Algebra I Songs: Original Music in the Math Classroom

I use music to teach mathematics because it sparks students’ interest, excitement, and helps them to remember formulas and processes. Music is so much a part of kids’ lives these days with the availability of technology: most students like to listen to music on their phones during independent work times. So, sometimes, instead of students using their headphones, I play a math song that reinforces the concepts they are applying in their math work. At that point, the classroom has whole different kind of vibe: math suddenly becomes fun and students are engaged in learning. When there is a question about how something works, I just jump to the part of the song to jog their memory.

I don’t just use music in the classroom, though: I compose and record songs that teach and reinforce our lessons. Here you’ll find some of our greatest hits—complete with recordings and lyric sheets, usable both in the classroom and for inspiration to create your own original classroom music.

Spencer Small has been a CMSD teacher for 13 years and currently teaches Algebra 1/Computer Science as a high school teacher. He was a middle school math teacher for six years. Later, he became a math coach, working with teachers from across the district on pacing, math pedagogy, teaching strategies, data analysis and deepening content knowledge. Spencer is currently focused on implementing a curriculum called Bootstrap into his Algebra I classes. The goal is to blend algebra concepts and programming concepts into a platform that allows students to create their own basic video game. Spencer is a husband and the father of five. He enjoys music, sports, staying physically active and food.