Scott: It is another Tuesday morning in Ms. McDaniel’s science class at New York’s Park East High School. Ninth-graders are learning about reproductive science by rapping in class. It is a new program that uses hip-hop to teach science in ten New York public schools, and was started by Dr. Chris Emdin of Columbia University’s Teachers College.
Dr. Christopher Emdin: The people who most embrace hip-hop culture are the same populations that are most disinterested in schools and disinterested in science.
Scott: Dr. Emdin was searching for a way to reach minority students. So, he turned to award-winning hip-hop artist GZA of the Wu-Tang Clan. Although he dropped out of school in the 10th grade, GZA says it was his passion for science that he wanted to share with the students in the program.
GZA: The goal is just to, you know, awaken the children. Just make them more aware and embrace science and everything else connected to it.
Scott: Fourteen-year-old Ryan Rivera says hip-hop has changed the way he learns.
Ryan Rivera: You are looking at the rhymes, and there is something hidden in there that you find. And it helps you learn.
Scott: Across the country, the latest study of high school seniors shows Asians had the best average test scores in science. Latino and black students had the lowest. Emdin wants to change that by growing the program.
Dr. Emdin: To me, the markers of success are the students who see themselves as scientists, who are having conversations about science.
Scott: Using the students’ love of music to help them discover science one rhyme at a time.
- Why does Dr. Emdin believe rapping is an effective learning tool?
- What kinds of learning tools have worked best for you?