Wu-Tang Is For The Children! The GZA Stops By A 9th Grade Class To Talk About Science
I feel bad for any students who skipped out of science class this day, because kids in Ms. McDaniel’s class at New York’s Park East High School had a very special guest star show up to talk to them about science, none other than the GZA from the Wu-Tang Clan. Why couldn’t cool stuff like this ever happen when I was in school? GZA has teamed up with Columbia University Teachers College professor Christopher Emdin and ten New York City public schools to use hip-hop to teach everything from biology to physics. The program, called Science Genius B.A.T.T.L.E.S. ( Bring Attention to Transforming Teaching, Learning and Engagement in Science) hopes the curriculum will raise low test scores among students. From PBS.org:
“This is a response to achievement gaps in science and mathematics,” Emdin said. “It is a response to students’ disinterest in science, and more broadly to kids just not wanting to show up in school.”
I can totally see this, because I know my own son would be super angry if he missed Wu-Tang day at school. The GZA has an upcoming solo album releasing soon called Dark Matter, which is all about science and the universe. He recently told The Wall Street Journal:
Still, he believes that “Dark Matter” will tap into the innate curiosity of listeners—even those with no outward interest in science.
“I don’t think people have ever really been in touch with science,” he said. “They’re drawn to it, but they don’t know why they’re drawn to it. For example, you may be blown away by the structure of something, like a soccer ball or a geodesic dome, with its hexagonal shapes. Or how you can take a strand of hair and can get someone’s whole drug history. They’re different forms of science, but it’s still science.”
And he is also planning another album all about the oceans and has been going to the labs of marine biologists and researchers, as well as meetings with the likes of Philippe Cousteau, and already has interest from some college professers who would like him to visit their classrooms as well.
Emdim has graduate students from Teacher’s College work with the students on their science raps, and they must rhyme. Then the students have a massive rap battle judged by the GZA and the winner gets published on a rap music website.