SEATTLE — An Everett Community College professor has a creative way to help his students learn about biology: through music.
Dr. Greg Crowther is a biology professor at Everett Community College, and quite the lyricist, but he really shines is when he combines the two. Crowther has gained the attention of his students and others by turning important biology lessons into songs.
His hits include "Have Yourself a Healthy Little Kidney," and "Hey, Urethra!" Crowther joined New Day Northwest to teach us a little about biology with his song "Myofibrils," sang to the tune of "My Sharona."
He said he wrote these kinds of songs when he was a graduate student just for fun. When he had to teach a class, he brought in a speaker and played some other songs for his students who clapped politely, but he said students were more enthusiastic when he sang for them.
He's since continued to write songs in his lectures, since they help him learn too.
"As instructors we have to teach lot of things that we've never learned as students. So we're learning the material and then trying to teach it," Crowther said.
"So sometimes I'm like 'how am I going to remember all these cranial nerves?'" he said. "Well maybe I'll write a song and that will help me, and then maybe it'll help the students."
The musical component may help people remember the information because music uses different parts of the brain, but the songs can also improve the mood of the classroom, Crowther explained. Some students may be stressed out when learning about biology but the songs can make them a little more at ease with the complex subject.
An unexpected piece of feedback Crowther said he got from his students was that his songs showed how passionate he was about biology. "Different teachers express that passion in different ways, but absolutely they should bring it in to the classrooms, [and] explain why they're so excited about the latest black hole photo or whatever it is."