Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Quadratic Formula Rap

If there's one thing my students learn by the end of the year and actually still remember in later years, it's the quadratic formula.  The class where I introduce the formula goes down like this:  First I tell them about the quadratic formula in a traditional way. I explain that now with the QF we can solve any quadratic equation, and do it much easier than we could with completing the square.  I show them how to use it and they solve a couple quadratics themselves.  I then tell them that for homework they have to memorize the quadratic formula overnight and there will be a quiz on it at the beginning of next class.(This is not my usual style)  I always receive a chorus of groans.  "But!" I interject "It will be much easier than you think.  I've gotten someone to come in and help you all with this, let me go get him."  I go into the hallway, put my tie around my head, half untuck my shirt and start a live performance of this. (my rapping name is SweenDawg, of course)

The live performance helps make it really fun for them, and I would highly suggest doing it if you decide to use a rap in your classroom.  Any time I do a song in class (there are others) I typically do one "live" and then have a recording so I can play it for the kids multiple times and in later classes to help it stick in their memories.  Now I realize this is not the most groundbreaking or new idea, but I want to stress its effectiveness and fun.  The kids who have been generally uninterested throughout the year usually love this lesson the most and really get into it.  Not only that, but I work in a small school and when I have students in later years they almost always remember how to solve quadratics without any prompting... or maybe just an "op-op-op" to get them started.

I also tend to plug the idea of making their own strategies when they have to memorize something, and how making a song is just one example of a memorization technique.

Shoutout to Mr. Mellor for helping lay down the track.

Have your own fun song that you like to do with your students?  Tell me about it!


  1. You can sing the QF to "Jingle Bells", just remember to end with "...AAAAaallll over 2 A!"

  2. I'm just discovering this new e-world of teachers. I love your m&m idea and hope to get a chance to use it later this year.

    I've always sung this to "Pop Goes The Weasle" and just add the sign language for it while I sing it.

    I also started a blog recently. It hasnt built up to much yet though:

    Can't wait to hear more lessons, especially as Calculus gets into high gear!

  3. I wrote some lyrics on slope to Flo-Rida's "Low." To the tune of the chorus...

    The difference of the y and the difference of the x
    Also known as rise over run
    Divide the two
    And then reduce
    Then you got slope, slope, slope, slope

    I have yet to find any boots with the fur to wear while I sing it.

  4. Andrew, that sounds pretty awesome. I might have to try that!

  5. I'm in love with that slope song! I'm going to be so gangsta this year. Gangsta with an 'a' makes it official!

  6. Andrew, I'm also in love with the slope song! I think it's great! I don't think I could sing it with a straight face, though...

  7. p.s. Mr. and I teach the exact same courses...I really need to steal more ideas from you *smile*, and maybe share some of my own

  8. The face is nothing compared to the students' faces. But hearing them sing it in the hall is the best.

  9. Hi. A song that I created for introducing the concept and characteristics of quadratics went with the Justin Timberlake song "I'm brining Sexy Back" Instead I sing, "I bringing quadratics back...yep...that non-linear family knows how to act...yep, make an x/y chart and you'll be really smart...yep.

    On the graph...the shape looks like a little laugh...upside down and its a frown, and only quadratics has an x squared.

    Make and x/y chart, graph and be going, substitue x, graph and be going, find the y values, graph and be going, see the parabola... not the "para bola".

    Goofy I know, but kids always come back and tell me about how they remember that song so well. Just thought I would share... I have audio somewhere.

    I am going to try your dance steps to equations tomorrow!!

    Kelly D
    Algebra I

  10. Your song sounds fun, Kelly! Let me know how the dance steps work, that's definitely one of my favorites.

  11. Quadratics in the USA:

    More entertainment than mnemonic, but it was fun and the kids now have a positive memory associated with the quadratic formula. Plus I love dancing for them.

  12. It's not a song, but my Quad Formula reminder goes like this...
    "A negative boy couldn't decide whether or not to go to the radical party. The square boy missed out on four awesome chicks and it was all over by 2am."
    I get a kick out of hearing them ask each other "How many awesome chicks were there? When was the party over?" :D

  13. I domt know you but my schools qudratic equation song is
    Do 2a hang low under negative b
    Plus or minus square root
    B squared minus 4ac
    If you practice this quadratic
    You will know it automatic
    Do 2a hang low

    From Marcus
    Cooley middle school