The human body comprises 11 systems: integument, skeletal, muscular, nervous, endocrine, circulatory, digestive, reproductive, urinary, respiratory and cardiovascular. Each is essential for the healthy and normal function of the body. Memory tricks and associations can help you remember what each one is called.
Write a sentence that contains 11 words, each of which starts with the first letter of the 11 body systems: i, s, m, n, e, c, d, r, u, r and c. For example, "I still miss nice elephants, cats, dogs, roosters under rocky cliffs." The sentence doesn't have to make sense, and you can mix up the letters any way you like, as long as you use all 11. It's easy to simply memorize the sentence and use the first letters of each word in the sentence to trigger your memory of the names of the body systems.
Catchy phrases are easier to remember than a list of the 11 body systems, and creating your own catchy phrases will help you recall each system. For example, "strong skeleton" and "massive muscles" are more evocative than the words skeletal and muscular. Another example is, "The urinary system wears underwear." Once you develop a short phrase for each system, turn the phrases into a poem or story. Like the acrostic sentence, your story doesn't have to make sense to be memorable.
Memorable Mental Images
Associating the sound of a word with a strong mental image is another way to trigger recall. The circulatory system, for example, evokes an image of blood whisking efficiently through the body like cars on a freeway. Once you have this image, add another system to the mix. For example, add the respiratory system to the circulatory system by envisioning the whisking blood speeding up when you breathe in and slowing down when you breathe out. Keep adding systems until you've included all of them in your mental picture.
The Method of Loci
Using the method of loci, you choose a room, such as your kitchen, that you're very familiar with. To remember a list of items, enter the room and see the first item on your list. For the body systems, you might enter your kitchen and see a red paper heart hanging on the wall, which you'll associate with the circulatory system. Move further into the room to see another image, such as a bone in the kitchen sink to remind you of the skeletal system. Continue making your way through the room until you've seen an image associated with each body system. When you need to recall the names, envision yourself entering the kitchen and viewing the associated images.
Sara Ipatenco has taught writing, health and nutrition. She started writing in 2007 and has been published in Teaching Tolerance magazine. Ipatenco holds a bachelor's degree and a master's degree in education, both from the University of Denver.