Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Making Connections, Gangnam Style

A deep interest in anything can lead to anything.

That's the philosophy that drove my homeschooling efforts and style, and the philosophy that underlies much of my parenting. It's also the reason I'm writing about Gangnam Style again.

As probably know by now, Psy's song is poised for world domination. The Korean rapper has been on Ellen. And The Today Show. And just about everywhere else. What you may not know is that Gangnam is actually an affluent section of Seoul, and that the song, Gangnam Style, is a commentary of sorts about that region.

Today, the Kansas City Star published an intriguing article that digs a bit deeper into the song and the music video's imagery. Turns out, the catchy song is actually a pretty clever piece of social commentary.

That's how learning works in the real world. You start with one thing -- a popular song -- for instance, and end up learning about geography and history and music and media and globalization.

Want to dig deeper? Here are some ideas for a Gangnam Style unit study:

Social Studies: Locate North and South Korea on a map. Look up and discuss the differences in government and standard of living between North and South Korea. Study the Korean War. What were the two countries fighting about? How and why did the US become involved?

Phy Ed/Arts: Learn the Gangnam Style dance. Develop your own trademark dance move.

Language Arts: Write your own Gangnam Style song: Pick as aspect of social or popular culture, and write song lyrics about it. Write a paper comparing and contrasting Gangnam with an affluent US city. Identify and discuss other songs/poems/stories that include social commentary.

Math: Compare the cost of living in Gangnam to the cost of living where you live. Compare and contrast average salaries and the cost of living in different areas of the country, or different countries.

Business: Discuss: Why is Psy so popular in the US? How can he capitalize on the popularity of Gangnam Style? Also discuss the firing of the California lifeguards who made a parody video.

Care to add to my list? What has Gangnam Style taught you or your boys?

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