Puns as nemonics

I’ve talked in other posts about tricks for learning to remember names. Here I’m going to explain how puns can help your students learn technical volcabulary or even formulas. The idea is to connect the new thing you want to learn with something you are already familiar with so that your brain has a way to relate to the new fact.

So perhaps you have a student who knows everything there is to know about pirates, but can’t remember the formula for the circumfrance of a circle. Help them connect what they know with what they need to learn with this joke. “What do pirates take to eat when they sail around the world? Two pies arrr!”

This is just one way to help students remember this formula. The best way to help them learn it us so give them as many different ways to remember it as possible, including pictures, arguments about units, proofs and puns. If students have multiple ways to connect to a fact they are more likely to understand it deeply and be able to apply it correctly in new situations.

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