How Making Music Made Math Cool in this Classroom | Class Act
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How Making Music Made Math Cool in this Classroom | Class Act

-When people think of mathematics, they usually think that math is only in a math textbook. That’s the biggest lie we’re telling our students. Math is in everything that you do, from the time that you wake up to the time you go to bed. The planning things out and changing your plans and budgets and using algebra to find out how long it’s gonna take to save up for something that you want. I’m Robert MacCarthy, and I teach math. The students call me Mr. Mac. [ Soft music plays ] I’ve tried to listen to my students and see what they’re into and assimilate to their culture. What is middle-school culture? It is superheroes. It’s music, art. It is showing who you are through everything you do. So bringing in all these pieces of stuff that they have held on to, and they can show themselves through, it works every time. Everyone put your hand up like this. So, if you put your hand up like that — Mine’s probably gonna look like a “Simpsons” one. [ Laughter ] But I’m gonna add on an extra finger. All right, so, this is basically your song. And when you guys are writing today… The project we’re doing right now is to create some math songs. I brought it into the classroom first doing, like, show-and-tells, just videoing my students doing interesting things. The technology ramped up enough where I could try to make a music video, and it’s never left the classroom after that. I’m gonna pop around to each group. If you want to go outside on the benches, you guys know it’s a green light on the benches. Have fun. Get to your group. Pull out your lyrics. Let’s write some songs! -Algebra’s awesome We’ll show you how… -Oh, we’ll show you how you do it. -Oh. -Other teachers — they’ll just give you a sheet of math to do, and Mr. Mac — he’ll make a whole entire activity about it. He’s pretty awesome. -He makes everything fun, like a game. That really helps us understand how everything works. -[ Chuckles ] He’s un-describable. He’s really great. In math, you have to solve problems. You have to find answers. You have to explore. -Like, last year, I didn’t like it at all, and now he’s actually getting me interested in math. -Our brains work in really mysterious ways. But when you think about it, when you have a chance to use the right side of the brain and the left side of the brain in a math classroom and you’re making something creative, they’re in it. -The space inside all the shapes. -Oh, the space in– That’s perfect. -You know, I tell my students, “You got to learn two things. You got to learn your school, your academics, and then you have to learn how to work with everybody in the classroom. I don’t care how similar or different they look from you. It’s just as important as learning your academics, and you’re gonna go twice as far.” -Do you know the difference between expressions and equations? Equations equal something, and expressions do not. -Grouping, exponents, multiply or divide, add or subtract. It’s easy as pie. Actually, pie’s not a breeze, but once you learn the order of ops, math comes with ease. -I think part of what helped us all bond together was writing the song and having fun writing the song ’cause it was such a creative process that we were all involved in together. -College, college, college, college. -We are putting equations in our song, and basically, we’re sending a message out to people that algebra is not just a boring math thing to learn about. -“D” equals 5×9, yeah. We just want to rhyme all the time, yeah. [ Laughter ] – So, I’ll give you a thumbs-up on that, okay? -What starts with an “A” and ends with an “A”? -After this, since we’ve worked together, we actually learn how to get along. And now we’re just friends. -After the class finishes making all the songs, we have a song-listening party. And students are able to appreciate everyone else’s efforts and the songs that they’ve created. -You’ve gotta add to both sides. Otherwise, the math won’t slide. That’s right. -What time is it? -Algebra time. -What time is it? -Algebra time. -It’s kind of a celebration, actually, because they can all feel good about creating something. -Algebra’s cool. Can’t you see? We do it in math class every week. Whenever I do it, I be feelin’ like a geek. -Yeah! [ Applause ] What group was that? -Four. -Four? That was group four. [ Cheers and applause ] Group two. Are you guys ready to make a music video?! [ Cheers and applause ] All right, everybody else, let’s go this way. Follow me. We’re gonna sit in the dugout next to the rappers. So, you guys are gonna be right here. Can you make an angle to get the sun from there? To there to there? This is geometry 101. -I got a suggestion. -Shine it in his face. It’s gonna be really bright on you, but you just get used to it. -Here, here, here. -Okay, I’m rolling. [ Beat plays ] -What starts with an “A” and ends with an “A”? Algebra. It’s here to stay. -When you start doing and creating things that they’re already way into, and these videos are popping up on their phones and they’re showing each other in their spare time, not in the math classroom — They’re showing some math videos that they’ve made or their friends have made — I think that’s a pretty big impact in shifting math back to being a cool subject, which it always has been. Action! Being a math teacher isn’t really about just teaching math curriculum. It’s about teaching to the whole student to let them have a chance to voice their opinions and tell their story about what’s happening in their lives. Keep going, keep going, keep going. They like the game called education when you can put some fun into it and put your heart behind your lessons. -What starts with an “A” and ends with an “A”? -Algebra! G-E-B-R-A. Algebra! [ Cheers and applause ] -Yes! That’s a wrap, you guys! [ Cheers and applause ] Awesome job! -[ Rapping indistinctly ] Algebra is awesome. We’ll show you how we do it. [ Cheers and applause ] -Enough is enough! Back to your seats, every one of you! -Okay. -Boo!

