Sr. Camille Panich, SCN, a Vincentian Academy faculty member, who teaches several advanced math courses has a new way to engage students in her Advanced Placement Calculus class. She incorporates rap music into teaching a lesson on the Riemann Sum. The Riemann Sum is an approximation of an area of functions, lines on a graph or the length of curves.

Sr. Camille discovered the integration of music and math at the Advanced Placement Calculus Reading Seminar that she attended this past summer. Sr. Camille purchased the CD entitled “Calculus: the Musical“, and a new teaching lesson was ‘composed’. The concept of teenagers downloading music and learning the lyrics is the same concept used in Sr. Camille’s Calculus class. Just like their favorite song, students learn the lyrics and get the story. Rap music always has an infectious beat, and this beat is the rhythm of math calculations.

The students used the rap song Without Riemann in the style of artist Eminem’s Without Me. The students rapped along to lyrics like:

“There’s no width to measure – truly thin – so change the letter,
d for delta. A differential trend setter. The new sigma notation,
slimmer is better.” “Now this looks like a job for Riemann, add it
up from a to b and the more slices that you see can increase
your accuracy.”

Sister Camille is thrilled with the new teaching concept. “Using music in the classroom, especially a math classroom, is a unique way to pique interest in a challenging lesson,” said Sr. Camille. The students agreed as they made all the right moves with their rap beats while transforming sums!

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