A guitar-playing teacher has found that songs about the distributive property and finding the slope of a line help his students understand math concepts a little better. “Anything to get kids interested in math is what we need to do,” Fleisher said.
His song about math is on YouTube and has more than 48,000 views.
The song, “Slope,” was written by James Fleisher, a River Valley High School math teacher. It features him playing the guitar and singing about the algebra equation used in finding the slope of a line.
Fleisher uses his math music to help his students memorize a formula. At any moment, he will grab his guitar and break out in song in the middle of class — all the while kicking his legs and strutting around the room like a young Axl Rose.
“He keeps us entertained,” said 16-year-old Kyle Emery, a sophomore in Fleisher’s geometry class.
Fleisher, who mostly teaches algebra and geometry, uses his guitar to sing math-inspired tunes like “Trapezoid,” “The Distributive Property,” “Circles and Squares” and “Of Prisms and Cylinders.”
The self-proclaimed math rock star said he began playing songs in front of his classes several years ago, when the school wanted its students to get serious about the California Standards Test. Shortly thereafter, he wrote his first song: “We’re Going To Ace this Test.”
The tune caught on, Fleisher said. The class enjoyed it, so he decided to write a few more.
However, it wasn’t until one of Fleisher’s friends videotaped him playing “Slope” at home that things really started taking off. Once on YouTube, the song received more attention than Fleisher was expecting.
“It seemed encouraging,” he said, “so I thought that was a good sign.”
Since then, Fleisher has created more than 30 math songs, some of which are on his website, Mathtunes.com, and “Slope” can be found on iTunes.