Jan 23 2013

Teacher’s Rapping Alter Ego Brings Rhyme and Reason to the Classroom

Math teacher Jake Scott engages students with online video productions and educational rap songs.

There are teachers like the one actor Ben Stein plays in “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,” and then there are teachers like Jake Scott.

Scott is a math teacher at Montgomery Blair High School in Silver Spring, Md., who is known in his classroom and online as “2 Pi” — a play on the popular rapper 2 Chainz. As 2 Pi, Scott helps students get into the fun side of math, so much so that they forget they’re learning algebra.

2 Pi’s addictive song, “Quadratic Formulatic” — a parody of 50 Cent’s “In Da Club” —will have you dropping a nonstandard number “like it’s hot.”

While Scott is definitely having fun with his hip-hop math lessons, he takes his job as a teacher very seriously.

He recently explained his motivation for creating the 2 Pi persona in a story on NPR.

About three years ago, Scott started infusing rap into his lessons. His alias comes from a math formula, and as 2 Pi the rapping math teacher, Scott makes learning math cool, while also developing a connection with his students.

"Students are bored so quickly," Scott tells NPR's David Greene. "You know, the videos that they watch — they see one person on the screen for more than five seconds, and they're like, 'I'm tired of this guy already,' you know? So I think that I gotta jump around [and] include commercials in there where I'm addressing their personal behavior, I'm addressing relationships, [and] I'm addressing respect for their parents. And I think that all those things have to happen in order for me to maintain the students' attention."

For more fun ways to infuse creative lessons in the classroom, take a look at these examples of schools using videos as learning tools.