Age And Memory

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Updated on Apr 29, 2013

Memory is a person’s ability to remember information. Information is stored in either long-term or short-term memory. Short-term memory includes names of people and other information gathered on a daily basis. Long-term memory includes memories from years ago. By age 20, you begin to lose brain cells. As you age, your ability to remember things decreases.


What is the relationship between memory and age?


  • 25 volunteers, 5 four to seven-year-olds, 5 twelve to fifteen year-olds, 5 twenty-year-olds, 5 forty-year-olds, and 5 sixty-year-olds
  • computer and printer to make number cards
  • 6 index cards
  • Scissors
  • Glue stick
  • Marker
  • Paper
  • Pencil
  • Stopwatch or timer


  1. Gather the necessary materials. Decide on the volunteers. You will test each volunteer separately.
  2. On the computers using the Times 36 font and size, make the following letter sequences: Z T A D L O W C L P K X J T B R Q S E R X M B R V Y N F C Q Z T X I V E A W M P F J
  3. Cut the letter sequences apart and glue each one on a different index card.
  4. Provide each volunteer with a piece of paper and a pencil. Have them write their age at the top of the paper. One at a time, test each subject’s memory by showing them one index card for 5 seconds, then ask them to write the letters they saw in order on a piece of paper. Repeat with the other 5 cards.
  5. Figure out the percentage of correct responses each volunteer provided. To find the percentage, divide the number of letters possible (42) by the number of letters they correctly remembered. Record the information.
  6. Analyze the data and draw a conclusion.
Nancy Rogers Bosse has been involved in education for over forty years - first as a student, then as a teacher, and currently as a curriculum developer. For the last fifteen years she has combined a career in freelance curriculum development with parenthood - another important facet of education and probably the most challenging. Nancy lives in Henderson, Nevada with husband and their three teenagers.

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