## Wednesday, October 10, 2007

### Teaching Domain and Range (with a little help from Beyonce)

There are a lot of things in math that are easy concepts to understand, but also easy to forget. Last year, my students had a lot of trouble remembering domain and range. It dawned upon me to write a song to get this idea across for two reasons: music is one of the most powerful (and neglected) learning modalities, and it was something to get my students excited about coming to class.

At that time, one of the top songs in the country was Beyonce's catchy, guitar-driven hit "Irreplaceable". I would hear this on the radio daily, and I had even learned to play it on guitar because I liked it so much. Somewhere in this time, the opening lyrics: "To the left, to the left..." jumped out at me. My students had trouble remembering that when looking at a graph, the domain was from the left to the right. "To the left" became "to the right" and honestly, the rest was easy. I made sure that the most important and basic ideas they needed to know were addressed in the lyrics:
• domain: x-values, left to right on the graph, first number in a coordinate point, always ordered from least to greatest
• range: y-values, up and down on the graph, second number in a coordinate point, also ordered from least to greatest
I introduced the song by asking, "How do you remember the alphabet?" Everyone starts singing the alphabet song and I say "yes, and the reason you were taught this song is not because it's a cute little song but because it is easy to remember. You learned something from this song--isn't it true that you could name me the lyrics to 'Beautiful Girls' quicker than you could explain the easiest things we did in class." This is the idea of the Domain and Range Song.

I sang and played the song on guitar by myself last year, but I wanted it to be a bit more interactive this year to make it even more memorable. Thus I put a few more phrases in boldface and after performing the song once by myself, I asked the students to sing (or at least say) the words in bold in a sing-along. Here, at last, is the now infamous song:
THE DOMAIN AND RANGE SONG
To the tune of “Irreplaceable” by Beyonce

To the right, to the right
To the right, to the right
Everything in the domain from the left to the right

On the graph, domain’s the x
From least to greatest, and here's what's next
I'm talking about the range--that's the y
how far up and down the graph goes at the same time
Put those in order from least to greatest too
So you can answer the questions that I gave you

Sitting in Mr. D's class, thinking bout how he's such a fool,
How we'll never ever forget how to do
domain and range yeah

You must now know domain, you must now know the range
I can help you understand in a minute
Matter fact, you’ll pass the test in a minute, baby

You must now know domain, you must now know the range
I can help you understand for tomorrow
So don’t you ever for a second ever forget, domain and range!

So when you have a coordinate point
A pair of (x, y), just remember this
Baby the first number’s the domain,
The second number’s the range
Cause the truth of the matter is… domain and range are so is easy!

[Chorus]
Just like last year, students apparently did make a video of my performance using their contraband technology. They tell me they have posted it on YouTube and MySpace, but in two years I've never actually seen it online. I'd love to, actually, so I could send it to friends and family and have them wonder whether I've gone off the deep end or not. Until then, maybe you can use this song or create something similar to both jump start your classroom and enhance student learning. Good luck!!

#### 11 comments:

Anonymous said...

You're awesome! Thank you for this idea on domain and range.

Pete said...

I thought of a good mnemonic for domain and range... don't know how appropriate it is, but it's the best I've got!

Your DOMAIN is where you live - until your X takes it! The RANGE of what he/she takes will make you ask Y, oh, Y!

Anonymous said...

This type of teaching does not really teach for true understanding. Do the kids really understand what they are singing about or is it just a way to temporarily memorize the topic? This may help them pass the coming up test but how much is retained and applied in other ways? We need to think of ways that engages them in thinking and understanding.

Anonymous said...

I've tried the song in my Math Support classes. The students are very engaged with it, especially since they recognize the tune. To the previous poster, I believe songs can be a way to help reinforce or introduce a topic. It takes multiple representations in order to reach all students.

Anonymous said...

SO I'm taking a final in my algebra and trig class in college, its 4am and Im stuck on domain and range this really helped thanks

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the song! This coupled with some other things that I am doing in class will certainly help to solidify their knowledge base when it comes to Math topics. BTW, I am planning on using a song for as many lessons as I can find!

Mr. D said...

Glad I could help. My book Ten Cheap Lessons has a chapter all about getting the most out of songs and music in the classroom (featuring this lesson as an example), so it might be a good place for more ideas. Thank you!

Steve @ the Met said...

I am preparing my 11th graders for our state standardized test (RI) and decided to try this. I started just with playing the instrumental track from the song unannounced in the background from a youtube karaoke video of the song. I swear not more than one bar of music had played when one student started singing along and another asked me "how do YOU know this song?". After I let them groove for a few minutes and get in the mood of the music, then I handed out the lyrics. I had changed the name (Mr D) to my own name. They started right in singing the fake lyrics. One of my students is an accomplished singer and she led everyone. It was fantastic. Now everyone knows "from the left to the right - that's the domain from the left to the right." What a hit!

A.P.M. said...

You clearly understand what it means to make sure that kids WANT TO be at school. Sounds like your group is learning through your inspiration and passion. Nothing is cooler.
I started teaching 3 years ago because my 5th-6th grade teacher inspired me to love learning simply by helping me remember synonyms with the tune of Yankie Doodle.. Whether you know it or not, you are changing lives.

Anonymous said...

found this link...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qXeO67EwWq0

Alexandria Colunga said...

Thank you for this song. I'm in a Community college, and I forgot all about Domain and Range and I'm in PreCalculus haha. Wish me luck, but this song has came very much in handy.