Rock music helps students and educators explore engineering

As far as chance encounters get, the conference between AnnMarie Thomas ’01 and Damian Kulash, the lead singer the rock band okay Go, cannot have gone better. Thomas and Kulash first found at restaurant after a TED conference and later for a flight from l . a . to Minneapolis, in which Thomas shared information on the woman analysis team, the Playful Learning Lab, that will help PK-12 students and teachers generate fun, hands-on engineering jobs.

“The typical motif within our lab is a mix of technology, enjoyable, and STEAM knowledge,” Thomas claims, discussing research, technology, manufacturing, arts, and mathematics. “We’re constantly asking: ‘How can we make education engaging for pupils and instructors?’”

Kulash ended up being keenly interested, specifically since OK Go’s special, one-take music videos have attained fame for including manufacturing elements. The band’s 2010 video clip, “This also Shall Pass,” made up of assistance from Media Lab graduates, comes with a complex Rube Goldberg machine and accumulated significantly more than 58 million views on YouTube.

Thomas and Kulash stayed in contact and brainstormed methods to collaborate. The outcome could be the okay Go Sandbox, a joint effort between the musical organization, the lab, and engineering divisions in the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota, in which Thomas is an associate teacher.

The OK Go Sandbox is an online portal that utilizes the band’s video clips as beginning things to explore numerous STEAM ideas. Each movie is along with a number of activities and challenges designed to analyze the video with a problem-solving lens. The challenges for “This Too Shall Pass” consider simple machines and their role in complex structures.

“We wish to provide educators whatever resources they should link the pleasure, wonder, and enjoyable inside our video clips towards the fundamental ideas that their students are learning,” Kulash states from the Sandbox website.

Each challenge is heavily affected by students and educators who possess to come with the task movie shoots and share their expertise and comments.

“Every time we film challenging or task, there is a instructor on set,” Thomas claims. “We don’t understand the simplest way to frame these activities — only the students and instructors really do.”

The Playful Learning Lab is made last year, similar 12 months that Minnesota included an engineering curriculum to its state-wide K-12 criteria. The lab’s various other jobs feature Circus Engineering, which explores equations of motion for circus aerial functions, plus regular after-school manufacturing program for deaf center college pupils that recreated the Angry wild birds video game using synthetic balls and cardboard bins.

Thomas says her hands-on method of training is many thanks in large part to the woman MIT knowledge, specially Professor Emeritus Woodie Flowers SM ’68, SM ’71, PhD ’73.

“Woodie Flowers’ course 2.007 [Design and Manufacturing] was utterly life changing for me personally,” claims Thomas, just who majored in sea engineering (now part of the division of Mechanical Engineering) while at MIT. “He had a great way to get that find out by-doing. Before that program, I was afraid to construct things. After 2.007, it had been ‘Eureka! I’m Sure it may get it done.’”

This tale had been originally published regarding the piece of MIT weblog.