So I have started asking my students — Algebra II and Calculus — how they remember things. If they have mnemonics, or if they have funny methods, or what? I don’t know why I didn’t ask this before. It seems so obvious.
How they remember which graph is a sine graph and which is a cosine graph? How they remember certain formulas? How they remember know how to solve absolute value inequalities?
I’ve gotten some pretty interesting answers, things I wouldn’t have come up with on my own.
For example, when doing absolute value inequalities, you might have . Well, you can actually rewrite that as AND . Similarly, if you have , you can rewrite that as OR .
How do you know which is an AND statement, and which is an OR statement. Well, one student (who probably got it from a tutor, or another student), said: “You can remember that because the absolute value is less thAND a number, or the absolute value is greatOR than a number.” Love it!
So when you’re doing something particularly new and challenging, remember that students come up with seemingly inscrutible methods all the time. It helps to ask them what they’re thinking. Not only to see if they’re on track, but also because their thoughts might be super valuable to others.