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Google joins forces with band OK Go to create classroom activities

Teachers have been using their videos as teaching aids anyway.

Rock band OK Go is known for their complex, nerdy music videos. They danced in microgravity inside a parabolic plane in one, set a Rube Goldberg machine in motion in another and used the sounds they could create inside a car in yet another one. Since teachers love to use their videos as a teaching aid -- say, to challenge students to identify the science behind them or to recreate the way they used various tools to make sounds -- the band has decided to create teaching materials for K-12 educators.

OK Go brainstormed for ideas with Dr. AnnMarie Thomas, head of the Playful Learning Lab at the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota. After that, they teamed up with Google's Science Journal team to "develop tools that allow students to explore the world around them through music." The result is "OK Go Sandbox," a collection of classroom activities, including ones challenging students to recreate the things the band did in their videos, along with the tools they can use to accomplish them.

For instance, Google's Science Journal team created a a pitch detection feature for their app that makes it possible to create sounds with glasses of water, like what OK Go did in a couple of music videos. They also made another feature that plays data values as pitches, allowing students to compose songs by feeding data to the app. You can watch a couple of Sandbox videos below, but you can learn more about the project (either because you're curious or you want to do the classroom activities even though you've been out of school for years) on its website.