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.
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

Reports of Mass Murder on Mediterranean Smuggler’s Boat

Boat sailed from Libya with 750 migrants aboard and arrived in Italy with 569 More

Video New Thailand Hotline Targets Misbehaving Monks

Officials say move aims to restore country’s image of Buddhism, tarnished by recent high profile scandals such as opulent lifestyle, drug and alcohol abuse, as well as child sex abuse More

Study: Dust from Sahara Helped Form Bahama Islands

What does the Sahara have in common with a Caribbean island? Quite a lot, researchers say 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.
Astronauts Train in Underwater Labi
X
George Putic
July 25, 2014 7:25 PM
In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid