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Teacher uses popular music to explain science


Staff writers
January 27, 2013 — Making subjects like science interesting and easy to understand can be a tough challenge for teachers -- but for Christopher Parr, it's second nature.


Mr. Parr has written 132 science-themed songs to date
Mr. Parr has written 132 science-themed songs to date

He set out to make science fun and accessible and became an internet sensation in the process.

With close to 9,000 subcribers and more than 4 million views, Christopher Parr's Youtube channel†is the stuff that a budding scientist's dreams are made of.

Think of him as a classroom-friendly Weird Al Yankovic: Parr uses popular songs to explain complex topics like ocean currents, radioactivity, and gravity, with great success.

So far, his catalogue contains 132 songs. Each one is created in his spare time, with the help of a Mac computer.

"I am a musician as well as a teacher, so integrating music with science just seemed like a natural progression," says Parr, a two-time teacher of the year award recipient.†

"One of the most important benefits of using music in my classroom is musicís ability to aid in the retention and recall of information. In my classroom, a musically rich environment generates student involvement, increases learning, promotes memorization of concepts, and encourages creativity, which provides for a positive learning experience."

You'll learn everything you need to know about thunderstorms by listening to Parr's "Thunderstorms Song"
You'll learn everything you need to know about thunderstorms by listening to Parr's "Thunderstorms Song"

His songs have met the approval of his 6th grade students at Franklin Avenue Middle School in New Jersey -- and his catchy lyrics appear to be sticking.

"On many assessments I often find [them] singing the lyrics to my songs to help them answer questions," he says.†

For Parr, the writing is relatively easy.

Recording them is a different story.

"I perform most of the singing myself, [and] I have to rehearse ... many times to get them right. In fact, my band wonít even let me sing. It is actually funny to me that I am somewhat famous for singing science songs when I canít really sing!"†

Visit Youtube to listen to the rest of Parr's weather songs.

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