Science & Music
Anyway, thinking about sound and science reminded me that I never posted about the SCONYC workshop I attended on using music in the science classroom.
The workshop was led by Mark Rosengarten, a high school chemistry teacher who's produced an entire CD full of songs written to help his students learn and remember content. Now, I have dabbled in scientific songwriting before, but I've always started with existing songs and just changed the lyrics. Rosengarten writes all his songs himself, from rap to rock'n'roll and roots. The songs are cheesy in a way that ensures you'll walk away singing them, which is perfect for students, but make sure you are ready to to have verses like these stuck in your head before listening: (this is just a sample, other samples are on his website)
What the Heck is Light?
Look at the electrons, all happy in their shells
zipping right along, their life is pretty swell
Each one has their own amount of certain energy
and they will stay forever, if you let them be...
But if you kick an atom squarely in the pants
electrons get excited and will do their special dance
Some absorb the energy and move to higher shells
and leave behind light places in the spots where they once dwelled...
Rosengarten's not the only one turning science into song. My friend W. invited me to go along with her to hear the Physics Chanteuse sing on Valentine's Day. I had other plans, alas, and had to miss the performance, but I've since visited her website, where you can hear mp3's and download lyrics for a dozen songs (and buy the CDs!), including my favorite,
Carbon is a Girl's Best Friend
by Lynda Williams
A lithium dose just might cure your depression
but carbon is a girl’s best friend.
Gold may be grand but it won’t start a fire in y our
BBQ or put the toot in your choo-choo.
Life on Earth is carbon based.
It came here on rocks from outer space and
formed organic compounds till
the carbon-cycle went round and round!
Carbon is a girl’s best friend!
Unlike Rosengarten, Williams doesn't write her own music - she adapts jazz standards and eighties pop songs - but her singing's at least an electron shell above his... (and she doesn't call herself a "chanteuse" for nothing).