Droppin’ science

Happy New Year to one and all- hope your holidays were relaxing, or if they weren’t, then at least still food-and-fun-filled.

Kicking off the new year in style, we will be at the ASE conference in Reading from tomorrow- stop by the Science Museum stand and say hello!

And how about this Hip-Hop Experiment for getting students to talk science: GZA, of Wu-Tang Clan fame, has teamed up with Columbia Uni Professor Chris Emdin to teach young people science through rap, in a project launched in 10 New York City schools. They believe that the challenge of coming up with rhymes about science, and standing up to deliver them to their peers, can help engage hard-to-reach students in a way they can feel proud of.

Droppin science: students in Harlem take turns delivering raps in class. Dr Emdin,left, joins in.

‘We should find new ways to capture the interest of a new generation’ says Dr Emdin. And how right he is! We agree wholeheartedly, and have been living by this philosophy for a long time- which is why we promote the use of powerful questions in discussions (e.g. how could Justin Bieber reduce his world tour’s carbon footprint?) and more recently, digital games in the classroom, to give students a way into talking science by showing them that it’s absolutely relevant to their lives and interests.

Emdin says the skills required for success in science are much like those of a good rapper: ‘curiosity, keen observation, an ability to use metaphor and draw connections.’  Might I add, science and music are both creative fields, and without imagination, there isn’t much moving beyond what ideas already exist!

Feel like giving the science rap a shot? Why not, why not. After teaching a lesson, set your students the task of coming up with some rhymes for homework, instead of a report or essay. If you do try it, we’d love to hear how it went!

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