Bulger's Beat: Music aims to spark Big Bang in science learning - WSMV Channel 4

Bulger's Beat: Music aims to spark Big Bang in science learning

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Stars, songs and science make for a unique program happening at a Nashville middle school.

What can you do to get a 12-year-old fired up about science and astronomy? A Nashville songwriter, and one of the city's top scientists, thinks music is the answer.

"I fell in love with astronomy when I was 9 years old, and I've been in love with it ever since," said musician Beth Nielsen Chapman.

So when Rocky Alvey, Director of the Dyer Observatory at Vanderbilt University, had a wild idea and a box full of lyrics, Chapman got out her guitar and played along.

Now, Chapman's 11 space-themed songs complete a new record The Mighty Sky, designed to help kids learn.

"I've always believed music and art is the greatest way to learn. No one ever says, 'I can't get this math problem out of my head,' but you get a song stuck in your head with lots of information in it," Chapman said.

And that strategy works, as the music was performed last month on stage with the students at Bailey STEM Magnet Middle School - a school that embraces higher science and critical thinking.

"The hope is these kids will take away ideas that will change the world a bit," Alvey said. "To help them actually see they're space travelers. I mean, we're all space travelers. We're on this ship we call Earth, but it really is a spaceship."

The goal is to spark their level of interest in science and deeper thought - something the country needs from its young people.

"When they start to reopen their minds about what's out there - why we're here - it turns everyone into a 9-year-old," Chapman said.

Alvey and Chapman said they hope the songs from The Mighty Sky become part of science classes and astronomy lessons all across the country.

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