Vaughan math and physics teacher uses rap to help students learn

Math and physics teacher at Vaughan high school teaches through music
WATCH ABOVE: Drorit Weiss a math and physics teacher at The Hill Academy in Vaughan. Her untraditional teaching methods stem from her belief that students will reach new heights of success and engage on a deeper level when they're having fun. Susan Hay has a story.

Drorit Weiss teaches Grade 12 math and physics at The Hill Academy in Vaughan, Ont.

Her teaching methods are a little bit different from most. Instead of delivering her math lessons the ordinary way, Weiss raps to her students, a technique that former student Kristin Della Rovere says is effective in getting the point across.

“Ms. Weiss is different in that she keeps you engaged through singing and dancing because she really wants you to learn,” Della Rovere said. “Ms. Weiss gets you thinking about math in different ways that you maybe never thought of before.”

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The Hill Academy teacher agrees, saying that her students will reach higher degrees of success and engage on a deeper level when they’re having fun.

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“I remember struggling in math when I was young, and it’s something that I never really connected to until I took it in university,” said Weiss.

Della Rovere, now in her first year at Harvard University, attributes her success today with her former teacher’s unconventional teaching methods.

“Her style of teaching definitely helped me learn,” said Della Rovere. “I never enjoyed math, but it was definitely something that I needed, and Ms. Weiss definitely got me interested in it, got me learning it and got me loving math.”

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Weiss’ computer science background makes her a strong supporter of technology and creativity, especially when it comes to teaching.

“We’re using an educational model that dates back 100 years, and it isn’t working for most students,” she said.

Weiss says that making things more accessible and fun takes the intimidation out of math, making it an effective tool.

“At The Hill Academy, all the students are athletes so they’re on the road a lot,” said Weiss. “I use something called a ‘flipped classroom.’ I have a separate YouTube channel where I screencast  my lessons, and they’re able to watch it and go through lessons that are more intense. That’s kind of how I got the idea to do the rap because I’ve been doing the flipped classrooms.”

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Weiss says she hopes to inspire students with her rap lessons.

“ I want to bring math alive in my class,” Weiss said. “You can combine math and creativity and make it really fun and exciting, and I think that’s what inspires students.”