Music + STEM
In the summer of 2013 I led a "Music + STEM" course for Upward Bound students. The course focused on
the potential role of music in enhancing understanding of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics). Here's the syllabus.
• my assessment of the 2013 course
• UW policy on citing sources and plagiarism
• "Polymerase" as performed by DNA's Child (Jennifer, Brittany, & Darlina)
• optional extra-credit assignment (due 8-2-13)
• final project assignment (due 8-1-13)
• handout for 7-23-13 (early rap lyrics)
• answer key for quiz #2 (7-18-13)
• homework assignment: song analysis (due 7-25-13)
• handout for 7-22-13 (muscle metabolism research to music)
• slides for 7-17-13 (rap and hip hop)
• study guide for open-notes quiz #2
• handout for 7-16-13 (early rock song lyrics)
• handout for 7-15-13 (engineering muscle cells; song parodies)
• handout for 7-11-13 (engineering muscle cells)
• slides for 7-10-13 (early rock)
• handout for 7-9-13 (writing blues)
• handout for 7-8-13 (cells as factories)
• slides for 7-2-13 (the blues)
• answer key for quiz #1 (7-1-13)
• handout for 7-1-13 (amino acid jazz)
• handout for 6-27-13 (information transfer in cells)
Human subjects/consent info
• parental consent form for posting of "Polymerase" video
• student consent/assent form for "Amino Acid Jazz" study
• letter to parents/guardians on "Amino Acid Jazz" study
This course will attempt to address several current challenges in STEM education, as summarized in the table below.
|Students don't see STEM topics as inherently interesting.
||Students pursue specific topics to which they have a personal connection (diseases, sports physiology, alternative energy, virtual reality, etc.). |
|Students find STEM work stressful.
||Immersion in music boosts students’ moods. |
|Students find the language of STEM cold, old-fashioned, and unlike that of their cultures.
||Students “remix” STEM content in musical formats familiar and appealing to them. |
|STEM instruction is inflexible and instructor-driven.
||Students use resources as needed in open-ended development and critiques of STEM music. |
|Students have limited outlets for creativity.
||Students have the guidance, freedom, and time to create original lyrics and music. |
|Students are not motivated by solitary exam-based assessment.
||Students share their work with their peers and communities in person and via social media. |
|STEM topics are taught as collections of facts.
||Songs emphasize iterative hypothesis-driven STEM research. |