Mnemonics Examples


A mnemonic is a shortcut to learning or remembering a longer string of information. It can be an acronym, in which each letter of a word stands for a longer part, a rhyme which helps keep something in order, even a longer phrase in which the first letter of each word in the phrase stands for something else.

Mnemonics are an excellent tool in math and science since there are many topics that students need to remember which contain lengthy amounts of information.

Examples of Mnemonics:

1. The Planets

Even before the shift in definition that changed the number of planets in our solar system, there was a mnemonic to remember them in order: "My very energetic mother just served us nine pizzas." The first letter of each word stood for: Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto. Now that the categorical definition of a planet has changed and Pluto is no longer considered in the same vein as the other eight, the mnemonic has switched to: "My very energetic mother just served us nachos."

2. Bloom's Taxonomy

There's a quick mnemonic to remember the levels of classification for defining organisms. Just remember, "King Phillip came over from Germany safely." These words stand for kingdom, phylum, class, order, family, genus, species.

3. Days of the Month

It can be hard to remember which months have thirty days and which ones have thirty-one. One easy way to remember it is on your hands. While not a verbal mnemonic, looking at the knuckles of your clenched left fist will help you know. Starting with the raised up knuckle on your pinkie finger, say, "January." When you dip down into the space between the two knuckles, say, "February." Continue like this with each knuckle and space, but when you get to the knuckle of your index finger, you should be on July. Go back to the beginning (your pinkie knuckle) and say, "August," then continue with the rest of the months.

Every time you landed on a knuckle, that month has thirty-one days. Every time you landed on a space, that month has only thirty days, except for February, which as either twenty-eight or twenty-nine days, depending on the year.

4. Colors of Light in the Spectrum

In the case of remember the waves of light in a white light spectrum, there's no phrase to remember, but there is a name: Roy G. Biv. The letters that make up the name stand for red, orange, yellow, green, blue (light blue), indigo (dark blue), and violet (purple). On either side of the name are infrared and ultraviolet, but they're not visible to the naked eye and aren't in the mnemonic.

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