Google, the band OK Go, and the Playful Learning Lab at the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota have debuted a project called OK Go Sandbox. It’s described as “an online resource for educators that uses OK Go’s music videos as starting points for integrated guided inquiry challenges allowing students to explore various STEAM concepts.”
OK Go is the band best known for that one song where they dance on treadmills. But they’ve also filmed music videos for their upbeat indie rock in which they make music entirely by using a car, set off an elaborate Rube Goldberg machine, film meticulously-timed color explosions in slow-mo, and more.
Apparently teachers have been using the nerd rockers’ elaborate videos as inspiration for interactive activities, and to teach kids about the overlap between music and math. OK Go and the folks at the Playful Learning Lab at the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota got wind of the trend, and decided to give teachers some additional inspo for their lessons. Google joined in on the fun, lending the project a larger platform and some nifty tools in its “Science Journal” app.
The result is OK Go Sandbox, which delves deeper into the production and science behind three of the bands’ most math-tastic videos. It has videos that explain some of the educational concepts behind the music video production. As well as challenges and projects. Google provides some additional tools in its ‘Science Journal‘ app, including a way for kids to generate notes by inputting mathematical data.
There’s one video that encourages students to find the “musical instruments” in every room (pencil sharpener, ripping duct tape, shaking bean bag). Which every parent is sure to really appreciate when their kids get home from school.
This isn’t Google’s first foray into well-meaning educational projects. In the past, Google has pushed for paperless education, joined forces with Mystery Science to give schools free eclipse glasses and eclipse lesson plans, and created a video game called “Interland” to teach kids about the dangers of the internet.
Have fun, kids.
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