Stanford instructor’s rap videos teach complicated material

Stanford University biologist Tom McFadden has produced six rap videos as a teaching aid for his students, and one of them — "Regulatin’ Genes" — has received more than 50,000 views on YouTube and was featured on a New York Times science blog, reports the San Jose Mercury News. "Ultimately, the videos were just to get the kids excited about the material and make a really fun experience for them," said McFadden, 22. In each video, McFadden parodied a popular hip-hop song, rewriting the lyrics to explain biology’s complicated vocabulary. In "Regulatin’ Genes," he used Jay-Z’s "Money Ain’t a Thang" to discuss transcription factors, the proteins inside a cell that turn genes on and off. "The songs are incredibly clever," said Margaret Fuller, a Stanford biology professor. "Fitting in with the rhymes and the poetry and the rhythms, there are real scientific facts."

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