It would really be impossible for me to choose a favorite of all of the songs I’ve written. It would be like choosing a favorite child. I have been writing and producing educational science songs for teachers to use in their classrooms since 1998, and have just released my third album in the “Singin’ Songs of Science” series. In truth, each song is my favorite – while I’m writing and recording it – until the next idea comes along.
I grew up in the era of School House Rock, which I suspect inspired my desire to write and produce these types of songs. As a teacher, I’ve been playing my songs in my classroom from the very beginning. It wasn’t until a student suggested I make a cd of them that I even gave it a thought.
I treat each one like the soundtrack for a television commercial for a particular science topic, whether it it’s parts of a cell, the water cycle, a famous scientist, or the solar system.
Of all the songs on the new cd, I think “Roots, a Stem, and Some Leaves” was the most fun to write and record. I love reggae music, and wanted to create a catchy, singable, fun song that helps kids remember the basic parts of a plant. But I wanted to take it further.
Children love the simplicity, the beauty, and the details of nature. And seemingly complex words don’t stop them. Lots of very young children can read and identify the word dinosaur and even Tyrannosaurus Rex, but struggle with far less complex everyday words that don’t have the same magic for them. So I didn’t hesitate to include chlorophyll and photosynthesis, and CO2 in the lyrics:
“It’s not just roots, a stem, and some leaves
There’s a lot more than that a plant really needs
Light and water help you make your own food
But you need chlorophyll and CO2
It’s photosynthesis you do!”
I love how nature and science can bring out the best in kids. Exploring our world is a wonderful and exciting challenge, and I am delighted that so many teachers use my songs to help inspire and encourage these traits in their students.