My favorite food is mex, my favorite thing on weekends is solving for x
January 13, 2013 12:09 PM   Subscribe

Alex Kajitani, aka the Rappin' Mathematician is determined to increase students' understanding of math concepts by "rapping" about them.



"The Number Line Dance"

"So Many Lines"

Kajitani resorted to educational rapping after finding his students unable to remember simple
mathematical concepts from recent lessons, instead coming in[to the classroom] rapping lyrics about violence, drug use, and mistreating women. These "math raps" have been effective, increasing his students' test scores and earning Kajitani many teaching awards (as well as a photo-op with the Obamas). He candidly shared some of his classroom observations and struggles during a recent TEDx talk: "Making Math Cool."
posted by obscurator (6 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Teaching math can make you desperate. I'm glad nobody filmed my Shoegaze Dancing vs. Phish Dancing demonstration, trying to illustrate the difference between having a small standard deviation versus having a large standard deviation.
posted by benito.strauss at 12:57 PM on January 13, 2013 [6 favorites]

Sounds like a good idea.

After all, I did learn everything I know about biology from Potsie Weber.
posted by flarbuse at 12:57 PM on January 13, 2013

Teaching math can make you desperate.

Yeah, apparently this is not so uncommon. NPR ran a story about 2-Pi last week.
posted by juliapangolin at 2:10 PM on January 13, 2013

I must be getting old, but I just can't understand how saying anything in rap makes it more comprehensible than less.
posted by Conspire at 3:07 PM on January 13, 2013 [1 favorite]

Putting it to rap won't increase understanding, but it will make it more memorable. For instance, it would be great if all of your students understood where the quadratic formula came from, and could re-derive it as needed, but you'd like them to at least be able to remember it, and putting it to rap will help them.

I would have students chant a few times "When P is small, reject the null", just to reduce the number of times I would have to see a hypothesis test done perfectly except for the very last step.
posted by benito.strauss at 5:20 PM on January 13, 2013 [1 favorite]

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