Smash song gives maths a new angle

Top News | Kinling Lo 20 Apr 2016

A five-minute music video of a trio of Methodist College boys singing about mathematics rules has gone viral, with almost a million hits on YouTube.

The song points to four ways to prove two triangles are congruent: side angle side/side side side/angle side angle/angle angle side.

The three Secondary Two singers call themselves RHS - for Raymond, Howard and Stephen. But RHS is also based on the fifth method of proving congruency: right angle, hypotenuse side.

It is the first four rules the boy sing repeatedly - with suitable hand movements - as they run around their Kowloon campus, up and down stairs and to the roof. Along the way they invite other students to sing along with then as they make stops, and at one point there is the addition of wind instruments.

The students end up in front of the school hall, with hundreds of enthusiastic and gesturing students and teachers joining in.

The sound was inspired by the 1975 Grammy Award-winning single Fly, Robin, Fly by German group Silver Convention, though the lyrics are the work of a Methodist College maths teacher.

Principal Emily Wong Pui-yi said the video was an internal production by the school's campus television team and had been intended for internal use only.

"Not every student can adapt to the traditional `sit down and learn' model," she said. "There needs to be different ways for students to learn."

Wong also said she met with the three student stars yesterday morning as the video was catching widespread attention. They told her they were "okay" with becoming instant online celebrities.

The video started off on a Facebook page called "MCKLN Secrets" on which students and alumni usually share college gossip.By later yesterday, however, there were more than 888,000 views on YouTube and 7,800 comments, and it was shared over 140,000 times on Facebook.

Lookers and listeners were also busy adding to the video's appeal, such as parody versions using images of Mr Bean and Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying. And more was revealed about the mathematical lyricist - teacher Leung Chi-kit, who an alumna named Mary remembers would sing "funny songs" and provide suitable gestures on rules and tell students to follow.

"At first I found the songs ridiculous," Mary recalls, "but then I was naturally able to memorize those theories because of the songs. I was singing those songs in my head even when I had to use them in my Diploma of Secondary Education exams."

There was no new sounds about Leung yesterday, but secondary school maths teacher Dennis Tse offered praise: "I am very certain that students will be able to distinguish the congruent triangle rules from the others after listening to this song."

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