What To Do About Math Songs And Math Lessons
All of the recent songs by rap artist Kendrick Lamar mention math, saying “somethin’ / is made of math” (Skrt-Skrt-Skrt, I did it, I did it) and even rapping that he’s starting his homework from page 1 (spaceship, you read it here first). This school year has also seen continued interest in schools and museums promoting math awareness through such approaches as Think Math, by NCSE and Lego. Whether or not math educators, parents, or schools (and schools that really have them) remain at the forefront of offering such material, I hope that the trend continues.
Like everything else in life, mathematics today comes in different flavors and flavors vary depending on the audience that it is intended for. Popular song lyrics depict of what mathematics really is: a challenging chore that must be repeated over and over again until finally mastered and mastered with surprising ease, “It seems like everything is made of math. If you don’t do it, it’s only a matter of time until you do it / Here’s one more time to do your work / . . . Every time you do some work, you do get a pattern!” (The Lord, I’m done with my homework. Now when will you do your math? / I’m tired of working / I’m sick of it.”)
Many learning and teaching strategies benefit from a wider cultural understanding of mathematics, so schools and even whole curricula need to pay greater attention to the ways that mathematics can cross boundaries into other media, including song lyrics. This can start with considering incorporating a variety of musical resources, as seen in the following examples.
Most of the Sims games introduce educational mathematics themes right from the start. In the Sims 2 series, such topics as counting is specific, as is their use of the word vectors. The first game even contains a trial-and-error mathematics mode.
The Sims 3 game series expands upon these directions by introducing chapter-themed mathematics and using an integrated maths lesson model. The Sims 3: Mom, Lizzie, and Me special mission, for example, is designed to integrate mathematics lessons around the theme of creativity, which is linked to the song option for “Chalkboard Math”.
The Sims games, of course, have their history of literacy-enhancing mathematical titles. Also, the Sims games have received downloads on the third edition of the Sims 3 release. Take, for example, the world language, Math, which is built onto the world city Lego city city set. The full text of the song lyric is set against an animated diagram of Manhattan displaying squares of intersections for zoning purposes.
The song “Multiverse” by Jay-Z, in which the title appears more than 10 times, shows that musical knowledge is a universal knowledge. The song title contains various mathematics terms, but the lyrics are more commonly associated with equations, such as “everybody knows geometry (pretty girl)” and with statistics, such as “but people are always curious when the dividing would be decimals”.
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