This is an exciting time to be a science educator
I'm in my sixth year teaching 8th grade biology at The Nueva School and my 10th year making science music videos. In 2016 I was able to launch "Science With Tom" LLC - thanks to funding from New Schools Venture Fund & 4.0 Schools - in order to develop videos, lessons, and tools that help every teacher unleash the creative genius of their rockstar students.
Here's how this all started.
I began making science music videos while working as a Course Associate in the Human Biology program at Stanford.
I was lucky enough to get a Fulbright scholarship to study in New Zealand, leading to a "Masters of Science Communication." During my two years in Aotearoa, I created a new generation of videos, wrote a thesis on the impact of using music video in the classroom, and went on a New Zealand-wide school tour to promote "Science Idol."
Upon returning to California, I used what I learned in my masters program to help Bay Area students create a series of "Science History Battle Raps" (thanks to a grant from Hewlett Packard and a successful Kickstarter campaign).
As a middle school science teacher at Nueva, I'm getting on-the-ground training in constructivist education, and fleshing out my "Science Rap Academy" curriculum (where students research, write, and produce their own videos).
I'm also getting the chance to learn the best practices in science education, and to experiment with implementation of the Next Generation Science Standards.
The launch of "Science With Tom", an NGSS-inspired YouTube show, was a huge next step. The goal was to bring charismatic, diverse, young scientists into science classrooms around the world - linking basic introductory concepts to cutting edge research. Each of the four episodes featured a summary music video with the second verse missing so that students could write their own "Verse Two."
The current phase of Science With Tom is all about lowering the barriers to entry for teachers and students to use lyrics, music, and video to create. Some of the projects we've got in the works include a new set of "Verse Two"-ready songs, an app to help practice freestyling around core content, and a series of rhyming quizzes that allow teachers to review content in a super engaging way. If you want to stay up on these new tools when they launch, make sure to sign up for the Science With Tom Newsletter. And if you want to be a beta-tester, sign up here!