Science + Music, the Science Rap Academy

Students research, write, and produce their own science music videos; substituting words from their favorite songs with lyrics they write.

Photo of Tom McFadden
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In my Rap Science Academy, students substitute the words of their favorite songs with lyrics they write themselves based on science topics we study. We take it one step further, planning, filming, and editing videos to accompany our songs, as well.

Last year, students made ‘Hubble’ in honor of the Hubble telescope’s 25-year anniversary. Check it out on my YouTube channel ( along with my Next Generation Science Standards-inspired show, "Science With Tom.”  I hope that teachers find the show useful, that students find it entertaining, and all viewers are sparked to participate by writing their own "Verse Twos," asking questions of the scientists in the comments, and subscribing to the YouTube channel.  Most importantly, I hope it can supplement a science teacher's current curriculum and inspire curiosity.

How does this idea help to spark student curiosity?

There are so many ways for students to find their own way to shine. From writing lyrics to thinking of new topics to rap about, editing video to finding images, students represent what they learn in ways that excite them most.

What grade level is this idea most appropriate for?

  • Middle School (5-8)


Join the conversation:

Photo of Cole

Hi Tom,
I know teachers have also created rap videos here at The Nueva School in classes across the disciplines and they are always incredibly galvanizing in terms of collecting, organizing and transmitting information. Have you found that your students have greater recall with information they worded into a rap.
I also want to note that I appreciate your exchange with Dan below -- I think it is amazing that you also use this exercise as an opportunity to discuss cultural appropriation.

Photo of Tom

Hi Cole,

Thanks! My hunch is that song-writing does aid recall, though I'd love to conduct a study to see how far that really goes in terms of depth of understanding and duration of memory aid (years? decades?). I know that the popularity of the videos among student's peers definitely aids in teaching. For example, every kid for several grades knew all of the words to "That's Metal" ( when it came out. And I guarantee that every one of them could tell you that metals are shiny, malleable, and have something to do with loosely held electrons. The more interesting question to me is whether the writing process aids with depth of conceptual understanding. I find that this is the case if the videos are used in the context of a class where students are delving deep into the material.

Thanks again for the note!


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