The Median’s the Middle and Other Hit Songs

HeydiddlediddleA friend recently shared this with me and I chuckled, thinking a few of the students in my graduate research courses might benefit from it. I considered sharing it with a middle school math teacher friend, but wasn’t sure if it would lead to learning or middle school hysteria. I suppose it could go either way, but the “Hey Diddle Diddle” jingle for learning averages clearly has a big following. It has multiple YouTube versions. Here’s a basic version—one I could not stop humming for hours.

If your students would be better served by an edgier version, try this one.

I’m sure some of you are thinking, “Those are cute, but what do they have to do with supporting students’ creativity? Aren’t these just about learning math content?” Well, yes, but what about the next unit, for which there is no convenient jingle to help remember tricky content? Your students could write one.

Each time your students see two things put together in unexpected ways—in this case math and nursery rhymes—it models creative thinking processes. When they have the chance to do it themselves, they have the chance to practice creativity and content simultaneously. What could be better? Imagine students writing songs for the commutative property, for properties of a parallelogram, or the binomial theorem. Of course the options are not limited to math. Students can devise new ways to remember principles in science or help a historical figure rewrite a familiar tune to suit his or her point of view. Wherever there are rules or facts to be learned, devising creative mnemonics can help students’ learning, and creativity as well. I’d love to hear what your students devise.

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