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Working Memory Exercise

This exercise consists of two steps. The primary purpose of Step 1 is to improve long-term memory, while Step 2’s objective is to improve working memory. Copyright: Edublox (Pty) Ltd.  

Step 1

Select a sequence from the examples below, or use any other sequence. The student has to learn the sequence by heart, which will require several sessions.

Only proceed to Step 2 once the learner can remember the sequence perfectly.

Days of the week (a must if your child doesn’t know the days of the week):

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday.

Months of the year (a must if your child doesn’t know the months of the year):

January, February, March, April, May, June, July, Augustus, September, October, November, December.

Eight planets that orbit the sun (in order from the sun):

Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune.

Jacob’s children, listed according to birth order:

Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Dan, Naphtali, Gad, Asher, Issachar, Zebulun, Dinah, Joseph, Benjamin.

Alphabet (a must if your child doesn’t know the alphabet):

A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, M, N, O, P, Q, R, S, T, U, V, W, X, Y, Z.

NATO phonetic alphabet (International radiotelephony spelling alphabet):

Alpha, Bravo, Charlie, Delta, Echo, Foxtrot, Golf, Hotel, India, Juliet, Kilo, Lima, Mike, November, Oscar, Papa, Quebec, Romeo, Sierra, Tango, Uniform, Victor, Whiskey, X-ray, Yankee, Zulu.

Western Union phonetic alphabet:

Adams, Boston, Chicago, Denver, Easy, Frank, George, Henry, Ida, John, King, Lincoln, Mary, New York, Ocean, Peter, Queen, Roger, Sugar, Thomas, Union, Victor, William, X-ray, Young, Zero.

Phonetic alphabet sometimes used in Asia:

Australia, Bombay, China, Delhi, England, Fiji, Geneva, HongKong, India, Japan, KualaLumpur, London, Malaysia, Norway, Osaka, Penang, Queensland, Russia, Singapore, Taiwan, Uganda, Vietnam, Wellington, X-ray, Yokohama, Zanzibar.

Old Testament books in order:

Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 Samuel, 2 Samuel, 1 Kings, 2 Kings, 1 Chronicles, 2 Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi.

U.S. states in alphabetical order:

Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming.

Kings and Queens of England since 1066:

William I, William II, Henry I, Stephen, Henry II, Richard I, John, Henry III, Edward I, Edward II, Edward III, Richard II, Henry IV, Henry V, Henry VI, Edward IV, Edward V, Richard III, Henry VII, Henry VIII, Edward VI, Mary I, Elizabeth I, James I, Charles I, Charles II, James II, William III & Mary II, Anne, George I, George II, George III, George IV, William IV, Victoria, Edward VII, George V, Edward VIII, George VI, Elizabeth II.

Step 2

The student must say the sequence that they have learned. However, they must alternate between the sequence and counting. An example should make this clear:

The student says the eight planets that orbit the sun, in order from the sun, while counting backward in twos from 60: “Mercury, 60, Venus, 58, Earth, 56, Mars, 54, Jupiter, 52, Saturn, 50, Uranus, 48, Neptune, 46, Mercury, 44, Venus, 42, Earth, 40, Mars, 38, Jupiter, 36, Saturn, 34, Uranus, 32, Neptune, 30,” et cetera.

Note: Counting backward in twos is just an example. One can start by counting forward in ones. 

As the student progresses, one should let them learn a new sequence. Alternate between learning a new sequence and practicing already mastered sequences. For example, use

  • Monday to learn a new sequence (Step 1),
  • Tuesday to practice a sequence that had already been mastered (Step 2),
  • Wednesday to learn a new sequence, which will most likely be the same sequence as Monday’s (Step 1), and
  • Thursday to practice a sequence that had already been mastered (Step 2), etc.

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