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Learn With Me, Laugh With Me

Authored By: 
Vanilla Macias-Rodriguez, Science Teacher

I am a fan of all things nerdy.  No, I’m not a Trekkie or a Star Wars Fan Girl, and you won’t find me walking around in costume at ComicCon.

Ok, maybe you will.

Want to win my heart?  Serenade me with Walk the Moon’s love song that says, “I know everyone you know, you know everyone I know, our Venn diagrams are one circle,” and I’m yours forever. 

If you used one of The Big Bang Theory’s Howard Wolowitz’ pick-up lines on me, say for example, this gem… “If I could make any compound, I’d make uranium iodide so that I could put U and I together,” I’d buy you dinner. 

Like I said, major nerd.

After this geeky introduction, it’s probably no surprise to you that I am a science teacher.  As such, my job is to make sure my students learn about concepts like photosynthesis, stoichiometry, DNA fingerprinting and the nitrogen cycle.  In 15 years of teaching, I have sadly learned that many of the students I teach will not continue their studies in science when they go off to college.  Their hearts lie in the arts, finance, computer science, or wherever the money is trending.  While I make sure I encourage and challenge those who want to be the next doctors and research scientists, I make it my priority to ensure that all of my students get a well-rounded education.  I’m tough on grammar, I make them do presentations to work on their self-confidence and public speaking skills, and when asked if I “count off for spelling”, the answer is always, “Yes!”

To keep those not easily fascinated with the mystical properties of chemistry and the beauty of biology engaged, I use humor.  Yeah, I’m that teacher that thinks all of her jokes are funny.  The great thing is my students do, too.  After teaching a concept, I’ll use Remind.com to send my students a comic or pun that only those who have a firm grasp of the material will understand. 

Here are some of the funnies I use to help them memorize the element names and symbols:

  

Scratching your head on this one?  The symbol for sodium is Na.  The eight electron diagrams of sodium would actually read Na, Na, Na, Na, Na, Na, Na, Na, Na Batman!

After teaching ions and chemical bonding, my students and I giggle at these quips:

   

Befuddled?  When an atom loses an electron, it becomes positively charged.

When I teach replication, transcription, and translation, I like to introduce them to this guy:

Perplexed?  Pirates say, “Arg!” which is the abbreviation for the amino acid arginine.

These always bring down the house after studying Mendel and genetics:

  

What’s that you say, you didn’t understand these?  Time to go back to high school. 

If you’re a teacher looking to follow my example and add humor to your class or just in search of a little comic relief, there are a wealth of resources to find more science jokes and puns.  Start your search on Pinterest, of course. Follow @sciencejokes99, @SciJokes, and @badsciencejoke on Twitter, asapscience, science.jokes and robthechemist on Instagram and, of course, "like" The Beekman School on Facebook and follow us on Instagram and Twitter as we’ll be sharing one hilarious joke after another throughout the year.

If you liked this blog, reach out and let me know.  Feel free to tell me:

We are welcoming students to class this spring either via a hybrid in-person/online learning model in NYC (following our Spring Break), or via fully remote, synchronous online classes.  Learn more about our response to COVID-19 >