John F. Kennedy High School's Ernesto Lara is not your typical math teacher.
Combining his love of rap music and devotion to his students, Lara writes and produces his own math rap videos to share in class. His theory? The beat and the lyrics help the students understand and retain lessons in geometry, calculus and more.
"Because part of what rap lyricists do is paint pictures,” Lara says. “So now that picture is being painted in a mathematical context."
And it's working.
"I have not gotten less than a ‘B’ on an exam when I had Mr. Lara,” says student Sydney Harper. “It's just fantastic having that song as a tool ready to sing, singing to myself while I do my test so."
Lara says that for students who find that it's not to their liking, there are other things he tries throughout the school year.
Most of the kids love it and their rising grades are proof.
"That's a great feeling and that's all you can ask for," Lara says.