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A musical approach to learning

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Rhythmic beats and creative lyrics make up the right teaching formula for William Boyles at West Charlotte High School.

In addition to books and study materials, Boyles uses a keyboard, microphone and music box to teach physical science.

Starting with the first day of school, his students learned rap songs about science.  He also created a 15-song CD with information that will prepare students for end-of-curse exams.

Today at 2:30 p.m., nearly 80 students will receive a copy of the disc and perform three songs for parents and school staff.

“It’s working for them,” Boyles said in a recent CMS media statement.  “Hip-hop is their culture and they can relate to it.”

Boyles, who has been teaching at West Charlotte for four years, didn’t start out using hip-hop to teach.  But when he started a hip-hop club at the school to help students learn about music production, they wanted to use music to learn science.

“I love music, so this style of learning helps me to understand the work,” said 11th-grader Deja Garlin.  “We’re having fun and learning all at the same time.”

Boyles says the songs help students retain information about equations, formulas, definitions and theories.  One song called “Density” is a class favorite. Once the song starts, the students clap, dance and recite lyrics about volume, matter and weight.

“These songs are content-specific,” said Boyles.  “As I taught a lesson, I created a song.”

Last year, nearly 80 percent of Boyles’ students passed end-of-course tests, CMS officials said.

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October 8, 2015
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