Yesterday was the fall equinox — the day and night were equal in length because the center of the sun crossed directly above the Earth’s equator. Neat! If that was a refresher for you — which it may be if you haven’t been a sixth-grader recently — you might benefit from checking out this music video about the seasons. It was created by Pacific Union teacher Zach Lehner and his sixth grade students, and it’s totally catchy but also super informative.
Lehner — aka “Zigzilla” — is a local rap star and one-of-a-kind teacher who masterfully merges his passions of teaching and music to produce ultimate learning material. His latest creation, “Earth, Sun, and Seasons,” is crammed with rhymes (most notably: in the middle of the Earth’s big belly, on the equator oceans jiggle like jelly) and will satisfy lovers of rap and science alike.
To create “Earth, Sun, and Seasons” Lehner wrote the lyrics and assigned each student a line to find images to match. Then he recorded himself rapping the lyrics alongside the slides. The video is a rare snapshot of COVID-era learning.
“It was really enjoyable for us to all be collaborating on the same project at the same time,” Lehner told the Outpost in an email. “Overall, I think my students really learned the content from this mini-unit and music video project.”
Since the class completed the project last week, the creation has generated nationwide interest from other teachers.
“I have been getting amazing feedback from students and teachers from around the country on this one,” Lehner said. “It went out on Facebook and several teachers have contacted me hoping to use it in their class.” The video can be viewed on YouTube, and Lehner said that he wants it to be accessible to all.
“I am really proud of how it turned out,” Lehner said. “It was a difficult topic to explain in rhymes, but I feel that I did it justice.”
So, if you haven’t already, please be sure to grant yourself the pleasure of watching this three-and-a-half minute musical astronomy lesson — you’ll probably learn something!
Up next in Lehner’s curriculum, the class will write and produce a reader’s theatre story, which will include voiceover, acting and artwork — all virtually. The students’ separate videos will be stitched together and shared with the world. “Meaningful collaboration has been the most challenging element to pull off in my distance learning classroom,” Lehner said. “I’m hoping to change that.”