Thanks to #mathscpdchat I discovered this video and it came at just the right time as I was doing trigonometry with my year 10 class. They are an awesome group of pupils with such a mixture of different personalities. Their targets are Cs and Bs and most of them are on track, but they are a class for whom maths does not come naturally and, for many of them, it has never been their favourite subject.
All year I have been using maths songs to help them remember important formulae, such as the circle song, the area of a trapezium song, my cube number song (that I made up when I was 13, what a cool kid!) and one they got me to make up on the spot about stratified sampling to help them remember the definition (I’ve started taking requests!).
So, when they saw Gettin Triggy Wit It, their immediate response was “Miss, that was so good, can we make one?”. In that moment, I had to make a quick decision.
1. They could just be wanting to ‘waste time’ in making a video instead of doing more trigonometry…
2. They really loved that maths video and we already do maths songs, they want to make something ABOUT MATHS that cool that they can be proud of.
So I said, “Yes, yes we can!”
Next lesson, we split into three groups in order to come up with lyrics for three songs. The first, Y=MX+C to the tune of YMCA, is finished, I’m just waiting for the last 2 parental permission notes to come in before we go global (youtube). The second, about Pythagoras to the tune of Do Wah Diddy, is in the editing stage and the third, Transformations to the Cha Cha Slide has lyrics but filming may not happen as it was a little sketchy.
In total, we spend four lessons making the videos, plus about four hours of my own time editing (that’s one video’s worth of editing so far). Was it a valuable use of class time? You could argue it both ways. It is true that they did not spend those lessons practising mathematical skills or learning new content. For me, though, a big part of teaching Maths is about rapport, between pupil and teacher and between pupil and subject. (So much so, that I wrote my PGCE final masters level essay on Teacher-Pupil Relationships and their effect on learning). I knew that the process of making a maths music video would have a massively positive effect on their view of maths (for the right reasons? Not sure).
The amount of time I spent editing the first video was massively appreciated by them and, when I showed the video in class, it received a round of applause from them, plus a sea of excited, proud and pretty chuffed faces.
Amazing maths? No. Worthwhile lesson? In my opinion… totally.You can now find our maths music videos at https://vimeo.com/mrsmartinmaths/videos or http://www.youtube.com/user/MrsMartinMaths/videos (the Vimeo link is the best quality).