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When I was in college, my economics professor decided to conduct an experiment on the two different sections of Econ 101 that she taught. For the first class, which was not my section, she gave the students a piece of gum to chew in class on the day they reviewed the chapter before the test. She gave each student a second piece of that gum to chew while they studied for the test. And then on the day of the exam she gave them a third piece of gum. The gum was always the same brand and flavor. The second class got no gum, and was unaware of the gum-filled first section.
She conducted this experiment the entire semester to see if the grades differed between sections as a result of the gum. And guess what? The average grade was so significantly higher for the class that got the gum that she curved the grades for my entire class because she felt guilty! There is something about chewing gum that engages another sense while studying, which helps in recalling information. With the help of gum, students are not only engaging their sense of sight and possibly sound (if they review out loud) but also taste, creating a more lasting and impactful memory of the material learned.
As a teacher now, with exams just around the corner. I’m encouraging my students to do the same and aiding them in the process. I call it the Give Extra, Get Extra Grades lesson. On the review days in class I provide them with either Extra® Gum Spearmint or Polar Ice® (keeping the flavor consistent for each class). I give each student a stick to take home and then provide them with one on the exam day as well. With classes around 30 students, the new Extra® 35-stick packs are perfect for reaching everyone without needing to lug around a bag of gum packets. As a teacher, I figure this is the perfect way to Give Extra, Get Extra in terms of their final grades as well as student morale. (You always win as a teacher when food or gum is involved – unless it’s adhered to the bottom of the desk. UGH)
I encourage all my advisees at school to do the same and even tell the students’ parents about this little experiment. Because while it might not work in every circumstance why pass up the chance to have a little extra help while taking a semester exam?
Fair Warning for all my Student Readers: This is NOT to say chew gum and you will automatically get a better grade. Studying is the most essential element, the gum can just help in the process, obviously.
For fellow teachers, I highly recommend being the gum distributor and not leaving a pack at the front of the classroom for the students to take as they will. I tried that method first and ended up without a single piece left by the time the first class was over, leaving nothing for my subsequent classes. Of course, students helped themselves to many more than the two pieces I suggested, which I totally would have done as a student. Oops. Now I hand out the gum at the start of the review day and another piece at the end of the review session to chew while home.
An added bonus to the Extra® 35-stick pack is the convenient carrying case it comes in. The plastic is light but also solid enough to throw in the bottom of your purse and not have to worry about a dozen sticks of gum getting loose and creating a sticky mess. (Been there done that with other products and it is not fun to be pulling gum off your wallet, keys and cellphone.) Beyond being durable, it’s also recyclable. You can grab the expanded packs in the WalMart checkout line. Simple and convenient on all fronts.