Day 12: Photography!

This was one of my best lessons, I think because of the engaging nature of the material and my ability to get students invested in a question like “Are Instagram filters a form of lying?”. Ultimately, this lesson aims to show students that in many ways, photography is just as fallible as memory, just in different ways. It is sure to blow their minds!

Goal: to gain an appreciation for the similarities and differences between photography and memory.

Please include your recommendations and advice for others who might want to use this lesson plan below:

Day 13: Sites of Memory

One of my favorite things about memories is how they can attach themselves to physical places and objects. Today’s class is all about understanding that phenomenon through reading Levi Romero’s “Woodstove of My Childhood”.

Goal: to understand how memory attaches to objects and places.


  • Your students may need some additional support throughout this lesson, because they are learning a new language to describe how memory attaches itself to objects/spacesĀ and because they are combining these ideas with collective memory. This is a big jump, though it may not feel like it. So, be sure to give more thorough explanations and lots of examples from your own personal life if you sense they need additional guidance.

Day 14: Good (and Bad) Memorials

Get ready for an exciting and fun class! Today, students take on the role of judges as they not only investigate how memorials express collective memories, but also determine what makes a memorial good or bad.

Goals: to start exploring memorials and the memories they communicate.


  • Students may need some help in their small groups as they discuss the criteria for what makes a good memorial. Be sure to be moving around the classroom to help as needed.
  • During the judging panel, consider whether you want to share the context for each memorial before students vote, after they vote, or not at all. I would recommend sharing before so that students understand both the message and aesthetics of each memorial, but it is totally up to you!
  • I would recommend introducing the final project to your students at least a day or two earlier so that they have more time to think about what event or movement they want to commemorate with a memorial. In regard to the nature of the final project itself, I have many notes/suggestions about how to make it most meaningful for your students. Read about them here.

Day 15: Starting Our Projects

During class today, students will have time to really begin working on their projects, including identifying their topic (the event/movement their memorial will commemorate) and starting their research.

Goal: for everyone to decide what event or movement their memorial will be about and to begin their research.


  • These last few lessons will likely need more deliberate modification on your end so that students have enough time and support to complete projects that they can be proud of. See more recommendations/considerations for the final project here.
  • The neuroscience review activity can easily be moved to a lesson earlier in the class. You may also choose to cut it, especially if you feel that your students need more time working on their projects. With that said, I think it adds a nice full-circle moment of testing students’ own long-term memories that also subtly communicates to them the importance of being deliberate about what you remember.