What rhymes with isosceles triangle? This French math teacher has the answer.

The World
Screenshot from Rapémathematiques

Middle-school math: Fractions, decimals. A-squared-plus-B-squared,  X to the power of N. 

For a lot of students, this is tough stuff. 

That’s why Antoine Carrier, also known as A’Rieka, the “rapping math teacher” from Bordeaux, France, takes it slow with a rap that walks 11-year-olds through multiplication tables. 

Without them, you can’t pass pre-algebra, A’Rieka said, adding that his raps turn math into something that goes in one ear — but not out the other.

“Instead of my students just opening a notebook and going over a lesson feeling unmotivated,” he said, “they can go on online, click on a rap, and study the material to the music.”

It keeps them focused, he said, especially at home. That’s the magic of Rapématiques.

A’Rieka posted his first Rapématiques, or rhyming math lesson, two years ago. 

In all his videos, the tattooed, hoodie-wearing, 30-something teacher stands before a whiteboard, rapping and waving a sharpie around.  

A’Rieka now has dozens of raps posted across his social media. And nearly 90,000 followers on Instagram.

Outside one middle school in Bordeaux, a group of students said they know A’Rieka’s songs. And they love what he’s doing.

“It’s a great idea,” said 13-year-old Roxanne, because our generation listens to tons of music and we learn all the lyrics by heart. By contrast, she said, “math is hard for us to absorb. Rap helps a lot.” 

“I wish other teachers, like for science, would do the same thing,” said another teen named Eva. 

Other teachers are actually making guest appearances. In one rap about exponential numbers, A’Rieka’s colleague Chloe Laf takes the mic, dropping mad rhymes about an inverted parabola aligned symmetrically along the Y-axis.

These performances are unforgettable — and that’s the point.  

Kids can scroll through Rapémathiques to learn about anything in their syllabus: angles, order of operations, percentages, perimeters. Each topic has its own beat and catchy refrain.

“When I upload a new video,” A’Rieka said, “I get to school the next day, and often the kids are already singing the chorus.”

In singing along, the students also answer for themselves that age-old, existential middle-school math question: Why are we even learning this?

Perhaps — against all the laws of probability — it’s because math might just be kinda, sorta, cool.

Lawrence Collins contributed to this report.

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