jump rope? (plump chef)

  17. Who had a phobia about scissors? (long haired woman)

  18. Who sat under a lilac bush? (small child)

  19. Who ate a wormy apple? (distressed teacher)

  20. Who wore a scarf and mittens? (sweaty gardener)
Memory Exercise

Instructions: Please rate the sentences I will read aloud on how easily you can pronounce them.
Repeat the sentences silently to yourself. Do not write the sentences. Use the following scale:

              1              2              3              4              5
       Very difficult to                                           Very easy to
       pronounce                                                   pronounce

Sentence ratings
1)                    6)                    11)                    16)

2)                    7)                    12)                    17)

3)                    8)                    13)                    18)

4)                    9)                    14)                    19)

5)                    10)                   15)                    20)




Memory Exercise

Instructions: Please rate the sentences I will read aloud on how easily you can form a vivid
mental image of the action of the sentence. Do not write the sentences. Use the following scale:

              1              2              3              4              5
       Very difficult to                                           Very easy to
       image                                                       image

Sentence ratings
1)                    6)                    11)                    16)

2)                    7)                    12)                    17)

3)                    8)                    13)                    18)

4)                    9)                    14)                    19)

5)                    10)                   15)                    20)

				
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posted:10/26/2011
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