Long has the state of educational funding been dismal. Classrooms suffer. Teachers become bitter. Students are left numb and disinterested.
This deficit has hit the sciences especially, with minimal support for the laboratory based, hands-on learning that many of us were fortunate to have. Students are missing out on critical thinking opportunities and, in some cases, becoming less excited about science. In a society exponentially driven by STEM, this is a most unfortunate situation.
How do we change this? As scientists and teachers with little extra means, how do we make science interesting and relatable again?
Well, you turn to the most relatable medium out there: Music.
Dr. Jeremy Long from San Diego State University has been utilizing music as a teaching mechanism for the past couple of years now. In fact, some of you may be familiar with some of his musical escapades or his Annual Chemical Ecology Film Fests (now in it’s fourth year!). Taking a note out of the Science Genius book Dr. JayLow, as his students call him, brought science rapping to the west coast and added a music video component. The goal of this project was two-fold: 1. To be able to teach and get students to think about science in a way that differed from the traditional “lecture and test” method. Perhaps even so much as to allow the information to stick…novel concept; and 2. To instill the importance of translating science to a broader audience.
As a junior in college, being in his class and a part of this “experiment” was enough to drastically change my career focus. Now, as a graduate student in his lab I have to deal with him rapping in his “studio” office on the regular…but I digress.
In true music biz style, Dr. JayLow has branched out from his original endeavor to form a new and exciting collab, of which, I am fortunate to be a part of. With generous support from the California SeaGrant and in association with Mr. John Ashley’s Environmental Science Class of Mar Vista High School, we have set out on a new adventure dubbed:
Here we continue the music video legacy with the bright minds of Mar Vista High School and seek to produce brilliant new video compilations. High school students will be working along side six SDSU graduate students to translate their science into Billboard chart toppers. We have even enrolled the help of some local musicians, beatboxer, Generik, and rapper, Parker Edison.
To give you all a preview of coming epicness, I put together this little video montage of one of our very first interactions. Needless to say, these students blew me away.
Over the next three months, we will be working with the students on translating the science, music recording, and video production. Excited to share with you all the final products.