The Birth of a Hands-On Education

The Birth of a Hands-On Education

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[MUSIC PLAYING] So from the beginning,
[? 2.007, ?] 2.70, was about building a device
to accomplish a task. Originally, it was
kind of rubber bands, and tongue depressors,
and paperclips. You had springs, you
had wood, you had metal, and you’d build a mousetrap. This is a mechanical
engineering design class at MIT. We give each one of
them a kit of materials. The students call
it a bag of junk. But we spent quite a
bit of time thinking about what’s in the kit. The task is really
to grab this peg and try to put it
into that square hole. The competition is very tough. and the ideas over here
are really incredible. The real innovation was to make
sure that you not only designed it, but you built it. It’s the class I’ve
been waiting for. I think it’s the class that
every mechanical engineering major wants to do
as soon as they declare mechanical engineering. The reason why I chose
mechanical engineering is because I like making things. This is the class
where you make things. This is what I went to MIT for. It’s the first time
MechE students at MIT are coming in contact with the
big machines in the workshop, and this is really the class
where you take everything that you’ve learned in
those lecture halls, and you put it to use. OK, it’s time to design. When I took 007 over, I was
very honored because this is a historic class, and I think
it embodies the spirit of MIT. It’s the first experience
students have designing something on their own. I’m starting to see
how what I’m learning applies to the real world. This class represents the MIT
motto, mind and hand, exactly. So the theme this year
is hack to the future, which features a giant
DeLorean on the game board. We build the competition around
good mechanical engineering principles, like climbing hills,
optimizing power, managing friction. But all the time, mix in
cutting edge, new engineering innovations. Now it’s chips and
electronics as well as things like 3D printing. They actually get to program
the robot using microprocessors. It’s what the world
is doing right now. This is such a real-life
experience for the students. They’re making something
that works perfectly on paper and then performs
terribly in real life. And that’s what happens
to all of us as engineers. This class is as
MechE as you get. Creating physical
objects that can operate in the physical
world, and I think that is the core definition of
what mechanical engineering is. Some of the thought
that stayed the same is the wonderful way
you compete like crazy, but help each other
in the process. You’ll take out time from
working on your own robot and help someone
else with theirs. Good job! At the end, you
celebrate [INAUDIBLE]. You celebrate what you
did, and you show it off. [CHEERING, APPLAUSE] I definitely feel more
like a mechanical engineer. The enthusiasm and the
passion that students have to build these robots, to
get down in that machine shop, get their hands dirty,
and build real things. This is the true
spirit of 2.007. [APPLAUSE]


  1. Schools like CUNY City College Engineering, that don't have this, have the highest number of students that drop out.

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