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I-MRSEC’s Musical Magnetism Curriculum Uses Hip Hop to Teach Science

It’s not your mother’s science class … or music class, for that matter! The goal of I-MRSEC’s “Musical Magnetism” curriculum was to expose Franklin STEAM Academy eighth grade students to materials science and magnetism, but also to another of the center’s main emphases: scientific communication. What’s unique about the lesson plans is that they embraced a medium today’s kids can probably get into: hip hop or rap. So, after a number of Illinois researchers, students, and staff, who also served as role models, had exposed the students to multidisciplinary lessons in several related areas, the kids teamed up to create then present raps about specific areas of magnetism.

The curriculum was the brainchild of Physics Professor Nadya Mason, the PI of the NSF-Funded I-MRSEC (Illinois Materials Research Science and Engineering Center), who explains how the idea for the unique curriculum came about.

“This was an idea that I had to incorporate science and technology into something that was fun and educational for the kids,” she shares, with the goal of helping them “learn without realizing that they were learning.”

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