If you could be a watt, all the power that you got
Could be written as a number on your head (like a light bulb)
We used to say joules per second but eventually we reckoned
It was easier to just say watts instead
We named it after James, you know Watt was his last name
The industrial age’s greatest engineer
Steam engines made more sense with a separate condenser
And Watt was a power pioneer.
If you could be a kelvin then you wouldn’t be a lord,
You’d be a temperature in absolute degrees
We named it for a hero who said absolute zero
Is a temperature where even atoms freeze
Two seven three below is where the zero ought to go
When you want a proper thermometric scale
Lord Kelvin was the man who defined thermodynamics
And for temperature, the kelvin tells the tale.
If you could be a curie, then I’d really start to worry
‘Cause too many curies could be pretty bad
We named it for Marie who studied radioactivity
All the scientists agree she was rad
Radiation is reckoned in activity per second
Madame Curie was the finest in the field
And her work was so nice she won the Nobel twice
Found new elements twice
Founded medical institutes in Paris and Warsaw
And invented a mobile X-ray machine…
And some curies can cure you but too many more could kill you
So you’d better count your curies carefully!
There are scientific crowns for the names of great renown
Written down in every university
Like Newton and Ohm, Tesla and Coulomb
There’s a special way they want their names to be written down
For Faraday and Joule, winning accolades was cool
But they’ll never need a trophy in a case
Because a Nobel’s nifty but the very greatest gift
Is when we write
In lower case.
You already know about the everyday units we use for measuring distance, time, weight, and volume. However, there are some units that only come up in a specific context for science or engineering. This song introduces a few of these. It is not intended to target any specific science or engineering standard, though the units described in the song may come up in various STEM lessons for middle school and beyond. Rather, the goal here is to reinforce the concept that science depends on mathematical thinking and modeling.
Here are some some relevant Math Practices for all grade levels from the Common Core:
MP2. Reason abstractly and quantitatively.
MP4. Model with mathematics.
MP5. Use appropriate tools strategically.