AnnMarie Thomas presents at Falling Walls Engage. Berlin
Liesa Johannssen /

OK Go Sandbox Wins Science Award in Berlin

OK Go Sandbox, a collaboration between the rock band OK Go and St. Thomas' Playful Learning Lab (PLL), was one of 20 winners of Falling Walls Science Engage while vying for the prestigious Science Breakthrough of the Year award at the international Falling Walls Science Summit 2021 in Berlin. School of Engineering Professor AnnMarie Thomas, who is director of the Playful Learning Lab and co-founder of the Center for Engineering Education, was in Berlin for the honor.

Professor AnnMarie Thomas
Professor AnnMarie Thomas presents at the Falling Walls Science Summit in Berlin. (Photo credit: Liesa Johannssen - / Falling Walls Foundation)

A project led by Playful Learning Lab students, OK Go Sandbox is a collection of videos and interactive online tools that help kids and families explore STEM and more through the music and education videos of OK Go. The project, the only entry from the continental U.S. to win in the Science Engagement category, engages thousands of kids and teachers with interactive, web-based lessons.

OK GO Sandbox was one of 189 applications from 80 countries reviewed by The Falling Walls Foundation. The conference is held annually on Nov. 9, the anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. The list of winning ideas included a citizen science project for groundwater monitoring, an educational radio show to promote infant vaccination, art workshops for mental health awareness, a novel concept integrating science and languages, mobile STEM stations traveling between communities, a state-of-the-art application merging video games and science trivia and others.