CEHD professor Adrienne Bratcher engaged students using music and social media.
CEHD professor Adrienne Bratcher engaged students using music and social media.

It was only the second day of class when students in Professor Adrienne Bratcher’s human anatomy and physiology class were given an unusual assignment: write and perform a rap verse and hook about cells.

“They were like ‘whaaat?’” Bratcher said.

But then, Dr. B. — as she is often called — sweetened the deal by taking a starring role in the assignment. She told the class she would create her own rap song and post it on Facebook. The whole project would be a mix tape for #PhysioRapChallenge.

The College of Education and Human Development professor said the students were a little nervous but completed the assignment Aug. 30. Her specifications for the assignment were that the music must be about the subject matter (cells), include everyone and consist of a 16-bar verse and a chorus.

True to her word, Dr. B., posted her own rap creation Aug. 31  and posted it on Facebook. Since then, the video has gone viral with more than 43,000 views.

Dr. B. spoke with UofL News about her unusual assignment and why she did it.

UofL News: What is #PhysioRapChallenge?

Dr. B: The #PhysioRapChallenge was an assignment given in my health and sport sciences 202 course (human anatomy and physiology). There were five groups of nine people each.  Each group was tasked with creating a rap verse and hook about chapter 3 “cells” over an instrumental track selected by me. After the groups finished, I promised them I would create a rap verse as well and stream it on Facebook Live.

UofL News: How did you come up with the idea?

Dr. B: There is a rap challenge on Facebook called the ‘SoGoneChallenge.’ During this challenge, people rap over a song titled ‘So Gone’ originally recorded by R&B artist Monica. I thought it would be fun to come up with a similar challenge about physiology. It has been shown that music enhances memory and helps to make learning more interactive. Therefore, I thought infusing music into a tough course like physiology would be effective and fun.


UofL News: How did the students respond to the challenge?

Dr. B: They were a little nervous about it when I told them about the assignment. However, they did an awesome job. More importantly, they all received high grades on the assignment. After they take the first exam, I will know if this assignment helped them retain the information learned.

UofL News: Do you think #PhysioRapChallenge was effective?

Dr. B: The challenge required them to look over the material in depth in order to complete the assignment. The course content in my class can be very difficult. I’m hoping this assignment helps them to take complex material and make it easier to understand and retain. Also, it pushes students to start looking over material earlier as opposed to waiting until closer to test day for studying.

UofL News: Would you be open to a teaching gig in the School of Music?

Dr. B: Of course. I would love to develop a curriculum with music blended into science content for interactive learning.

UofL News: How long have you been at UofL?

Dr. B: I have been teaching at UofL a little over eight years. I am also an alumnus of UofL (MS 2004 and PhD 2007). I teach undergraduate and graduate anatomy and physiology courses in the department of health and sports sciences.

UofL News: Who’s your favorite rapper?

Dr. B: I have two favorite rappers: Rakim, from Eric B and Rakim, and Yo Gotti; I used one of his songs as the background track for my rap verse and hook. 

Check out Dr. Bratcher’s #PhysioRapChallenge video below: