Science - All in the imagination

What's it about?

Research has shown that the earliest scientists had a better understanding of memory than we do now, writes Tony Buzan.

They knew that memory is not a function of rote learning, or linear filing systems, but instead is based on three essential pillars - imagination, association and location.

Apply these principles properly, using synaesthesia (the integration of multiple senses), exaggeration and the art of metaphor, and remembering anything becomes easy, creative and enjoyable.

One of the most universal memory failures in science is forgetting the order of the planets. Simple memory techniques lodge the correct sequence instantaneously.

The solar system contains four small planets, followed by four giant planets, and one dwarf planet. Beside the sun is a little thermometer filled with the metal that measures temperature: mercury.

The sun is hotter, so mercury rises, eventually exploding so you hear and see little balls of mercury: pure imagination and association. The unbelievably beautiful planet Venus picks up a ball of mercury and throws it with god-like power to your neighbour's patio, on Earth, where you live.

Your neighbour is a little (last little planet), red-faced, war-like man carrying a chocolate bar. Mars prepares to cause trouble when a 100-metre giant comes to your rescue: the biggest planet with a J-shaped lock of hair - Jupiter. His enormous T-shirt features the letters `SUN', representing the next three big planets, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune. On Jupiter's head is a tiny Disney character, Pluto, the dwarf planet.

Anything else?

For more ideas from TES Resources, try Sidney Logon's chemistry memory game, matching symbols with elements, or aking1's biology mind maps for cells and human impact on the environment.

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