Science in song
Published: 20 March 2020
Throughout history and in most cultures, songs have been used to pass knowledge on. Advertisers use songs to grab attention, create positive associations, and make their messages stick. SciTunes uses the power of song to teach science!
Free resources from SciTunes for home learning activities: songs, videos, worksheets, lyrics & quizzes to help children learn about energy, electric circuits, waves, particle theory, radioactivity & forces for GCSE level. All available on the SciTunes website.
Earlier this month, it was students at Alexandra Park School that were singing their way to science success with SciTunes. Year 9 students enjoyed a high-octane Energy Show from SciTunes founder Jonny Berliner, as he launched five new songs and videos that have been produced following a grant from the Stephen Hawking Foundation.
“We launched a series of music videos and songs online at the end of last year and the supporting resources have been available since January,” explains Jonny. “I now want to encourage teachers and students to use the videos and resources; they are all free and easy to use and support the curriculum in a fun and engaging way. The songs also work as fantastic revision tools for students to listen to at home or when they are out and about.”
“I liked how he explained the equations.”
“I liked the show because we just did the energy topic in science lessons and it helped me remembered what we learnt.”
“I have a background in science comedy nights and science festivals,” explains Jonny. “And I used songs when I was teaching in schools – the children seemed to love them and said they really helped them to learn… SciTunes was born!”
Students and staff at Alexandra Park School, London have been involved with the research, development and evaluation of the SciTunes initiative. Early statistics from the school show that 82% of the students enjoyed the show and 63% want their teachers to use the resources in lessons; and the approach seems to be reaching people who would not normally like science.
“Two hundred and thirty-six Year 9 students are a tough crowd for a one man singing gig, especially at 9am on a wet Tuesday in early March,” says Henry Hammond, Ogden secondary physics lead for the Trust and Director of Science Specialism at APS, who has been working with Jonny.
“This doesn’t faze Jonny Berliner – physics teacher, comedian and the man behind SciTunes. Jonny has been working with us over the last few years using his experience in the physics classroom and his talents as a singer, guitarist and songwriter to make music videos to keep classrooms lively, increase student engagement and make lesson content more memorable.”
“It was an outer body experience and I think I found my hero 10/10 wish he was my dad.”
“To thank APS for the support with the project he performed an interactive demo packed concert for all of our Year 9s. Jonny took our learners on an hour long journey through the key physics topic of energy. This is the GCSE topic year our Year 9s have just completed and one they will need to remember for their Year 11 exams in 2022! These songs, videos and resources are fantastic to bring into the classroom, but also for the children to use at home,” concludes Henry.
SciTunes, under the leadership of Jonny and in partnership with Cosmic Shambles, has produced music videos covering energy, electric circuits, waves, particle theory, radioactivity and forces for GCSE level.
All of the SciTunes songs are available on YouTube and Spotify and there are resources on the SciTunes website to accompany the tunes too: worksheets, lyrics and chords, multiple choice quizzes, karaoke versions of the songs and a list of suggested ways to incorporate the videos into lessons.