Countdown to VOICES, presenter profile #10: Jon Chase

This post is the 10th in a series of brief profiles of people who will be presenting their work at VOICES, a first-of-its-kind online conference on using music to teach STEM, on Sept. 27-28, 2017.

Jon Chase is a freelance science communicator and rapper based in South Wales. Fulfilling his mission of making scientific thinking as accessible as possible, his science outreach work can be seen on TV and YouTube and at live in-person workshops. He is arguably the UK’s leading science rapper, having been featured at The Science Museum, The Royal Society, and The Royal Institution, and on CBeebies’ Rhyme Rocket, CBBC’s Space Hoppers, and Channel 4 Learning. Jon holds degrees in aerospace engineering, science & science fiction, and science communication.

Here’s an example of Jon rapping, inspired by Tom Lehrer’s famous “The Elements” song, in which Jon covers the periodic table in a less random, more instructive way.

The title and abstract of Jon’s VOICES presentation are as follows:

Science songs can often be seen in a one-dimensional way, i.e. “It’s a song about genetics/ dinosaurs/space” or “It’s a cool way to teach science” but science songs have different strengths and play to different needs in the listener. Some songs present factual statements that could be used as rhythm or rhyme based mnemonics; like jingles. Some songs portray an idea in a way that can help a listener to get a deeper understanding of it for example, a song about the roles scientists play in society or a song about a misunderstood concept (such as climate change or evolution). Then there are songs that are really just a bit of fun, that don’t really tell us much about science but are still appealing to a science interested public, e.g. Tom Lehrer’s “The Elements.” In each instance it would potentially help educators to know what type of story is being told so they can more easily incorporate the increasing number of science songs becoming available. This may require a kind of classification system and/or a directory that also includes details about particular content within a song. This will also be touched upon within this presentation.

Jon is one of over 40 people who will present their ideas, insights, and investigations at VOICES. To have full access to all presenters and their presentations, please register for the conference. It’s only $10!

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