Thursday, August 8, 2013

Teaching Science Through Rap

Two podcast events collided for me to produce today's post. The first was a 2-part interview on Neil deGrasse Tyson's show Star Talk. This interview included clips from Neil's discussion with GZA from the Wu-Tang Clan where they talk about how he thinks of his music, how fans relate to it, and how science has influenced his lyrical prose. Neil then listens to and comments on this discussion with Columbia Assistant Professor of Science Education Dr. Christopher Emdin. In his work, Chris uses rap to connect inner city youth to science. His erudite elocution put together with his expertise of hip hop culture is really inspiring.

You can hear this interview on Star Talk's website, just look for Season 4 episodes 20 and 21, or by clicking HERE.

Next, check out this video where Chris explains how urban students would learn more effectively if their teachers understood and spoke the language of hip hop.

The second podcast event was an NPR story called "Science Rap B.A.T.T.L.E.S. Bring Hip-Hop Into The Classroom." This story includes the two videos below, and it discusses Chris's teachings as well as how students research and wrote rhymes for the Science Genius B.A.T.T.L.E.S competition. This program is part of a national push to boost science education among minorities. Senior Jabari Johnson won the competition with his rap "Quest for Joulelry," but you can see all of the lyrics HERE.

In the San Francisco Bay Area, Tom McFadden also teaches science through music via Science with Tom and The Rhymebosome. You will recognize his work from my Monday video post Covalent Love. His approach with students is teaching them to write about conflicts from the history of science.  Here's a video he created with a group of seventh-graders from Oakland California.

Since it directly pertains to this subject, I'm going to throw in a video trailer for Baba Brinkman's Rap Guide to Evolution. I've actually seen him perform live, and he is a great.

If you've been following my blog long enough then you know I like to post good sciency music videos, many of which are raps. Here are a few to look at or revisit when you have the chance:

The Photosynthesis Rap
The LHC Rap
The Grad Student Rap
The Meiosis Rap
Epic Battle of Electricity
Rapping ATP
Rappin' Science

You can also click on the videos label over there on the right side of your screen to see all the wonderful sciency music I've come across in my Internet travels.

Want more information? Just click through the links peppered thoughout the post and look for more science rap video posts on my blog.

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