Christopher Emdin, an Associate Professor at Teachers College, Columbia University, loves to rap. And he loves using rap to teach kids all about science. That’s why he helped put together B.A.T.T.L.E.S., a New York City-wide competition that challenges students to put scientific concepts into lyrical raps. The kids were up to the task and rapped about everything from “rock science, natural selection and genetics to how materials freeze or melt.” And the winner — Jabari Johnson, a senior from Urban Assembly School for the Performing Arts in Harlem — was named on June 21, after the final competition took place on the Columbia University campus. Johnson will now have a chance to make a professional recording of his song about Kinetic Energy and post it on the Rap Genius website.
The Greatness of Charles Darwin Explained with Rap Music
The Large Hadron Collider Rap, Yo
I can’t say that I am impressed. Work is work and that is all there is to say. He had a good time and probably learned a fair amount in the process, but I don’t believe anyone else that learns the song will understand the concepts.
Education should be relevant, but when being relevant is the goal in and of itself, it achieves very little.
I have to respectfully disagree with Bryan since I can’t imagine that the goal was to teach someone physics through a song. If instead, as I posit, the goal was to demonstrate the student/performer’s grasp of the concept of kinetic energy, I think he succeeded admirably. I loved the way he translated it into a metaphor for his own ‘physical’ state, and laughed out loud for the sheer joy of it.