I learned how to build mics in my workshop class

Thanks Q-tip, for the title of this post. Best to have “Award Tour” in the background as you read.

I’ve been doing workshops on writing science songs for a while now. Derrick and I invented the baseline format for a group of East Palo Alto students a couple years back, and since then I’ve been tweaking it for science teachers and students all over the world.

It usually goes something like this.

  1. Here is an example of a science rap I made. Isn’t that ridiculous? But it’s not that hard. All you have to do is…
  2. Pick an area of content (often science) and a main message you want to convey
  3. Brainstorm vocabulary and concepts that relate to your message
  4. Come up with rhymes
  5. Create lyrics in simple couplets, then maybe as a parody of a pop song
  6. Walk through this process as one big group
  7. Break into small groups/individuals and do it on your own.
  8. Edit your song so it makes sense as a whole, practice it, then come back later and perform.

Inevitably students enjoy different aspects of this. Some kids know the content really well. Others are great at rhyming. Yet others love to perform.

Here are some pictures from the latest iteration at an all girls high school in South Dunedin.

I miss teaching. Don't miss my horrible hand writing though.

In the lab with a pen and a pad.

I think this group wrote a song about the genetics of the Spongebob Squarepants characters.

As demand has increased here in New Zealand, its cool to realize that the format we dreamt up in Derrick’s dorm room is running smooth like butter.

Ultimately, it’s been lesson in the power of getting out there and doing the dang thing. Best way to learn, improve, and achieve. So in the words of Q-tip:

Who could drop it on the angle? Acute at that.
So do that, do that, do do that that that.

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2 Responses to I learned how to build mics in my workshop class

  1. Pingback: Links: The Rhymebosome (Tom McFadden) on the Krebs cycle and writing songs with students | Sing About Science & Math Blog

  2. Pingback: Links: The Rhymebosome (Tom McFadden) on the Krebs cycle and student songwriting | Sing About Science & Math

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