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Short-term Memory stores a limited amount of information for up to 30 seconds. It is our holding tank for skills and knowledge that, with practice, will move to Long-term Memory. The amount of information that can be stored in Short-term Memory capacity increases significantly during childhood and into adolescence. Students' Short-term Memory capacity, particularly the visuospatial component, is related to their improved math performance.
There are two types of Short-term Memory:
Short-term Memory is different from Working Memory because information is not manipulated in Short-term Memory, as it is in Working Memory. When items in Short-term Memory are rehearsed sufficiently, they are consolidated to become part of Long-term Memory.
Teachers support language development by using and providing vocabulary and syntax that is appropriately leveled (e.g., using simple sentences when introducing complex concepts).
Content that is provided in clear, short chunks can support students' Working Memory.
Providing math tasks with high cognitive demand conveys high expectations for all students by challenging them to engage in higher-order thinking.
As students solve problems in a group, they learn new strategies and practice communicating their mathematical thinking.
CRA is a sequential instructional approach during which students move from working with concrete materials to creating representational drawings to using abstract symbols.
Students activate more cognitive processes by exploring and representing their understandings in visual form.
Continual use of foundational skills with different problems reinforces a conceptual understanding of math skills.
10 minutes in each math session devoted to building fluent retrieval of basic math facts sets the foundation for learning new concepts.
Daily review strengthens previous learning and can lead to fluent recall.
Knowing the language of math is critical because students must use this language to understand math concepts and determine calculations needed.
Thinking of and about patterns encourages learners to look for and understand the rules and relationships that are critical components of mathematical reasoning.
Teaching students to recognize common problem structures helps them transfer solution methods from familiar to unfamiliar problems.
Discussing strategies for solving mathematics problems after initially letting students attempt to problem solve on their own helps them understand how to organize their mathematical thinking and intentionally tackle problems.
Analyzing incorrect worked examples is especially beneficial for helping students develop a conceptual understanding of mathematical processes.
When students explain their thinking process aloud with guidance in response to questions or prompts, they recognize the strategies they use and solidify their understanding.
As students walk through stations working in small groups, the social and physical nature of the learning supports deeper understanding.
Adding motions to complement learning activates more cognitive processes for recall and understanding.
In guided inquiry, teachers help students use their own language for constructing knowledge by active listening and questioning.
Spending time with new content helps move concepts and ideas into Long-term Memory.
Practicing until achieving several error-free attempts is critical for retention.
As students work with and process information by discussing, organizing, and sharing it together, they deepen their understanding.
Math centers support learner interests and promote the development of more complex math skills and social interactions.
Math games allow students to practice many math skills in a fun, applied context.
Rhyming, alliteration, and other sound devices reinforce math skills development by activating the mental processes that promote memory.
When students have meaningful conversations about math and use math vocabulary, they develop the thinking, questioning, and explanation skills needed to master mathematical concepts.
Mnemonic devices help students remember mathematical concepts and steps of math and classroom processes.
By talking through their thinking at each step of a process, teachers can model what learning looks like.
Teachers sharing math-to-self, math-to-math, and math-to-world connections models this schema building.
Brain breaks that include movement allow learners to refresh their thinking and focus on learning new information.
Instruction in multiple formats allows students to activate different cognitive skills to understand and remember the steps they are to take in their math work.
Multiple display spaces help develop oral language skills as well as Social Awareness & Relationship Skills by allowing groups to share information easily as they work.
Visualizing how ideas fit together helps students construct meaning and strengthens recall.
Providing physical and virtual representations of numbers and math concepts helps activate mental processes.
Easy access to seeing the relationships between numbers promotes Number Sense as students see these connections repeatedly.
Visual representations help students understand what a number represents as well as recognize relationships between numbers.
Multiple writing surfaces promote collaboration by allowing groups to share information easily as they work.
Connecting information to music and dance moves enhances Short-term and Long-term Memory by drawing on auditory processes and the cognitive benefits of physical activity.
Having students teach their knowledge, skills, and understanding to their classmates strengthens learning.
Research shows physical activity improves focus and creativity.
Decreasing extra audio input provides a focused learning environment.
When teachers connect math to the students' world, students see how math is relevant and applicable to their daily lives.
Students deepen their understanding and gain confidence in their learning when they explain to and receive feedback from others.
Response devices boost engagement by encouraging all students to answer every question.
When students engage in a dialogue with themselves, they are able to orient, organize, and focus their thinking.
When students monitor their comprehension, behavior, or use of strategies, they build their Metacognition.
Sentence frames or stems can serve as language support to enrich students' participation in academic discussions.
When students create their own number and word problems, they connect math concepts to their background knowledge and lived experiences.
Transforming written text into audio activates different parts of the brain to support learning.
Students deepen their math understanding as they use and hear others use specific math language in informal ways.
Tossing a ball, beanbag, dice, or other small object activates physical focus in support of mental focus.
Having students verbally repeat information such as instructions ensures they have heard and supports remembering.
Providing visuals to introduce, support, or review instruction activates more cognitive processes to support learning.
Visual supports, like text magnification, colored overlays, and guided reading strip, help students focus and properly track as they read.
Wait time, or think time, of three or more seconds after posing a question increases how many students volunteer and the length and accuracy of their responses.
A word wall helps build the Math Communication and vocabulary skills that are necessary for problem solving.
Analyzing and discussing solved problems helps students develop a deeper understanding of abstract mathematical processes.
Writing that encourages students to articulate their understanding of math concepts or explain math ideas helps deepen students' mathematical understanding.
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