I love listening to music in the car. Whenever NPR is unavailable, I hit up the local music stations listening to the latest pop music. The other day as I was driving with a friend Pompeii by the band Bastille came up. A wave of nostalgia overcame me and the car ride quickly turned into story time.

The previous spring, after all the AP exams had concluded, it was time to do interesting hands-on activities that tied our whole year’s content together. In AP Biology, this translated to making claymations of biological processes we had learned about throughout the year. A friend and I chose to depict the meiosis process. We labored through moving the clay centimeters at a time to make a seemingly smooth video and we attempted to create chromosomes, spindle fibers, centrioles, and cells with various color clay blocks. It was a very enjoyable project though. The atmosphere of our class room had become drastically more relaxed as we all realized that the AP test was done, and there wasn’t any more we could do to change that. Everyone began to appreciate the stressful year for all that we had learned. We would blast music as we created our claymation.

Everyone had left the AP test feeling fairly confident about having done well on it and we all began to realize how great a teacher we had the entire year. In this spirit, my partner and I decided to end our video with pictures we had accumulated over the course of the year from the class and a short thank you note to our teacher. As we added the finishing touches to our claymation, we decided that we needed some background music. Pompeii ended up being the perfect song. By chance, the lyrics “the walls kept tumbling down” lined up perfectly with the cell walls breaking down and the cells separating during the meiosis process.

Thus when that song came on the radio, I was taken back to AP Biology the previous year, and had a bittersweet feeling. As nice as it was being done with the course, I had really appreciated the challenge, I had great classmates, and I enjoyed having such a helpful teacher. Sharing this memory calmed my friend, who is currently taking this class and was somewhat stressed about the class at the time.

Thinking about this memory, I thought about the talk from Amy Belfi the previous week. Music really does enhance memory recollection.


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