This is a FUN area devoted to anyone who needs the occasional memory aid.
Check out the categories below (in alphabetical order, of course!). Send us an email if you have aids that are missing here or are different or better. If you give us permission and we choose to include your memory aid, we’ll give you credit (first name only?).
COPYRIGHT ISSUES: The materials included are our own and are not copyrighted. You may use these mnemonics without a copyright citation, but we would always appreciate a reference to our website so that others can participate in the fun! (Citations www.iro.com/mnemonicscentral)
What Is a Mnemonic Device Anyway?
|It is a memory trick that you invent. The trick is (hopefully) easier to remember than whatever you are trying to memorize or remember. It’s a pneumatic device for “pumping up your memory.”|
How Does a Mnemonic Device Work? Is It Really Worth the Time and Trouble to Learn the Device?
|Imagine that you are a contestant on Jeopardy, and you need to supply the name of the northernmost lake of the Great Lakes. You already know the HOMES memory aid for naming the Great Lakes (Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie, and Superior), but which one is the northernmost? Superior, in this case, refers to its size and its position (on a map, it’s at the top) among the Great Lakes. Congratulations! You just won $10,000 because you were brave enough to “make it a true daily double.”|
How Can You Remember How to Spell Mnemonics?
|We’re not quite sure how that silent “m” got in front of the word we pronounce KNEE MON ICK. Just think that “m” in front of the word stands for “MEMORY”, and remember to spell it mnemonic.|
Okay! Let’s have some fun. Choose the category below that interests you the most:
COBOL Common Business Oriented Language
The U.S. Department of Defense developed this English-like language to process business data for the government in 1959. It is partly based on the programming Rear Admiral Grace Murray Hopper, USN, Ph.D. had written; she is called the "mother of COBOL." By the way, she is credited for coming up with the term “bug” whenever something goes wrong with a computer program or process. With Dr. Hopper, it was really a bug in the animal kingdom that was found in a computer that was misbehaving.
TARDIS Time and Relative Dimension In Space
Dr. Who's time travel machine as found in the highly popular British science fiction television series Dr. Who. Introduced in 1963, it was modeled on a British police telephone box. As is often heard during the programs, "it's bigger on the inside."
HTTP Hypertext Transfer Protocol
Data is communicated on the World Wide Web by means of text that is linked (hyperlinks) to other locations (nodes) containing text.
(Copyrighted material from en.m.wikipedia.org: "The term hypertext was coined by Ted Nelson in 1965 in the Xanadu Project….Tim Berners-Lee and his team at CERN are credited with inventing the original HTTP along with HTML [hypertext markup language] and the associated technology for a web server and a text-based web browser. Berners-Lee first proposed the "WorldWideWeb" project in 1989.”)
URL Uniform Resource Locator
A Web address (EXAMPLE: http://www.iro.com)
First of all, Wi-Fi probably doesn’t stand for or mean anything. Specifically, it doesn’t mean “wireless fidelity.” It’s most likely a reference to Hi-Fi or high fidelity, a term already familiar to those who appreciate good sound systems.
Here’s a reference from Wikipedia (note copyright):
The term Wi-Fi, commercially used at least as early as August 1999, was coined by brand-consulting firm Interbrand Corporation. The Wi-Fi Alliance had hired Interbrand to determine a name that was "a little catchier than 'IEEE 802.11b Direct Sequence'". Phil Belanger, a founding member of the Wi-Fi Alliance who presided over the selection of the name "Wi-Fi", also stated that Interbrand invented Wi-Fi as a play on words with hi-fi, and also created the Wi-Fi logo.
You can spoil a perfectly good mnemonic, but be careful. Once spoiled, you may not be able to recall the correct mnemonic when you want to.
(1) For example: That area with all the sand is spelled DESSERT; the extra S is for sand.
Ouch! Better stick with this memory trick (the correct one): That sweet concoction you have at the end of a meal is spelled DESSERT; the extra S is for SUGAR.
(2) If you’re trying to navigate two major one-way streets in San Francisco, California, you can mess up the correct mnemonic (Oak Street goes to Oakland (one way East bound); Fell Street goes to the water; if you keep going on Fell, you'll fall into the Pacific (one way, West bound) by saying
Oak Street goes to the Ocean (the Pacific Ocean); the other street (Fell) goes to Oakland. Wrong!
Health: Taking Pills/Using Eye Drops
Idea #1: Plastic boxes with days of the week for medications to be taken all week work well if the box is placed somewhere you are sure to see it as part of your daily routine. Some boxes have an area for morning pills and evening pills. These boxes can be large. They might work better at home where size is not an issue. For traveling, some are too large for coat pockets or purses.
