Singing along to science

Creative citizen scientists can compose and share their own science songs!  Photo:
Creative citizen scientists can compose and share their own science songs! Photo:

Songs have helped me remember a lot of academic information – from learning all 50 states* in alphabetic order when I was in elementary school to figuring out which French verbs take “être” (to be) in the past tense by humming  “Heigh Ho” from the musical Snow White.

My science classes got in on the vocal act as well. In math class, we learned the quadratic equation to the tune of “Pop Goes the Weasel.” In graduate school, my friends created a statistics rap to help their students get interested in difficult material. In my own Biopsychology classes, students enjoyed learning parts of the brain from Pinky and the Brain. (Well, at least they got a laugh!)

Does anyone actually keep track of this scientific creativity? For one, physicist Walter Smith of Haverford College is collecting all of the physics songs he can find. Do you have a physics song? Send an email to have yours added as well.

Whether they’re learning the citric acid cycle to the tune of “Fly Me to the Moon” (start with “oxaloacetate” and the lyrics fit the tune quite well) or the names of every single element thanks to Tom Lehrer, students of all ages remember scientific information more easily through song. Tunes are also a creative way to share your new-found knowledge. If the muse strikes you, come up with your own song to remember something scientific and add it to our member blogs page. Or, if you’re more daring, add a music video to the site!

*For those who want extra credit for singing the states and their capitals, try out this Animaniacs video.

Categories: Astronomy & Space, Biology, Chemistry, Citizen Science, Do-It-Yourself, Physics, Science Education Standards

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