Music

Backbone

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Backbone
copyright 1989 by Jane A. Robinson

See the fish and the mockingbird?
To call them alike would be absurd
But there’s a likeness deep within
That makes them nearly kissing kin
They’ve got a backbone, backbone, backbone…

They say the twain will never meet
‘Twixt things that croak and things that bleat
But lo and behold, the twain do twine,
Both of these critters have a spine
They’ve got a backbone, backbone, backbone…

Skinks got scales, minks got hair
Crows got feathers, frogs are bare
But ‘neath the skin where none can see
They’ve all got lots of vertebrae.
They’ve got a backbone, backbone, backbone…

Tell me, tell me if you can
If a snake is like an orangutan
Well they’re practically brothers ’cause I’ve found
A snake is just a big worm wrapped around
A skinny backbone, backbone, backbone…

Sprats and bats and cats and moles
They swim, stalk, fly, and live in holes
But who cares if they flap or stride,
‘Cause every one deep down inside
Has got a backbone, backbone, backbone…

Of kinship there’s no evidence
In hummingbirds and elephants
Unless of course you realize
That vertebrates of any size
Must have a backbone, backbone, backbone…

Listen to what I’m telling you about what you’re related to:
Amphibia, reptilia, pisces and mammalia
Although you haven’t any feathers, scales, webbed feet or a tail
You have a backbone, backbone, backbone…

Isn’t it neat? You’re among the elite who have a backbone!

Print Notes Notes

Doctor Jane Robinson, one of my musical heroes, wrote this and lots of other great science songs. My thanks to Dr. James Robinson for his generosity in allowing me to use Dr. Jane’s work.

Here are some standards from the NGSS, the NRC’s Framework for K-12 Science Education, the Common Core, and the state of California addressed by this song:

Kindergarten
K-LS1-1. Scientists use observations (firsthand or from media) to describe patterns in the natural world in order to answer scientific questions. Patterns in the natural and human designed world can be observed and used as evidence.
K.MD.A.2 Directly compare two objects with a measurable attribute in common, to see which object has “more of”/”less of” the attribute, and describe the difference.
CA.K.LS.2.a. Students know how to observe and describe similarities and differences in the appearance and behavior of plants and animals (e.g., seed-bearing plants, birds, fish, insects).
CA.K.LS.2.c. Students know how to identify major structures of common plants and animals (e.g., stems, leaves, roots, arms, wings, legs).

First Grade
1-LS1-1. The shape and stability of structures of natural and designed objects are related to their function(s).
1-LS1-2. Read grade-appropriate texts and use media to obtain scientific information to determine patterns in the natural world. Scientists look for patterns and order when making observations about the world.
1-LS3-1. Patterns in the natural world can be observed, used to describe phenomena, and used as evidence.
RI.1.2 Identify the main topic and retell key details of a text.
RI.1.10 With prompting and support, read informational texts appropriately complex for grade.
CA.1.IE.4.a. Draw pictures that portray some features of the thing being described.

Second Grade
2-LS2-2. The shape and stability of structures of natural and designed objects are related to their function(s).
2-LS4-1. Scientists look for patterns and order when making observations about the world.
CA.2.IE.4.a. Make predictions based on observed patterns and not random guessing.

Chords: Dm, C, Bb, A