Idea #2: Morning dose: Place pill bottle on bathroom sink counter with cup full (8 oz.) of water. Once the pill is taken, turn pill bottle on its side. It's reassuring to see that "early morning" pill on its side because it erases any worry you might have forgotten the pill while you were still groggy.
Idea #3: Morning dose: Place one pill (or your daily dose) on your bedside table along with a bottle of water. Don’t get out of bed until you have taken that pill. A bottle of water is less likely to spill if you accidentally knock it over. A refillable water bottle is more environmentally friendly than plastic drinking water bottles.
For pills taken later in the day while you are home: Place pill bottle(s) on bathroom sink. Once taken, turn pill bottle on its side.
When all the pill bottles are on their sides, return the pill bottles to the medicine cabinet. That way, only medicines on the bathroom counter are still to be taken.
If away from home and at WORK, pack correct dosage, place on desk (maybe in front of computer monitor) or in an area you are sure to see during the day, and take medication(s).
If away from home and TRAVELING, pack a 7-day pill box labeled with days of the week..It may look silly, but why stress over your pill-taking routines when you are all excited about climbing the leaning tower of Pisa or seeing the Mona Lisa in Paris for the first time? If the 7-day pill box is large, just pack the pills for one day in your coat pocket or purse and leave the 7-day box in your hotel room.
Drops and Liquid Medications
For drops and liquid medicines, turn bottle on its side once the medicine is taken. Better still, and to guard against leakage, immediately return a bottle to the medicine cabinet once the medicine is taken. That way, only liquid medicines or drops on the bathroom counter are still to be taken. At night before going to bed, place all the medications for the next day on your bathroom sink.
If you take drops or liquid medications several times a day, set a reminder on your smart phone or computer. Visual reminders are harder to rely on if you are taking medications at times other than rising in the morning or going to bed at night. Someone we know uses a small plastic tray with labels for 9:00 AM, 2:00 PM, and 9:00 PM. She places bottles of three different eye drops where they belong according to when she takes them during the day. A quick glance at the clock and the tray will tell her if she should put eyedrops in her eyes.
If you are working outside the home or traveling and need to take drops, be sure to pack a spare supply in a coat pocket, desk drawer, or purse. Recent natural disasters requiring sudden evacuations remind us that we should pack an emergency supply of medicines in purses or containers near the front door or garage door.
Small children alert: Place all pill bottles and drops out of a child's reach but somewhere you will see them as part of your daily routine. Remember that even toddlers can push together furniture and climb. Here’s an idea: You can post paper NOTES around the house (bathroom mirror?) to remind you to take medicines that are safely hidden from children. Also, you can set alarms or reminders on your smart phone.
LONGITUDE and LATITUDE
“The latitude lines stay parallel to each other as they encircle the globe; longitude lines go the other way.”
[from the book Longitude by David Sobel]
The term LATITUDE starts with the same 2 letters as the word LADDER. You step on the LATITUDE steps to go up the LADDER. The LATITUDE steps are parallel to the ground and the roof of the structure.
As a fun way to study latitudes, find the latitude for the location of your home and see what other cities fall on the same latitude around the globe. Find out if the weather is similar; if it isn't, why is there a difference?
Longitude lines are interesting from the standpoint of navigation. Sailors figured out how to navigate on open water from readings of the sun and stars as long as they were going east to west or vice versa. North to south proved far more difficult. It wasn’t until John Harrison invented a clock that would keep accurate time (not affected by the pitch and roll of sailing ships or nightfall) that the problem of navigating on vast seas was solved.
THE GREAT LAKES
Most of us learn the HOMES mnemonic for remembering the Great Lakes:
Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie, Superior
Northernmost of the Great Lakes: Superior in this case refers to its size and its position (on a map, it's at the top) among the Great Lakes.
One memory trick: remember the first letter of the Presidents’ first names: GATT - Presidents on Mount Rushmore
George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Thomas Jefferson
Here’s another suggestion: Remember the ORDINAL position (first, second, etc.): from left to right:
1-George Washington (first in his country; first on Mt. Rushmore);
2-Thomas Jefferson (founding father, 2nd in our thoughts when we think of the beginning of the US government);
3-Theodore Roosevelt (3rd on the mountain, a pioneer);
4-Abe Lincoln (separated from others by a large gap, alone in his standing as a president who changed the world forever)
Note the two Ts are next to each other.
