News / USA

Teacher Uses Music to Make Math Fun, Cool

Teacher Uses Music to Make Math Fun, Cooli
X
January 31, 2013 3:57 PM
Student engagement is a goal in schools everywhere. A teacher in the Washington suburbs has found a way to engage and motivate students-- by bringing rhythm and fun to mathematics. As VOA’s June Soh reports, the approach works well especially for students who speak English as a second language. Amy Katz narrates.
TEXT SIZE - +
June Soh
— Student engagement is a goal in schools everywhere.  A teacher in the Washington suburbs has found a way to engage and motivate students-- by bringing rhythm and fun to mathematics.  The approach works well especially for students who speak English as a second language.

Making math fun

The voice heard in the video belongs to mathematics teacher Jake Scott.  Most of the performers are his students.  Watching videos is not part of their daily routine but it is one of the essential course materials in Scott’s classes at Montgomery Blair High School in a Washington suburb.  

“I use rap because it is something that appeals to the students, also because music aids with memory," Scott explains. "So, if I can come up with rap and organize it and present it to the students, then that's helping get the student to memorize it.”  

Scott started using rap videos three years ago.   So far he has produced nine, including YouTube favorites “Triangle Experts” and “Quadratic Formulatic,” which have been viewed tens of thousands of times. “It is fun and the whole process is something that students appreciate,” Scott says.

Empowering students

In recent years, Scott has made a special effort to help students from other countries. “When they come here,  their language skills are not up to par.  So they are often times placed on a remedial level which is very low. Some of the students get discouraged and drop out," he states.  "So I decide to focus on this group of students because many of those students are very capable.”

Lea Sanon’s family came here from the West African country of Burkina Faso two years ago.  She appears in Scott’s Quadratic Formulatic video. “Before the video, I didn’t remember the quadratic formula. But right after he made the video and I listened to it once, I did remember everything," she says. "It is stuck in my head.  It is kind of fun at the same time.  I get to use in my Algebra II class right now.”

Abdullah Ibrahim, who immigrated from Iraq last year, says Scott makes math easy for him. “When I first came here, I was really bad in math," he admits.  "After practicing with Mr. Scott, I mean thanks God.  Now he decided [picked] me to go to honors [program] in the summer.  I am doing well. So I am really proud of myself."

More than a teacher

Blair High School principal Renay Johnson is a big supporter.  She even appears in Scott’s latest video, "Undefined Expressions".
 
“Mr. Scott is very motivating and engaging for students," Johnson notes.  "He enjoys what he does. As you know he engages students and mathematics through music. But he is also our wrestling coach.  He also sponsors National Honor Society. And he is also a director of after school sports academy.  I am lucky to have him here as a teacher.”  

Scott was recognized as an outstanding educator last year by the Montgomery County Council.  He was also honored as 2011 teacher of the year by an African-American civil rights organization.

Jake Scott says he wants mathematics to be something that students look forward to learning.  

And he says the results will help them on a path to college and a career.

You May Like

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

John the XXIII and John Paul II will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square on April 27 More

Thailand Reacts to Plots Targeting Israelis

Authorities hope arrest of two Lebanese suspects will disrupt plot to attack young Israeli tourists More

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

'Once Upon a Forest' takes viewers deep into heart of tropical rainforest More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Churchi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
Jerome Socolovsky
April 22, 2014 4:14 PM
On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Robotic Mission Kicks Up Lunar Dust

A robotic mission to the moon was deliberately crashed onto the lunar surface late last week, but not before scientists had collected data gathered by the spacecraft which was designed to self-destruct. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports on the preliminary findings of the craft, called LADEE - an acronym for Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer.
Video

Video Boko Haram Claims Responsibility for Bombing in Nigerian Capital

The Nigerian militant group known as Boko Haram has claimed responsibility for a bombing in the capital on April 14th that killed 75 people. In the video message, Abubakar Shekau, the man who says he ordered the bombing, says nothing about the mass abduction of more than 100 teenage girls, most of whom are still missing. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Abuja.
Video

Video Ukraine Developments Hang Over Obama Trip to Asia

President Barack Obama's trip to Asia this week comes as concerns over Beijing's territorial ambitions are growing in the region. Those concerns have been compounded by Russia's recent actions in Ukraine and the possibility that Chinese strategists might be looking to Crimea as a model for its territorial disputes with its neighbors. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid