What do Wu-Tang clan member GZA and Columbia Professor Christopher Emdin have in common? They both love hip hop, and think it can be used to teach science to kids more effectively.
Together with lyrics website Rap Genius, the two are launching a pilot program in NY that uses rap lyrics and the process of creating a good rapper to make good science students. Instead of science papers, students will write rhymes about science, with the best ones being published on Rap Genius.
In a telling quote, Professor Emdin tells the NYTimes he believes that teaching can be more effective where the teacher gets the students standing up to better read their body language:
Kids relate best when they’re standing up. The teacher can measure engagement by the hand gestures and head bobs. And when the last kid couldn’t finish his verse, everybody gave him encouragement. In a traditional school, he’d have failed. We need to expand the notion of what success is.
Also check out Prof. Christopher Emdin’s book Urban Science Education for the Hip-Hop Generation.