The Cambrian Explosion in Song

What does a music teacher do when he ends up teaching science?

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What does a music teacher do when he ends up teaching science? He teaches about evolution and the geologic timeline with music, of course, and that’s what Canadian elementary school teacher John Palmer did. He originally played “Cambrian Explosion” as a rock/hip hop creation in class but has since recorded an acoustic version. (The trio is called Brighter Lights, Thicker Glasses and consists of Palmer on the guitar/vocals, Michael Dunn on the dobro and Brian Samuels on the cello.)

Palmer tells us that former students can remember his “Cambrian Explosion” even a decade later. “It always floors me,” he writes. But that’s what great teachers do—they leave their students with both knowledge and the great memories that keep those bits stuck in our brains.

(Many thanks to John Palmer for bringing this to the magazine’s attention—we wouldn’t have wanted to miss it. You can find out more about the Cambrian Explosion and the Burgess Shale in the August 2009 issue of the magazine.)

About Sarah Zielinski
Sarah Zielinski

Sarah Zielinski is an award-winning science writer and editor. She is a contributing writer in science for and blogs at Wild Things, which appears on Science News.

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