She may not have a Magic School Bus that can shrink and go inside the human body, but she might as well go by the name Ms. Frizzle for shizzle.
That’s because Kristin Chavis, a high school biology teacher in Shreveport, La., is finding clever ways akin to the popular children’s television show to get her students interested in science.
“The old way of learning is out, it’s outdated,” Chavis told KSLA.
To freshen up her course, Chavis has introduced cadence of the labium superius oris, otherwise known as rapping, to help connect with her young students.
“You have to be able to relate to kids, you have to be able to relate to where they are,” Chavis said.
The idea to begin rhyming about ribosomes and other features of the human anatomy came about a year ago when she was assigned a new class of students who needed to learn an entire year’s worth of curriculum in just three months.
One night as she pondered how she would get through all the lessons, a beat began pumping in her head to the words “circulatory system, circula-circulatory system.”
That led Chavis to draft an entire lesson plan in the form of a rap.
“Prokaryotic cells, eukaryotic cells, floating DNA no membrane bound organelles,” Chavis rapped.
Fortunately for Chavis, the idea worked and her pupils became engaged.
“Before the songs, I would probably have that one student that you know would go ahead and answer those questions, every teacher has that one person that’s just going to answer. But after the song, I have at least 95 per cent of the kids screaming the answer out at me,” said Chavis.
The excitement for her lipid lessons motivated to carry her new-found flow into this year’s courses.
WATCH: Kristin Chavis’ rap video for ‘School You In Biology’
“If I come in any other classes, I either go to sleep or I don’t listen, and drown the teacher out,” said student Ebony Reliford. “But in Ms. Chavis’ class, she breaks it down for us to understand.”
“When the song come on I feel alive and all that, I’ll be just going crazy feeling fine,” Tony Johns, another of Chavis’ students, said.
Chavis says it take only 10 minutes for students to pick up her lessons.
“It’s all repetitive, it’s all soaking in,” said Chavis. “They’re learning, passively, but intentionally. And that’s what makes the difference.”
“When you don’t like something, it’s boring and you don’t pay much attention to it, but with a teacher like Ms. Chavis makes it fun, it makes it easier to learn,” said Johns.
Chavis has posted her verses on her YouTube page in hopes other teachers will use her Organ System Mixtape to reach students through rap.