Spring 2014 – Week 5

For week 5 of Journal Club, we will be starting our exploration of ways to use music to teach science.  To prepare for this week’s activities, please read:

Crowther, G. (2012). Using Science Songs to Enhance Learning: An Interdisciplinary Approach. CBE Life Sci Educ, vol. 11 (no 1), 26-30. http://www.lifescied.org/content/11/1/26.long

Next week Thursday Rebecka Tumblin, Samantha Zeman, and Keats Conley will lead us through a sample activity that uses music to teach science concepts.  Neena Leggett and Noela Estrada will do the honors on Friday.


We had an excellent week learning about ways to use music to teach science. One of the areas we explored was having students create their own song or music video. Some of the videos are listed here. If you have an example you would like to share, send us a link in the comments section.

Students in the University of Ottawa’s BCH3120 course were challenged to write a song about the TCA (Kreb’s) Cycle. William Lam posted his entry with creative rewrite of lyrics from Macklemore’s “Thrift Shop”.

Wootton High School physics students wrote this original song and performed it on the last day for the school’s seniors.

2013 Summer Upward Bound students and Greg Crowther, the author of this week’s article, wrote the lyrics to “Polymerase”, a parody of Chuck Berry’s “Maybellene.”

Students may not always be comfortable performing in front of the class. The process of making a video using an existing song can also be a useful tool in building memory and understanding of a concept. Here is an example.

Music can be used outside the classroom to promote learning. See the Cambridge iGEM Team for 2010 in their rendition of “The Gibson Assembly Song,” a parody of Deep Blue Something’s “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.”

There are some bands that write science based songs. They Might Be Giants is one such band. We watched their video for “Meet the Elements.”

Just make sure that the science in the song is correct before you use it in your class. We listened to a few songs to see if we could find the errors. Pick your forces with care. Which is the correct one: centrifugal or centripetal? Pick the wrong one and your song could be heading to the Graveitron.

Read about 5 Famous Songs That Prove Musicians Don’t Understand Science.

As always, we will have two sessions to choose from

  • Thursday 9:00am in LISB 317 facilitated by Julie Mueller
  • Friday 2:00pm in LISB 317 facilitated by Elly Vandegrift

We hope to see you there!
Elly and Julie

1 Comment

[…] Last week, in addition to reading the article below, we listed to a number of songs illustrating the concept. Some of the songs were original compositions and others were parodies. For links to the songs we used, see last week’s Journal Club post. […]

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