Jonny Berliner - science through song

Blog

Opinions and reflections on the dissemination of science from a science troubadour, educator and sci ed researcher.

Posts tagged science songs
Rote Learning Ain't All Bad

A big motivation for the revision songs that I have been writing is the new content heavy GCSE curriculum. There is a lot to remember and for the physics students they now have to remember 20 odd equations. In a meeting with the Institute of Physics a couple of years ago I outlined the benefits of using songs to remember facts such as equations. Their reaction was that they could not support the rote learning of the physics equations. This is sound educational thinking. The equations of physics provide a beautifully simple and consistent description of the universe and when you understand the physics and understand how equations are derived, the ability to remember and use them is far superior to when they have been learned parrot fashion. Since that meeting I have decided to go ahead and write a song that encourages the rote learning of these equations. I have tried to include as much explanation about the derivation of the equations but there are a lot and it would simply be too much for one song, but I decided to write it anyway for two reasons that I will briefly pick apart. The first reason comes from my experience as an educator, namely that rote learning, in a few situations, can actually be useful. The second comes from my conviction that getting GCSE students to learn physics equations is unnecessary and provides students with added stress and if a song can help then why not have one?

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Songs for super science revision

The Easter holidays are nearly over and for year 11 teachers and students this means one thing - revision, revision, revision. It can be a stressful time for teachers, students and their parents and it can be boring for students too. The new GCSE curricula for science are content heavy and students' memories will be stretched to the max. Sitting down and memorising facts is rarely fun but teachers will hopefully make the best of it by designing games and dynamic sessions for students to go over the enormous quantity of material in the short time left. If the sessions are boring then nothing gets remembered. If they are too slow then they run out of time to revise it all. So the challenge for teachers and students is to cram lots of information in without it getting boring. Students quickly tire of making mind maps and teachers struggle to find the time to make great resources but over the past year and a half, since I left the classroom, I have been working on a set of resources that might help! The struggle for parents is keep their kids on track without sounding like a nag.

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