Dropping Science

Meet your intro to calculus teacher.

New York’s Flocabulary turns rhymes into reason

Quick – where was the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air born and raised? Good. Now, recite the quadratic formula. If you’re anything like us, that second problem required  significantly more effort than the first (the answer’s here).

But there’s a reason we can remember fictional details about a Will  Smith sitcom character so easily – humans have a natural tendency to  recall lyrics and rhyming verse a lot better than a random assortment  of facts or letters.

Founded in 2004, Flocabulary makes the most of that  trait – offering students from kindergarten to grade 12 a library of  songs and videos to supplement their education.

“When we started, our focus was on SAT prep because it was one of  our worst memories – flash cards, word lists, all those things,” Alex Rappaport, Flocabulary’s CEO and cofounder, told us. “We were doing it without a business model and treating it as a one off. But the response  was so immediately strong from teachers, students, and the press, we  realized we had to pursue it.”

In 2011 Flocabulary shifted its business model from shipping CDs to  producing online content. “It was really exciting to become a startup  again,” Rappaport said.

Based in Downtown Brooklyn, the company employees 13 full-time  staffers and about a dozen more creative contractors – rappers,  producers, and writers creating much of the content.

And they’re looking to get bigger. Flocabulary has three full-time openings – check out all the details here.

Now go forth (and let it flow).

Nitty Gritty:

148: # of episodes of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air

2: # of women who played Aunt Vivian over the show’s six seasons

$2.8MM: Amount Will Smith owed IRS before signing The Fresh Prince TV series deal