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Today’s BrainWOD: “Working Memory Word Search”

The ability to recall facts and data is rarely challenged in an uncomplicated way. While most research revolves around students’ or subjects’ ability to recall strings of numbers over time, it’s rare that their recall is measured outside the research vaccuum.

In real life, though, it’s now normal for a worker to memorize facts and data and be required to use them while being distracted.

In Working Memory Word Search, a coach keeps a list of words at one end of the gym (or classroom, or basement, or park…) and a word search puzzle containing the words at the other end of the gym, out of sight of the participants. Between the list and the puzzle are a variety of exercises that require conscious effort to complete (these may vary by the user, depending on skill level.)

Example: the coach dictates three words: Athlete – Practice – Memory.

Students perform 20 over-the-box jumps, 30 skips, and 40 jumping jacks, and then race to the word search puzzle and attempt to find the words ‘Ignite,’ ‘Game,’ and ‘Focus’ first. They circle the words, and then race back to the coach for the next three words.

The students are required to remember the words on their own. If they can’t recall a word, they must return to the coach to hear the words again…and complete the exercises again before attempting to find the words in the puzzle.

Scaling options: add more words to the list to be memorized at one time;

use words that are more relevant (or less relevant) to the student;

use exercises that require more conscious attention (or less)

use more or fewer total words in the puzzle.

Sample puzzle:

workingmemorywordsearch (download a printable PDF file)


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