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ERIC Number: EJ1059670
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015-Apr
Pages: 3
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 4
ISSN: ISSN-0025-5769
Using Repetition to Make Ideas Stick
Lykins, Alicia N.
Mathematics Teacher, v108 n8 p622-625 Apr 2015
In elementary school, the use of repetitive songs to help children remember concepts is commonplace and is usually very effective. Unfortunately for many students, this strategy is generally not used in later grades. A group of mathematics teachers at Westerville South High School in Westerville, Ohio, have taken this approach to a new creative level. These teachers have created a group of math rap videos on YouTube™, set to current rap music hits. The raps teach concepts such as graphing linear equations, solving systems of equations, rules of exponents, solving quadratic equations, trigonometry, and factoring quadratic equations. They are extremely catchy and have a chorus that repeats. The repetitive nature of the lyrics, in addition to the fact that students can listen to the raps over and over again while working on homework or needing some help, then becomes a way to help remember basic concepts that can be built upon as understanding grows. Research acknowledges that repetition is truly a valuable teaching strategy. But there were some key components that would ensure that this repetition would result in not just a short-term memory but also a long-term memory that could be retrieved; new information could then be "hooked" to it. These include: (1) Focus; (2) Creativity; and (3) Practice. The key seems to be that the information that is being repeated is as focused and simple as possible so that students are not overloaded with unnecessary information. Alicia Lykins shares her experiences and tips using raps to teach mathematics concepts at her school.
National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. 1906 Association Drive, Reston, VA 20191-1502. Tel: 800-235-7566; Tel: 703-620-3702; Fax: 703-476-2970; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Secondary Education
Audience: Teachers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Ohio