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Memory Exercise

Subject: Prehistoric archaeology. Course: Prehistoric culture I. Study level: BA 1. semester. Class size: 6-35.

Motivation for the activity

  • Difficulties of working in groups
  • Lack of clarity about what you are expected to be able to do at the exam
  • Lack of ability to contextualise knowledge in an exam situation.

The game is played during the penultimate or final class before the exam.

Central learning outcomes for the activity 

  • To reflect on and be able to express themselves in relation to a subject that points the students towards the oral exam that concludes the course
  • To build up a range of associations between/strengthen their ability to distinguish between reflections/contextualisation and exact knowledge
  • To form a comprehensive view of gaps in their own knowledge
  • In addition, to establish a sense of security in relation to working in groups and to give the students an exercise where everyone (active participants + audience) gets something from the collaboration.

Description for the activity

Based on own lecture notes, PowerPoints and syllabus, the lecturer writes down, prints and cuts out a range of central concepts (approx. 40-60), which the students should be familiar with. It is a really good idea if the keywords have a level of abstraction that differs as much as possible, so you can include everything from general topics, theories and phenomena to specific years, places, people etc.

Allocate approx. 45 minutes to the exercise, in which the students are divided into groups of three. You can also spend more time on the exercise. The sets of concepts are handed out to the groups in face-down stacks. Subsequently each person draws a concept in turn.

Rule: The person who draws the concept must tell the others as much as he/she knows. When he or she is finished, the other two may criticise and supplement.

The game continues until the time is up or until the bottom of the stack is reached. As a rule you will, as lecturer, subsequently be asked if they can take the game home with them.

Outcome of the activity

The students are constantly active throughout the exercise - both when they themselves are drawing a concept, but also when they are jointly criticising and supplementing one another. This is very motivational for most of them. The different levels of abstraction simultaneously leads to even very heterogeneous groups benefiting from the exercise, as everyone has a chance to contribute on different levels.

The structure of the game gives a relaxed atmosphere in the classroom, where people address one another across the groups, laughing at the gaps in their own knowledge.

It also provides the lecturer and the students with quick and quite accurate insight into the students' abilities and gaps in their knowledge.


The game can easily be constructed and played by the students themselves, without the lecturer being present. The game can also easily be developed for other subject branches or more specific periods/subjects.

Example on memory exercise

Click on the picture to enlarge. 


Mette Løvschal

Associate professor
H 1483, 330
P +4522889205