Drawing to Memorize Content

Research-Based Questions to Guide Best Teaching


Drawing to Memorize Content

In our post, “Want Students to Memorize Content? Have Them Draw It,” we summarized the findings of Frits F.B. Pals et al., who studied the effects of having students illustrate class content on students’ recollection of that content. The authors found a positive link between students illustrating content (vs writing) and their ability to recall that information over time.

“Our study shows that students remember significantly more propositions after receiving instruction to make associated drawings, than after receiving instruction to write propositions on paper” (Pals et al., 238).

The authors conducted their study using science propositions. They note, however, that the strategy of having students draw content could benefit other subjects as well.

Questions to Guide Educators’ Professional Development:

  1. Do the teachers in your district/school already incorporate student-created illustrations of content into their lesson planning? If yes, how so? How frequently?
  2. In what ways can teachers include drawing components to specific lesson plans they already use? (This does not necessarily mean replacing writing, etc. completely. Drawing can be seen as an additional tool for furthering student understanding of content.)


  • Give teachers time in professional development sessions to pick a specific lesson plan and adjust it to include a content-drawing component.

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