Erica Buddington, a sixth-grade teacher in New York City, was having a hard time getting her kids to memorize geography facts. So the poet, author, and educator decided to try an unconventional method. It worked.
Buddington, who teaches at Capital Preparatory Schools in Harlem, told BuzzFeed that she had noticed how much her kids love Cardi B's hip-hop hit "Bodak Yellow."
"They were at a low proficiency and I knew I had to capture their attentions," she said. "They were having trouble locating places on the map."
So Buddington decided to give them a geography lesson with a side of rap. She rewrote part of the song using geographical facts and performed it for the class. With lyrics like, "Northwest, Southwest, Northeast, Southeast / Got map surfaces on fleek / Yeah, we're the ones to ask, if you've got a map question / I know the Earth's surface, just ask my class for directions," it was a total hit.
"Even though the song is not age-appropriate, there's nothing we can do about that. It's really a mental game and it's a blast for students for retaining information," Buddington told BuzzFeed.
The kids were over the moon. Look at the pure joy in this video.
The video went viral, with over 52,000 RTs as of press time. After lots of inquiries, Buddington decided to share the lyrics with other teachers.
But the best part of it all? The kids did really well on a recent map quiz, showing a 92% proficiency, compared to their previous 60%.
"It helped them list every single ocean, every hemisphere, every single continent. For a while, it was a challenge for them to fill out [the map]; it helped them remember where they are," Buddington said. "I'm happy."
Cardi B herself noticed, too:
Refinery29 has reached out to Buddington and we will update this story when we hear back.