Connecting YouthQuest & Home: Hip-Hop Beats and Eats

Image Credit: Gavin Whitner,


What can hip-hop teach us about history? Quite a bit! By putting rhyme schemes over beats, the music genre provides a creative way to tell the stories of our country’s past.

“We are tying this month’s theme into Black History Month,” says Rhetta Hunyady, Vice President of Education & Training at the Flint & Genesee Chamber of Commerce. “Not only are we teaching the history of hip-hop, we are also using raps and rhymes to teach students about African-American historical figures such as George Washington Carver.”

This month, YouthQuest students will explore hip-hop to learn lessons in history, as well as other subjects including math, science and social studies. For instance:

  1. Younger elementary students will read “Hip Hop Speaks to Kids,” which teaches readers that “as long as people have stories, there will be rhythm, rap and hip-hop.”
  2. Students will learn about Jamaican-born DJ Clive “Kool Herc” Campbell and his influence in the pioneering stage of hip-hop music.
  3. Older elementary students will learn how graphic art plays a part in hip-hop culture by creating hip-hop shoes with contour lines.

Want to help extend students learning beyond YouthQuest? Parents can do some of the following to keep students engaged at home:

  • Make beats with the whole family: Explore your child’s knowledge and creativity by putting beats to different songs, like “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star,” make up your own silly rhymes to a beat. Have the whole family join in and perform different beats for each other.
  • Share your family’s history: Spend time talking and sharing stories. Every family has their own history. Share where your family came from and what brought them to Flint. If you have any living family members who lived through the civil rights movement – share their stories. Talk about why it is important to pass these stories to future generations.
  • Emphasize the importance of Black History Month: Talk to your child about the importance of Black History Month and learning about the contributions African Americans have made to our country’s history. Participate in an activity that coincides with Black History Month, like exploring the Sloan Museum’s newest exhibit, “An Equal Opportunity Lie.


YouthQuest’s middle and high school programs aim to teach STEM through short-term and long-term clubs. One of these clubs is the Garden Club where students learn about seasonal gardening and how to grow healthy foods using a hydroponic garden. After students grow herbs and veggies, they make a variety of healthy foods such as salsa, hummus, smoothies and pickles using ingredients from their garden.

YouthQuest is made possible through the generous support of the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation and 21st Century Community Learning Centers.

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