Reaching students through hip-hop - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Reaching students through hip-hop

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It's an entire semester of high school science boiled down to a beat and rhyme in just under 3 minutes of time.


"It doesn't seem like it goes together and I was honestly, a little skeptical at first, until I saw the kids in action," says Dalewood Middle Assistant Principal Elaine Harper, as New York's Jabari Johnson, the reigning Science Genius champ, shows Chattanooga students how it's done.


"They're maintaining the authenticity while showcasing the fact that they can be brilliant academically and this will help them later on as they can remember those science concepts when they need them on their tests and exams or in life," says Columbia University Professor Doctor Chris Emdin, Thursday night at Chattanooga State. 


Emdin gave birth to this brainchild 3 years ago, marrying his science class with rap.
"These are the same generations, populations that are usually under focused on STEM, science, technology engineering and mathematics, so we say 'hey, they're really, really, really into hip-hop and they don't traditionally do that well in stem.""  So Emdin found the educational bridge through rhyme.


Dalewood Middle's Jamicheal Wilson, one of four members of the school's "Science Genius" team, says the project really resonates with him.
"I already liked science, but when I first heard it, I liked science even better because it makes it more exciting and plus, I'm learning some more stuff when I'm in school finding rhymes, that it's helping me learn more," says Wilson. 


For now, the Science Genius Project has found a home at Brainerd and Howard High Schools, but Dalewood Middle Assistant Principal Elaine Harper sees this as a big educational hit.
"Absolutely, I would love to see it spread to other middle and high schools in Hamilton County, I think once people see it in action, they'll realize how powerful it is," opined Harper, who watched her squad win and punch their ticket for New York City for another rhythmic showdown.


Emdin says besides higher attendance and test scores, graduates of STEM programs earn 26 times more in a lifetime than non STEM graduates.



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