A Winnipeg math teacher known for coming up with creative ways of getting kids hooked on numbers has tuned into his inner Weird Al in a new video for his students, who are at home due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Math Guy, a parody of — or, as its creator calls it, an homage to — the song Bad Guy by Billie Eilish, is the creation of Will Penner, a teacher at Arthur Day Middle School.
The video features Penner singing, dancing and rapping through the halls of the school — in an educational way, of course.
“Let’s look at (math) from a different angle and have some fun with it and not just think about it as textbook or worksheet work,” Penner told 680 CJOB.
“Let’s sing a song about it so we memorize some of these terms as well and can place them into real-life situations that we’re in at the present moment.”
Penner, also known as the creator of the math-centric board game Mathopoly, said the Eilish song isn’t something he would normally listen to, but he wanted to keep it relevant for the students.
“This is so out of my comfort zone,” he said.
“I don’t wear hats like that, I don’t rap… but I thought if the kids were going to see their teacher in a different light, this is the way to do it.
“Not too many kids are going to memorize Quiet Riot lyrics.”
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Penner said he filmed the video in a single take because he wasn’t expecting the video to get seen outside of his immediate group of students.
His original Twitter post of the song, though, is sitting at over 2,700 views and counting as of Thursday morning.
Penner said that despite the challenges that come with physical isolation during the pandemic, his school community is staying positive — and it’s not just the students and the teachers.
“For the most part, I think parents have been great,” he said.
“They’ve been very supportive of not only the teachers but the school division and what we’re trying to accomplish for their children.”