Middle School

Memorizing States

I am a firm believer in using mnemonics as a memorization tool. To shove information into the brain in large amounts can be absolutely overwhelming. I have found that when the student makes a fun sentence out of a series of information, not only does that child learn the information quicker, but he or she is likely to retain the information over time.

The example I am sharing involves memorizing the states on a map. Many of my students would complain about the length of time it took them to remember 50 states, their locations, and their spellings. I made up these mnemonics (although it is better for the child to make up ones that are meaningful to him or her), and my students memorized these first 17 states in a matter of minutes, not hours.

“Are you having a COW?”
1. C=California
2. 0=Oregon
3. W=Washington

4. N=Nevada
5. A=Arizona

I OWE U something NEW!”
6. I OWE=Idaho
7. U=Utah
8. NEW=New Mexico

MAN, is that shirt TAN?” “WHY?” “It’s not your COLOR!”
9. MAN TAN=Montana
10. WHY=Wyoming
11. COLOR=Colorado

DAKOTA, do you want to go NORTH OR SOUTH? Well, if you are really ASKing me, I C(K)AN go HOME to TEXAS.”
12. North Dakota
13. South Dakota
14. ASK=NebrASKa
15. C(K)AN=Kansas
16. HOME=Oklahoma