Here are some fun other facts and memory tricks for these facts:
Sculptor: Gutzon Borglum
(Gutzon had the guts to tackle a project this massive. All the presidents look bored and glum; not one is smiling)
Location: Black Hills of South Dakota
(the Blacks in the South were better off after Abe was president)
SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA
Oak Street goes to Oakland (one way East bound)
Fell Street goes to the water; if you keep going on Fell, you'll fall into the Pacific (one way, West bound)
(see Demonic Mnemonics for another reference to this memory aid)
Bush Street goes to the Bay (one way East bound)
Pine Street goes to the Pacific Ocean (one way, West bound)
(attributed to San Francisco Chronicle columnist Herb Caen as reported in a WELL posting by Mabop E-why-o (jerome): 1276.80 12:06 18 Nov 97; The WELL, launched back in 1985 as the Whole Earth 'Lectronic Link, provides a cherished watering hole for articulate and playful thinkers from all walks of life. http://www.well.com/ )
| U.S. Government |
Learning the Branches of Government
Memory trick: Pick up a camera and take a picture of the two houses of Congress
(Congress is the Legislative/lawmaking branch, composed of the House and the Senate. Remember bi means TWO, as in two wheels on a bicycle.)
The Great Compromise
(agreed on during the formation of the U.S. government and the writing of the Constitution)
Virginia Plan: Favored by the larger states (remember Virginia is a large state) because the number of representatives/votes would be based on the individual state's population.
New Jersey Plan: Favored by the small states (remember New Jersey is a small state) because every state would be entitled to the same number of representatives/votes in the legislative branch.
The Great Compromise combined the best of the Virginia and New Jersey Plans:
The number of members in the House of Representatives is based on a state's population (at least 3 representatives per state regardless of population and 3 guaranteed for the District of Columbia, making the total number of legislators in the House 438);
The number of members in the Senate is based on the number of states in the Union: currently 50. Each state has two representatives regardless of the population or size of the state; hence, there are 100 Senators.
The 3/5 Compromise: How to count slaves turned up as a problem when the delegates to the Constitutional Convention of 1787 met to decide how many Representatives would represent each state. Non-slave-holding states would not allow the slave-holding states to count their slaves one-for-one with the non-slave population. James Wilson and Roger Sherman, delegates to the Convention, proposed the 3/5 Compromise: Slaves would be counted as three-fifths in total when counting Representatives a state would have. The Compromise carried over to Presidential electors and taxes.
[More content to come and will include the Executive and Judicial Branches]
|The Seven Deadly Sins |
We're not sure why someone wants to be able to remember these (huba!, huba!), but for those of you who do want to recall the "capital vices" or "cardinal sins," as they are also called, here goes:
A avarice (also listed as greed)
P pride (vanity on some lists)
An Avaricious, Energetic Glutton Lusted after a Pride of lions, but on this day his Sloth prevented him from using his Wrath.
If you use this list of 7 Deadly Sins,
you can use this mnemonic:
Sam’s Girl Will Value Every Lousy Guttersnipe!
Or, you can see the first letters this way: Egglsvw (This is an EgglessView).
[More content to come]
SPELLING (American English)
The i before e rule
I before E except after C
Or when sounded as A
As in NEIGHBOR or WEIGH
Follows the rule: receipt, receive, and deceive
Does NOT follow the rule:
Neither the weird financier nor the foreigner seizes leisure at its height.
Some people claim there are more words that do NOT follow the rule than words that do!
[More content to follow, such as Silent E and is it Phat or Fat or both?]
| INTEGERS (Adding, Subtracting, Multiplying, Dividing both Negative and Positive Integers) |
First, some basic terminology, and then the fun part:
Integer: the set of whole numbers and their opposites. The whole numbers are the counting numbers and zero: 0, 1, 2, 3, and so on. Their opposites are negative numbers not counting 0, which is neither negative nor positive: -1, -2, -3, -4, and so on.
Number Line: A number line has 0 in the middle. Beginning at 0, the numbers to the right side increase and are positive. Beginning at 0, the numbers to the left side decrease and are negative.
Absolute Value: A number's absolute value is its distance from zero on a number line. It does not include a sign (negative or positive). The symbol of two parallel straight lines with a number in the middle is read as "the absolute value of the number." The absolute value of -3 is 3. The number -3 is 3 positions to the left of the 0 on a number line.
First of all, some basic terminology:
The numerator is the top number of a fraction.
The denominator is the bottom number of a fraction.
Since a fraction is a representation of parts of a whole, the bottom number/denominator represents how many parts the whole number has been divided into. If there is a 16 in the denominator, it would take 16 fractions of 1/16 to make up a whole item.
The top number/numerator represents how many parts of the bottom number there are in the fraction. In the fraction 3/16, we are saying that if a chocolate bar is divided into 16 parts, we have 3 of those parts. Yum!
A mixed number includes a whole number and a fraction.
