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13-Apr-2011

What’s the difference between dementia and amnesia? What’s an amygdala? Who is Simonides? And what’s a Schwarzenegger movie got to do with all of that?

Get your students to find the answers by using the brilliant new and shiny Web Project Marvellous memory on Macmillan English Campus.

Web Projects guide learners to a variety of completely authentic but carefully chosen external websites, asking them to find information in order to complete activities. They are fantastic to help students improve their language skills whilst watching videos, listening to audio materials and reading texts, but also to work on their research techniques, in looking for specific information on webpages.

In Marvellous memory, a Web Project for advanced learners, students read about the tricks memory plays on us, they find out more about memory-related phenomena, research the history of memory, listen to an interview with a ‘mnemonist’ to find out what he can do, and finally find out how to improve their memory.
You can find a key for this web project on our teacher support site at www.macmillanenglishcampus.com/login.

You could have your students do the research at home or in class. If you think the Web Project is too long for one lesson, you could split up the project into separate tasks, and assign them to different project teams (team A researches the tricks memory plays on us, team B finds out about memory-related phenomena, etc). Ideally each group will then present what they found out.

Warmer: Show your students Stephen Wiltshire’s drawing of the London Tower Bridge for about 20 seconds. Cover the drawing and ask them a couple of detailed questions about it:

How many ‘towers’ does the Tower Bridge have?
How many plants are in the drawing?
How many lampposts are visible?
How many people are in the drawing?
How many balconies are visible?
How many skyscrapers did they count?
How many dark lines does the oval ‘Gherkin’ skyscraper have?

Tricky questions, aren’t they? Can your students answer them? If not, they will certainly be impressed to hear that Stephen Wiltshire is able to draw highly complex cityscapes like this from memory only. There are plenty more stunning examples available on his website.

The English Campus database offers plenty of exercises about topics related to memory, which you could use perfectly as follow up activities:

‘The Neighbourhood’ is a very special variant of a ‘Memory’ game
• There are some interesting IELTS reading activities: ‘Memory’ and ‘Sight and Memory’
Business English students might be interested in the activity ‘Mind Mapping Techniques in Meetings’

If you’d like to find more, just type in “memory” into the Search area of your English Campus.

Interested in testing your own memory now? Here you go – a memory activity for you: do you remember the questions this posting started with? Do you remember how many questions I asked in the first paragraph? And, for advanced memorizers – how many two-letter words are in the first paragraph? (Don’t scroll up – that’s cheating!)

Eva

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