Hazel Oak is a wonderfully creative and exciting school which caters for children with moderate learning difficulties. I had been working there for just under a year when I decided to collaborate with a colleague, James Summerfield. We were both teaching maths regularly and wanted to ‘funk it up’ a bit so we decided to write a song about multiplying by two and four. To our surprise it was a big success so we decided to record a series of songs.
We created a fictional series based upon an alien called Adam Up who would benefit from the songs which we had written. Adam is a 10-year-old from the planet Numbearth who his far from a maths fan.
His life changed when is grandfather gave him a magical calculator. Whenever Adam has a mathematical problem, he types in a special code and unleashes the Number Crunchers. These strange bearded heads sing the songs and help Adam to understand the maths he needs.
The Adam Up songs proved to be very popular at Hazel Oak, even to the point where the students were singing them in lessons, at break, on trips and even at home. Not only were they singing the songs, they were also enjoying maths and applying what they were singing. Ask anyone in the upper school and they will tell you exactly what the perimeter is.
We believe that the songs have been successful for numerous reasons. Many of them feature short, catchy melodies which get stuck in your head for days. Others have very visual accompanying videos which are great to watch and then pose questions about. They use the correct mathematical language and are relevant to content in the National Curriculum. The videos themselves are vibrant and colourful, which have been particularly engaging for the students at Hazel Oak.
According to YouTube, our biggest hits today have been the Multiples and Factors rap, the Perimeter song and the Polygon ballad. However, our personal favourite, ‘Number Bonds to 10’ is climbing the charts rapidly. There are many others including metric mass, percentages and times table tricks. We have recently released times tables chants and have more songs in the pipeline such as probability and problem solving.
As well as the songs and videos, we have also begun uploading our own maths resources to the website www.adamup.co.uk, which are free to download. MP3s are also available to purchase from 79p each and are particularly useful if you are unable to access YouTube.
James and I have big dreams for the future, perhaps including a TV series, T-shirts and furry dice all featuring the Adam Up brand. However, in the meantime, we will continue to do what we enjoy, creating our songs and sharing them with students and teachers who wish to use them.
You can find Adam Up – Maths Adventures via the YouTube channel ‘Adam Up Maths’ or visit the website www.adamup.co.uk. You can also follow on Twitter @adamup_maths.