Thursday, April 17, 2008

Musical Math

When my students started screaming/singing during class today I told them to save it. We'd be singing later. Today was the day I summoned all that camp counselor energy I never used and made a fool of myself in front of a bunch of kids. Yes, it was quadratic formula day. There's no way around it, the quadratic formula has to be memorized, so the song is the most painless way of learning what really is a pretty ugly equation.

You can sing along too (to the tune of Jingle Bells):
X equals (jingle bells)
Negative b (jingle bells)
Plus or minus radical (jingle all the way)
B-squared minus four a c (oh what fun it is to ride)
All over two (in a one-horse open)
A! (sleigh!)

This was kind of the perfect day to learn the song because they have been driving me crazy for the past week or so by banging beats on the tables, so finally they had a way that we could all agree on for them to get the beats out of their system. I also got a little reminder of how much they all know, like, and care about each other. I had sent N. out of the room earlier in the period (this is the same N. who started and still uses the phrase "What the feasible!"), and when I told the class that we were going to be singing, they insisted that I let N. back in. He is definitely our class clown (in a good way), so they felt it was wrong--and I agreed--to exclude him from this rare instance of teacher-sanctioned silliness.

After we practiced the song a few times, they all complained about how lame it is. I told them (1) if they can come up with something better, I'll give them extra credit and (2) it may be lame, but I guarantee they'll never forget it.

Oh, you thought this post was going to be about the harmonic mean or something like that? No, just a co-opted/corrupted version of Jingle Bells.


Jen of A2eatwrite said...

C's had many a problem with quadratic equations, too. I sang this to him when I read it, and he said, "Now that is just wrong!" But I think I may start singing it in the car (hee, hee, hee!)

He did admit it was hard to get out of your brain. Yay!

SWE said...

Elise: "No, Mom! DON'T sing that sooooong!!!!!!"

I kinda liked it. ;)

Geetha said...

If Jingle Bells doesn't do it for you, there's another common option to "Pop Goes the Weasel"

x equals opposite B (all around the cobber's bench)
Plus or minus square root (the monkey chased the weasel)
B-squared minus 4 A C (the monkey thought was all in fun)
All over 2 A! (pop goes the weasel)

If you really want to start driving your children crazy, there's a podcast that's all math songs, but they're really, really horrible.

Roni said...

Hey, you're that teacher that "sings the weird songs"! Careful, you might just be developing a reputation that you'll have to live up to. :)