Any high school math teacher knows that math is not always the most entertaining subject for teenagers. Many have trouble just sitting in their seats while their teacher drones on and on discussing how to solve quadratic equations with various methods. One of the methods all Algebra teachers will discuss at some point is the quadratic formula. Usually one look at this formula will scare students to death before they even learn how it actually can work.
Some teachers will show how this formula was actually originally derived and some will go right into various examples of quadratics and solve them using this complex formula. Neither is necessarily a terrible idea; however, this lesson offers math teachers a unique opportunity to let the students get creative in how they memorize and process the quadratic formula.
There are literally hundreds of original YouTube videos that have been created by both teachers and students. Hector the Battle Droid is one of the most watched videos dealing with the quadratic formula because it is both entertaining (great for the kids) and informative (great for teachers). There are also dozens of videos where students have sung the formula to the tune of a popular song (“Don’t Stop Believin'”,”Rollin’ in the Deep”). While some of the performances leave something to be desired, there are many videos where the singers are actually very talented. Although, sometimes students enjoy hearing the ones that are poorly performed because it encourages everyone to get involved a sing a song of their own no matter their musical gifts.
Even if college classes, I have seen older students get into singing various quadratic formula songs. When I was a student, we sang the formula to the tune of “Row, row, row your boat” and did it in rounds. This big, scary formula will not seem so impossible to memorize after students connect with a song that works with their memories. In math class, it is not always that easy to get really creative in how we teach complex skills and formulas. But this is one lesson where everyone can get involved in memorizing a way to find the roots of any quadratic equation.