While everyone is welcome to use our database of science and math songs, it was originally created with STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) teachers foremost in mind. Likewise, this post is especially for teachers. It is based partly on the article “The SingAboutScience.org Database: An Educational Resource for Instructors and Students (G.J. Crowther, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Education 40: 19-22, 2012).
QUESTION: How can the database help engage your students in STEM?
A. You can use the database to find high-quality curriculum-related songs to share and discuss with your students, either during class or outside of class or both.
B. Students can use the database to find, say, three songs covering a central concept. Ask them to rate each song for its clarity and accuracy in representing this concept. Are the lyrics precise yet concise? Are helpful examples or analogies provided? Would the song help a student who didn’t understand the concept, or would it only be useful to someone who already “got it”?
C. Students can use the database to find a STEM song that is of good quality according to their assessment. Then they can design a content-rich music video (using photographs, drawings, and/or live-action videography) or a dance routine (using moves that closely relate to the lyrics) to accompany the song.
D. Students can use the database to find a STEM song that is of good quality according to their assessment. Then they can learn the song and perform it live for their classmates (or for another class, or for a school assembly), along with a mini-presentation about the meaning of the lyrics.
E. Students can use the database to identify a gap — i.e., a topic for which there are no good content-rich songs. Then they can fill the void!
F. Students can improve their understanding of databases — an increasingly important STEM topic — by exploring this one. Is it set up for Boolean AND or Boolean OR searches, or both? Which fields of the database need to be curated? What causes searches to return more or fewer “hits” than expected? What can be deduced about the storage of information in the database? Do some areas of STEM seem to be under- or overrepresented? What might improve the user-friendliness of the interface?
G. ALL OF THE ABOVE.
If you have any comments about teaching and learning with the database, please leave a comment here or send an email to crowther @ u.washington.edu.