School can be cool with the right motivation.
Last Friday, motivation came in the form of music, videos, and CO2-powered cars at American Way Middle School. During two programs by FMA Live!, students learned about Isaac Newton's Laws of Motion and his Universal Law of Gravity. In light of studies that show American students falling behind other countries in math and science, NASA and Honeywell have joined forces to fund the hip-hop education concerts. The traveling show, named for Newton's second law (force = mass x acceleration), uses hands-on learning to push the fundamentals.
A three-member emcee team leads the entertainment, er, lesson, with physical stunts, experiments, and song and dance. Students participate in a car race, kick giant soccer balls, and slam into Velcro walls to demonstrate Newton's laws. Teachers get in on the action too by competing in a sumo wrestling match and, in the case of Principal Russell Heaston, ride a hovercraft chair right into a giant pie. The visit to Memphis was part of a 24-city tour.
Whether the FMA Live! show equates to high grades remains to be seen, but no one can say they didn't try.