It's Science!

by John Riggio

John Riggio's offering in this issue of Music K-8 once again enters into the realm of whole language. This time the subject is science. It shouldn't be too tough to get your classroom science teacher excited about this one. (Besides, as demonstrating the value of your music program goes, reinforcement of other subjects is always a smart thing to do.)

This great song is going to be a favorite with your kids as soon as they hear it on the Performance/Accompaniment cassette. Not only is it written in a contemporary rock style, it's got cool lyrics and terrific sound effects. It's mostly unison, repetitive enough to learn quickly and only goes into two parts at the end. But even then, the two parts are logical and easy to learn.

As with most of the rock songs we publish, we suggest that you use the cassette for the best results. The rhythm section, which includes multiple electric guitar and synthesizer sounds, makes the song really cook. The best parts, though, are the sound effects. John has painstakingly added a variety of effects of a scientific nature (for the most part...) to add humor and fun to the tune. You will want to listen to side two of the tape just to be sure your kids hear them all. They make more sense in the full performance version, however, because they are presented in context. For your reference, they are labeled on the piano/vocal score.

The vocal style is meant to be belted out. Don't expect your students to produce a "pure" vocal tone. You'll ruin their fun. Let them listen to the voices on the cassette and sing along with the same comfort and natural inflection.

There are several words in the lyrics that may require further exploration. They are:

  • vector - a quantity that has magnitude and direction (For our purposes, it's the speed and direction a bowling ball travels to hit the pins: that is "pick up the spare.")
  • summarize - to make a summary, covering the main points of a topic succinctly
  • surmise - to conjecture; guess
  • theorize - to conceptualize or analyze theories (general principles formulated to account for certain observable phenomena)
  • ionize - to convert completely or partially into ions (atoms or molecules that have acquired a net electric charge by gaining or losing electrons from a neutral configuration; e.g., air is ionized when lightning strikes)
  • oxidize - to combine with oxygen (When a gas burns, as in a gas stove, the flame is the self-sustaining chemical reaction of rapid oxidization.)

For more ideas on integrating science and music, refer to the article on pages 60 and 61. And don't forget that there are special Student Cassettes available for this tune. (See the flyer in this issue for full details on these great motivational tools.)

Text is taken from Music K-8 magazine.