Having been inspired by a few dedicated and talented teachers who are using music to illustrate concepts in their subject, I stumbled across a Biology teacher singing a song about photosynthesis. I emailed him and he very kindly sent me the lyrics and chords to a song entitled ‘I need a little light’.
My first mission was to learn to play guitar, not that I can sing either.
In the end the song was a success and thankfully the pupils’ voices drowned out mines and a few wrong chords too. The positive response from my class left me searching for another opportunity to recreate what I first thought was a chance to enthuse and enlighten pupils on the process of photosynthesis.
A few weeks later, after studying the chemistry of respiration and attempting to facilitate a class play, one group started to struggle. At this point I suggested they write a song- why not? With no further input from me they had written their very own song to the tune of Carly Rae Jepsen’s ‘Call Me Maybe’.
The group were particularly proud of their efforts now all that was left to do was perform. During ‘rehearsals’ a few of the ‘bands’ curious classmates started to get involved and before I knew it the song was being sung by 18 higher pupils and the tune played by a guitarist much more talented than me.
Both groups of pupils, those who performed a fantastic play and those who had written the song had successfully shown competence at almost every level in Bloom’s Taxonomy. However, more importantly these young Biologists have not only developed a deep understanding of respiration but have written a new narrative through their imaginative and collaborative approaches.
This is only one example of how an outcome can be achieved if the focus is on the experience and not the assessment, as illustrated further by Neil Winton in his post CfE: using the E & Os.