1- 1/2 is a mixed number
An improper fraction has a larger number on top (the numerator) than on the bottom (the denominator). 25/5 is an improper fraction.
It's important to understand the WORDS behind the math. Example: If you ask how many quarters (25-cent coins) are in a half dollar (a 50-cent coin), the answer is obvious: 2. Think of it this way: A whole dollar contains 2 halves or 4 fourths. If we put aside one half, we still have 2 fourths. If we divide up the half that’s left, we have 2 pieces or two of the original fourths left. We have just divided 1/2 by 1/4.
It turns out that one of the best ways to learn math, is to think of the numbers as money whenever you can substitute money.
We can read 1/2 divided by 1/4 as "what would happen if we take a half bar of chocolate and cut it into fourths?" First, assume you start with the whole bar of chocolate. Put aside half the bar (2 pieces or 2 of the 4 pieces) so that we can get back to our math problem. We look at what is left and see that indeed when we divided half the whole bar into fourths, we had 2 pieces in each half. We see that 1/2 divided by 1/4 = 2. Now, you and a friend--the TWO of you-- each get your share of chocolate.
It turns out that one of the best ways to learn math, is to think of the numbers as candy whenever you can substitute a sweet treat. PLAY GAMES. HAVE FUN!!
Here's another memory aid for dividing fractions:
KEEP * SWITCH * FLIP
1/2 divided by 1/4 =
Keep the 1/2
Switch the sign (math operation) to X for multiplication
Flip the second fraction upside down
(Swap the numerator for the denominator. Expressing it another way: Substitute its reciprocal)
Now the problem reads: 1/2 X 4/1 =
You can solve the problem two ways:
(1) Multiply the numerators to get 4 (1 X 4). Next, multiply the denominators to get 2 (2 X 1). The improper fraction 4/2 can be simplified to 2, the correct answer.
(2) You can also apply some pure mathematical magic: The denominator in the first fraction (2) can be divided into itself to arrive at 1 and divided into the numerator of the second fraction (4) to arrive at 2. Now we have 1/1 times 2/1. The answer is 2/1 or just 2.
This cross cancellation or early reducing/simplifying fractions is a real time saver if the numbers in the problem are large.
16/30 divided by 256/90 =
becomes 16/30 X 90/256=
1/1 X 3/16 = 3/16
If you are a glutton for punishment, you could multiply 16 X 90 (the numerators) and 30 X 256 (the denominators) and simplify 1440/7680, but why would you want to torture yourself?
We are going to skip adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing Positive integers because we don't run to the text books or math help Web sites to find out how to deal with those. Negative integers, on the other hand, can become quite complex.
Why bother to learn how to deal with negative integers? We actually do use negative numbers when we discuss temperatures, money, elevation, depth, and sports.
ADDING A NEGATIVE INTEGER AND A POSITIVE INTEGER
Use sign of larger number and subtract. Examples:
(-7) + 4 = -3
6 + (-9) = -3
(-3) + 7 = 4
5 + (-3) = 2
Hint: Try plotting these problems on a number line.
Take 6 + (-9) = -3 for example.
Place your finger on 6 on the positive side. Move to the left NINE places (-9), and you find your finger on -3.
ADDING A NEGATIVE INTEGER AND A NEGATIVE INTEGER
Negative + Negative = Negative
Add the numbers and retain the negative sign. (HINT: Remember you are moving further to the left on the number line.)
(-7) + (-3) = -10
(-2) + (-147) = -149
(-13) + (-6) = -19
SUBTRACTING A NEGATIVE INTEGER FROM A POSITIVE INTEGER
MNEMONIC: Like signs have a positive attraction to each other (they "like" each other & become positive).
Positive - Negative = Positive
5 - (-3) = becomes 5 + 3 = 8
Example: You find the $5.00 you thought you lost yesterday, but you still are down $3.00 that you lost later in the day. Now, your best friend shows up with the $3.00 that was under a book on the desk. Your friend has reversed your loss. You now have $8.00.
$5.00 - (- $3.00) = $8.00
SUBTRACTING A POSITIVE INTEGER FROM A NEGATIVE INTEGER
Negative - Positive = Negative
Hint: Remember that a negative and a positive are not the same; they don't like each other; they don't form
a positive bond; they have negative feelings about each other.
(-5) - (+3) = becomes (-5) + (-3) = -8
Example: If you have already lost a $5 bill because you have a hole in your pocket and then 3 more $1 dollar bills fall out of your pocket, you are out $8 (your total loss is $8.00).
-$5.00 - (+ $3.00) = -$8.00
[More to come on Multiplying Positive and Negative Integers and Dividing Positive and Negative Integers]