There are many ways to liven up science lessons. Personally, I’m a fan of music and there are lots of excellent chemistry and science related songs out there. Here are a few of my favourites (in no particular order).
Chemistry song 1: The Elements by Tom Lehrer
Where else could I possibly start? Set to the music of The Major-General song from the Gilbert and Sullivan musical The Pirates of Penzance, Lehrer names the elements. That’s it. So simple, so brilliant. Lehrer is an excellent satirical song writer and his other work is well worth listening to.
There are many versions of this song on youtube. I’m a particular fan of Mike Stanfill’s version. You can find other examples of Mike’s work at his website www.privatehand.com.
Chemistry song 2: The chemical bonds song by Mr. Edmonds (a parody of Dancing Queen by ABBA)
Bonding is a topic that even the brightest chemistry students struggle with. Many years ago I was racking my brains (and the internet) for ways to make this subject more accessible and I stumbled across this little gem. I’ve never stopped using it since. It takes a lot of nerve to post this on the internet and teach kids at school the next day. Mr. Edmonds, Sir, I salute you. Click the link here to view more of his work.
Chemistry song 3: I heart electron config by Mark Rosengarten
And from one musical science teacher to another. New Y12 Chemistry students feel very put out the first time they discover that they were not told the whole truth about electron configuration at GCSE. I have had the accusation, “so, basically you’ve been lying to us” levelled at me on more than one occasion. Well what better way of introducing the existence of orbitals and sub-levels than with this masterpiece by Mark. Sir, I salute you as well. Links to his other songs can be found here.
Chemistry song 4: Molar eclipse of the heart – full credits at the end of the clip
Another concept that students can find challenging is the mole. Once again, I wouldn’t be doing my job if I didn’t look for new and innovative ways of making this fundamental concept of chemistry accessible to my students, but I have to give the credit to my colleague Mrs. Maskell for bring this delightful parody of Total Eclipse of the Heart by Bonnie Tyler to my attention. “You will love this” she said. She knows me all too well.
Chemistry song 5: All about that base by acapellascience2 (the second of the noble acapellascience clan)
I’m not sure what I like best about this parody of “All about that bass” by Meghan Trainor. Is it the excellent singing, the terrific guitar work, the synchronised dance moves (which much have taken ages to get right) or the inventive lyrics. I’ll let you decide.
Chemistry song 6: The Laws of Thermodynamics by Flanders and Swann
This is a nice introduction to thermodynamics, particularly the concept of entropy in A Level Chemistry. It is performed by the late double-act Flanders and Swann who performed their music between the mid 50’s and 60’s. They don’t make them like this anymore!
Chemistry song 7: Meet the Elements by They Might be Giants
I’ve been a fan of this band since they released “Birdhouse in your soul” back in 1990. This song is from the album “Here comes science” an album dedicated to science songs for kids. What’s not to like?
Chemistry song 8: Foil by Weird Al Yankovic
Okay, full disclosure, I love the work of Weird Al. The link to chemistry here is perhaps a little tenuous, although the virtues of aluminium (not aluminum) foil are extolled in style in this parody of “Royals” by Lorde. He is the King of parody songs and if you’ve never heard of him before then check out his other work here.
I hope you’ve enjoyed these. If you know of any other good science related songs out there then please let me know.