The Sodium Jeer
by Greg Crowther
This jingle -- devoted to the point that sodium is primarily an extracellular ion -- was originally written for Biology 220 at the University of Washington.
If a course covers the so-called "funny current" that depolarizes cardiac pacemaker cells, an additional verse can be added: "Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha! Sodium CAN get in!" In this case, "Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha" is a mnemonic device representing the funny current.
Na Na Na Na Na Na!
Sodium can't get in!
• MP3 (demo)
• sheet music (with melody play-back)
Songs like this one can be used during class meetings and/or in homework assignments. Either way, the song will be most impactful if students DO something with it, as opposed to just listening.
An initial, simple follow-up activity could be to answer the study questions below. A more extensive interaction with the song might entail (A) learning to sing it, using an audio file and/or sheet music as a guide, and/or (B) illustrating it with pictures, bodily poses, and/or bodily movements. The latter activity could begin with students identifying the most important or most challenging content of the song, and deciding how to illustrate that particular content.
(1) What is the chemical symbol for sodium?
(2) At the cellular level, what can sodium not get into? Why not?
(3) Is the sodium concentration higher outside cells or inside cells?
(Answers may be found on the answers page.)