Memory platforms

This week we are introducing the concept of ‘memory platforms’.

Often, the retrieval of prior learning during a starter naturally catapults you into your next lesson with many of your teaching groups. Memory platforms, coined by Andy Tharby, are now being used as starters in many classrooms across the country – especially since we’ve all moved (or mostly moved) to the new 9-1 GCSE’s which require much more learned content.

In short, memory platforms are quizzes/questions projected on the board at the start of a lesson that require students to think back to the previous lesson, previous topic and make links between these. After this, students will have recalled prior knowledge which can then be used as your platform to move into the next lesson of content. This activity can be varied too – students could attempt it alone, in pairs or in small groups for example. They usually take around 10 minutes and are a good settler task.

Here’s an example template:

§  Q1 – Q3 = Retrieve key knowledge from the last lesson

§  Q4 = Retrieve key knowledge from last week

§  Q5= Retrieve key knowledge from last term.

§  Q6 (optional) = Retrieve key knowledge from last lesson and connect it to knowledge from last term


Here’s a specific example from English:

1.      Which word is missing from this line? “I sit in the _____ of the wood, my eyes closed.”

2.      What is the hawk from the poem a personification of?

3.      What does the hawk now hold in its foot?

4.      What did the hare in Bayonet Charge symbolise?

5.      Which character from An Inspector Calls is said to be ‘cold’ in the opening stage directions?

6.      Which character from Of Mice and Men does the hawk most resemble?


You can also adapt this to use in your own lessons or a department, for example in Geography a popular acronym as a memory platform is to get students to ‘GEOG’ their memory.

§  Go back to last lesson.

§  Earlier this topic.

§  Older than a month.

§  Graph/figure analysis.


Let us know if you use or adapt your own memory platforms in your lessons or departments.

 “Quizzing provides a reliable measure of what you’ve learned and what you haven’t yet mastered. Moreover quizzing arrests forgetting. Forgetting is human nature, but practice at recalling new learning secures it in memory and helps you recall it in the future. Periodically practicing new knowledge and skills through self-quizzing strengthens your learning of it and your ability to connect it to prior knowledge.”

(Brown, Roediger and McDaniel, 2014)