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Activity 4:  Memory Consolidation Experiment

This activity will have you apply what you have learned about memory consolidation

None needed.  
Student Observation Journal for Activity #4

The Experimental Design

The idea is to split into small groups. Each group should have at least four people in it. All groups study the same material (see below), but under very different conditions, except that they study the material for the last 5 minutes of class. Then on the next day, they take a short test of the material to see how much they remember. 

Condition 1 - consolidation group

  • When the class period bell rings, do not leave (arrange with teachers for permission if this will make you late). Close the lesson list of items to be memorized, but continue to think about what was on the list.
  • Remain silent. Do not look around the room or out the windows. Do not talk to anyone or move from your chair. Continue to think about the lesson for five minutes.
  • Several times during recess and throughout the day, see how much you can remember of the list. Talk to others in the group about the material and help each other remember everything on the list. 

Condition 2 - consolidation disruption group

  • As soon as the class period bell rings, jump up and leave. 
  • Immediately talk to as many people as you can about anything other than the lesson.
  • Look outside, look around the room and halls
  • Do something else. Do not think about the lesson until tomorrow.

On the next class period, everyone should take the test independently, not as a group. Report in the worksheet the tally of the best score for each student in your group. Compare scores.  You can pool scores across student groups, create a bar graph of the distribution of scores for everyone  in each condition. That is, graph how many students scored from 0-20%, how many from 20-40%, 40-80%, 80-100%.

The Test Material - matching items

name for nerve cell

hormone controlled by brain stress hormone
brain diseased with excess electrical activity epilepsy
two causes of stroke artery breaks or plugs up
kind of muscle that curls toes flexors
the other main kind of cell in nervous system glia
consciousness occurs in and from the ____ cerebral cortex
man who discovered conditioning Pavlov
kind of learning used by animal trainers operant conditioning
word for converting temporary memories to long-lasting ones consolidation
disease causing trembling Parkinson's disease
word for chemicals released by neurons transmitters or messengers
another name for nerve gases cholinesterase inhibitors
name of famous scientist in this lesson Walter Cannon
size of EEG waves microvolts
word for chemical messengers secreted into blood hormones
brain map image of blood supply PET scan or MRI
potassium and ___ create the electrical charge of nerves sodium
two things neurons do generate electricity, secrete chemicals
a brain area important to memory hippocampus

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