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87 thoughts on “How Making Music Made Math Cool in this Classroom | Class Act

  1. SO AWESOME! I'm sure so many people would judge this teacher based on his appearance and the way that he talks… but his teaching is more effective than so many other by-the-book teachers!
    Modern School House Rock?

  2. My 6th grade math teacher Ms.Adamo did something similar, she used to bring in her guitar and make songs about motivation and math and stuff like that.

  3. Can he please be my teacher? My class is in desperate need of motivation and the fact that my GCSEs are coming up isn't motivating us….

  4. I'm 16 in Year 10, Just about to hit Senior School and I don't even know my 8 times tables. They hand you a sheet and sit up the front waiting for you to be done. You are an awesome teacher, keep it up!

  5. I love maths, but I hated it at school, it is has only been since I finished that I have realised how cool it is. I love to teach it so that kids understand how interesting it can be like Mr. Mac does, but I don't think I am good enough at it to do so, my mental-arithmetic is still pretty appalling.

  6. The sad thing is, the government makes a strict lessons guideline so it is hard for teachers to try different teaching techniques.

  7. Makes me happy for our future and generations behind me. At the same time, it brings me down when looking at the teachers I had for math.(-_-)

  8. We need more teachers like this. My English teacher was the same way. She changed my life and I thank her all of the time for making learning actually be fun.

  9. I love this. I am about to be an elementary school teacher (I am in my final semester of college) and I am always inspired by teachers doing things in the classroom like this. I want to implement things like this in my class

  10. How does he have the time to do all of this and keep up with the curriculum? That's amazing! I love this style of teaching!

  11. Awww I wish I could've had a teacher like him, when I was younger. The world of teaching needs more teachers like him. Getting the kids out of their comfort zone at a young age is great. He seems like such a humble, and fun guy. Made me happy. 🙂
    He reminded me of Jack Black from that movie School of Rock? lol. Except this is real life. haha

  12. i wish my math teacher was like this but instead i have the kind of math teacher who sits at her desk and does nothing but yell at us

  13. That teacher just pretty much performed a miracle. Getting a whole class excited about math, and having fun while doing it. He gets my vote for teacher of the year, and best teacher beard 2015. Ur killin it Mac! We need more like u.

  14. we need more teachers not necesarily exactly luke him but who can teach and make it stick. we need to put education before entertainment

  15. See? I don't know if I would like this. Mostly all my classes in school try to channel my inner creativity, which lacks often times. The only class that doesn't not require me to answer open-ended questions and come up with my own theories is my math class, which is in many ways is therapeutic for me. Mostly everything in math is definite and allows me to know that there is always an answer that will be right. Math without creativity is relaxing to me and always calms me down in the chaos of creativity.

  16. Mr. Mac was my math teacher in 6th grade and he was the best! It's really awesome that got to be featured on this channel!

  17. yayyyyyy!!!!!!!!!!! I loved algebra, math is soooooo much fun!!!!!!!!!!!!! I'm glad to see a teacher enforcing fun on their students in their classroom!!!

  18. THIS IS MR MAC HERE (from the video):
    1) thanks for watching. so psyched your loving my students' passion!

    2) here are the other 2 videos. worth your time. they're only 2 minutes each.

    what starts with an A and ends with an A?

    base and exponent, that's what makes a power

    Exponentially yours,
    Mr Mac

  19. This is a HUUUUUGE impact on these children. By the way I'm amazed by the kids too, they are so "normal" for their age, they have great attitude. Loved this!

  20. Actually, it's not the government that makes strict guidelines, it's the school districts. The state only has standards that teachers are legally responsible for within their credentialing. It's the school districts that are enforcing unrealistic guidelines and rules that suck the creativity out of the classroom.

  21. WOW! He's awesome! The world needs more teachers like him! You can see his passion, he really loves what he's doing and the kids really like him.I would've loved to have a math teacher like him I bet I would actually like math and be better at it.

  22. Mr. Mac is a Hero to all of us teachers… If all of us could be and teach like this teacher, education would be amazing for all kids!
    Thank you for continuing to light my fire!
    Maybe Mr. Mac would do a TEDtalk? To inspire the world?

  23. If you guys think he's amazing now, you'd be amazed that he was able to do the same (come up with fun activities and made us enjoy learning) with a lot less resources when he was a teacher at Winton Middle School in Hayward, CA. I never forgot about his teaching, his charisma, and how awesome he is. Mr Mac you da man!

  24. I miss awesome teachers with awesome teaching. As a student, I may can start with something to help them :>

  25. My son and I are really interested in watching the music video that the kids made. Where can we find it to watch? You are such an inspiration! Thank you for what you do for the children!

  26. The world needs more teachers willing to explore beyond just the assigned curriculum. It's about stepping out of the comfort zone… That's life!

  27. So AWESOME!!! I LOVE THIS VIDEO AND THE TEACHER!! I need some ideas from you!! Is there anyway I can get into contact with you? The kids are engaged and having so much fun. I will be teaching math this year specifically Algebra. Any ideas will be greatly appreciated

  28. Become a teacher and that's my future job, i couldn't know why i watch this video from beginning to end but my tears just fall down, i'm really happy now :") thank you so much.

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