Memory Matrix (classroom)

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Facilitating Memory Matrix active learning activities in a classroom.

Time and Effort

Instructor Prep TimeMedium
Student Activity TimeLow
Instructor Response TimeMedium
Complexity of ActivityMedium


Memory Matrix is a two-dimensional diagram used to organize and illustrate relationships. In the activity, the row and column headings are given, but the cells are left empty. As students fill in the blank cells, it provides them feedback on their understanding of content while helping instructors assess students’ recall and/or comprehension.


Use it when you want...

  • To help students recall essential content,
  • To have students develop the skill of organizing information into categories,
  • To see not only whether students have memorized the necessary information, but also how well they can recall new content, and how effectively they organized it.

What students will need

  • No special requirements for this approach.


The following workflow is meant as guidance for how you can facilitate a Memory Matrix learning activity within a classroom with a classroom.


  • Identify a lecture, reading, discussion, or another assignment that will be the foundation of the activity.
  • Review the content and draw a simple table in which rows and columns are useful variables for important information covered in the lesson.
  • Fill in the blank cells yourself with the appropriate facts. Use the same vocabulary used in the content students reviewed.
  • Identify whether students will complete the table individually or in groups. If in groups, identify group size.


  • Ask students either to work individually or in pairs to complete the assignment
  • Give students a blank handout at the start of class for the beginning, or middle, or end of the class session.
  • Direct students to provide the information needed to fill in the cells. Tell them how they should complete the table (individually or in groups) and how much time they have to complete it. Ask them to write only words or brief phrases. Set a realistic limit for the number of items you expect them to insert into each cell.
  • Collect the matrices.


  • Review matrices and assess the correctness and completeness of the information given.
  • Provide feedback/grade based on the quality of the matrices.
  • Discuss the results of the activity at the next class meeting.

Accessibility and Room Considerations

Technical Documentation


Angelo, Thomas A., and K. Patricia Cross. Classroom Assessment Techniques: a Handbook for College Teachers. Jossey-Bass, 1993. pp. 142-147.

See Also:

Keywords:memory matrix, prior knowledge, active learning, classroom   Doc ID:104172
Owner:Timmo D.Group:Center for Teaching, Learning & Mentoring
Created:2020-07-20 14:47 CSTUpdated:2021-08-20 13:21 CST
Sites:Center for Teaching, Learning & Mentoring
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