Many musically inclined science buffs are writing science songs these days - songs that teach basic science information to kids in a clever, musical format. Just like the old saying "In fourteen hundred and ninety two Columbus sailed the ocean blue," these songs form a hook that help students remember things they need to know to learn the material and pass the tests.
The rhyme and rhythm of a song makes the lyrics easy to remember, especially if they are catchy. Songwriters call a catchy, recurring line a "hook." Including a hook in a song is essential if you want people to remember the song.
One way teachers write science songs is to parody a familiar tune with scientific lyrics. For instance, if you search the web, you might find a version of the song "Sugar, Sugar" originally recorded by the "Archies."
The new science version, however, is called "Glucose, Glucose" and teaches the metabolism of sugar! Now that's an interesting twist! Bill Nye the Science Guy featured this type of thing regularly on the television show. Here's another example.
A series of short videos entitled Schoolhouse Rock, now owned by Disney, presented us with a suite of georgeous science songs. They were composed by Bob Dorough (jazz) and Lynn Ahrens (folk) in the 1970's and '80's, and feature titles such as "Interplanet Janet" and "Electricity, Electricity". There were several about computers, one about weather, math and other subjects as well. The Scientific titles were:
Remember the first two words in the Sesame Street Theme? "Sunny Days..." The Beach Boys have written several songs about sun. How many songs have been written about rain down through the years?
A lot! Rain speaks of sadness and unfulfilled hopes. Think of "Rainy Days and Mondays" recorded years ago by the Carpenters.
Rain can also signal a happy time when even wet weather can't get you down,as in "Singing in the Rain," which was sung and danced by Fred Astaire in the movie of the same name.
Either of these familiar tunes could be reworked by a clever science teacher to teach facts about inclement weather. A clever sample song about rain lyric might go
"Thinking about rain,
I'm thinking about rain,
how the water dries up and then falls down again.
The water cycle's plain -
when it goes down the drain,
That water will someday fall again as rain."
I have to credit Barbara Wood of Mountain Grove, Missouri for this example.
When looking for ways to get students to remember science facts, don't overlook the use of science songs. Use your imagination, and set those dry bits of information to music.
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