http://www.tranquility.net/~scimusic/curriculum.html Curriculum Notes

Curriculum Notes: Using Songs in Science Classes

Sometimes just playing a song from a tape in science class is not enough. In fact, the point is not for Dr. Chordate (or any of the other science educators/musicians whose music is offered for sale at this site) to write all the songs. Teachers need to get their students actively, creatively involved in their own education.

Suggestions for doing that include having students write their own songs (or stories, or poems, or series of cartoons, or play). One of Dr. Chordate's songs, Furrier Than Thou (see below), lends itself well to this sort of activity. Furrier Than Thou extols the virtues of mammals over other kinds of creatures; mammals, of course, being far superior by virtue of their hair.

FURRIER THAN THOU

by Jeffrey B. Moran, copyright 1995

There's many animals in this world we share.
But not a lot of them can say that they have got some hair.
Every animal's unique in its own special way.
But if you are a mammal, you've got the hair to say:
I'm furrier than thou. I'm furrier than thou.
Other creatures have other features, but I'm furrier than thou.

You come 'round and flaunt your feathers right up into my face.
You got wings and hollow bones and fly all o'er the place.
You've got a gizzard and a bursa, a syrinx in your throat.
I don't care, you've got no hair for a natural fur coat.
I ain't got no feathers. I ain't got a beak.
My aorta doesn't arch to the right.
But I've got hair to spare, yes, I've got hair, it's what I wear.
It's what I wear to keep me warm at night.
And I'm furrier than thou. I'm furrier than thou.
I may not fly around the sky, but I'm furrier than thou.

You've got dry skin covered with scales and slither over the ground.
Your nose is no good, you smell with your toungue, just flicking it around.
You got no arms and got no legs, but you constrict and squeeze.
I don't care, you've got no hair providing homes for fleas.
I ain't got no scales. I don't lay no eggs.
I ain't got no ugly unhinged lower jaws.
But I've got hair to spare, yes, I've got hair, it's what I wear.
I wear it all the way down to my paws.
And I'm furrier than thou. I'm furrier than thou.
Now you can stare at all my hair 'cause I'm furrier than thou.

You've got moist skin and it's slimy 'cause you got lots of glands.
And when you sing, just look at how your little throat expands.
Your little babies are tadpoles that squiggle in a pond.
I don't care 'cause I've got hair of which I am quite fond.
I ain't got a nose running in my mouth.
I ain't got cold blood, I'm not chilly all the time.
But I've got hair to spare, yes, I've got hair, it's what I wear.
It's my hair that enables me to swear . . .
I'm furrier than thou. I'm furrier than thou.
You're in the met--amorphose set, but I'm furrier than thou.

You stay in water all day long just swimming with your fins.
You got a swim bladder for bouyancy and scales outside your skin.
You got a lateral line system to tell you up from down.
I don't care 'cause I've got hair to wear when I'm in town.
I ain't got no gills. I ain't got no fins.
I don't swim so deep and I don't swim so well.
But I've got hair to spare, yes, I've got hair, it's what I wear.
And I do think that my hair's really swell.
And I'm furrier than thou. I'm furrier than thou.
I don't care if I breathe air, 'cause I'm furrier than thou.

So, if you're feeling blue some day, and things have got you down.
The other animals make fun of you, and your face wears a frown.
If there's times you feel like you have had a bad hair day.
You can rejoice, and with your voice, shout I am hair to say:
I'm furrier than thou. I'm furrier than thou.
I may not fly around the sky, or metamorph from a small tadpole.
I don't have fins to help me swim, and slithering 'round is not my goal.
But I'm furrier than thou. I'm furrier than thou.
I thank God and evolution that I'm furrier than thou.


Although this is already a long song, it is one of those "folk" songs that hundreds of verses could be added to. The verses written here address only the various vertebrate classes of animals.

So, have students write additional verses that incorporate the characteristics of various other kingdoms, phyla, or classes (or even down to species) of other animals, plants, fungi, etc.

Additionally, you may have noticed that, given the constraints of rhyme and rhythm, sometimes "characteristics" may not be entirely accurately detailed. This can lead to discussions about how to describe a characteristic, or even whether it is important in the first place for identifying an animal.

For example, in the verse about fish, scales are described as "outside the skin". Is this accurate? Is it important?

As time permits, I will add other songs with additional ideas about their use in the science class.

DR. CHORDATE


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