Using music to engage students in science

My Year 8s are currently learning about the periodic table. The periodic table is often not the most exciting thing for middle school students. A few months ago one of my students sent me a YouTube link to a song about the periodic table so I thought I’d use it in class to introduce the periodic table in a more interesting way.

The class absolutely loved it! Much more than I thought. When I played the video the first time, a student found some laminated periodic tables on my desk and started handing them out to everyone so they can look at the periodic table while following the song. I have never seen a 13 year old voluntarily getting a periodic table and spending 10 minutes just looking at it (they kept replaying the song as some of them set themselves the goal of learning the lyrics). This is a short video of how the class engaged with the song. (I had to place a visual effect over the video to protect student identities)

After the song, we did the usual worksheets where students look for the symbols of common elements, etc.

I often receive comments that using songs like these trivializes the science and perhaps “wastes” learning time. But I’d rather spend 20 minutes with this song and have students engaged and interested.

One thought on “Using music to engage students in science

  1. The day I saw that song was the day I wished that I was a science teacher. Glad to see my belief that it would work well in class confirmed.

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