Serious Fun at MIT


I love 2.00b. The first days, we walked
in, and they gave us toys wrapped up in little boxes. It felt like Christmas. And we got this dance mat. My teammate and I just
jumped up and down on this mat that made
music for like 30 minutes, and that was our class. So when it comes
to learning, motivation is key. So we create a fun
environment in which students aren’t afraid. They’re super-driven and
motivated to succeed. And sometimes you have
to be a little bit goofy to break down those
traditional barriers. 2.00b is
this great intro class that is mechanical engineering in
a very hands-on setting. In lecture, we
learn about all the components that make a toy fun, from how
it plays, to how it looks, to how all the little
knickknacks just come together to make that product unique. And then in labs, we actually get the opportunity
to apply what we’ve been learning in lecture–
mostly from that week– to our toy. We walk into the
lab, and they say maybe five minutes
worth of instructions, and then they just say, go. I drew my elephant
on a piece of wood, and then immediately
just started cutting it with a
bandsaw, and sanding it. And then yeah, it
turned into this. Over the years, we’ve had all kinds of crazy and
super-fun toys come out of the class. Lightning Strike is a game where you have a
target and a lightning bolt. And you have to protect
your target with paddles. Our sea Battle Boats is a game of boats trying
to sink each other while not getting sunk. Water Master
is a wrist-mounted toy that will shoot water, based
on how fast you can punch. We started
out with brainstorming sessions where we had to throw as many
ideas per minute as you could. So a lot of the
ideas were horrible. From there,
we tried design prototypes to illustrate what exactly we
were trying to do with the toy concept that we had in mind. [DRILLS WHIRRING] Toy product
design is about serious fun. It isn’t just about
being serious. We go to the Children’s Museum. We play-test. We try out the ideas
in very simple ways. We learn from that. And then they go back, and
they actually kind start over. That is, in fact,
when a lot of magic happens in engineering design. When you can feel alive,
and feel the passion, and are willing to do the
work, great things happen. I think it’s really fun to build something that
little kids are going to use. Because they see the world
in such a different way. And you could give
them some product, and they could use it
totally differently than what you expect. And that creates a challenge,
but also a really fun process. [MUSIC PLAYING]

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Comments

  1. My University is more like, here learn those concepts and read these 12 articles. Why? Because we say so!
    The professor really hits the nail when he says "The key to learning is motivation" you need to know why you learn something and how it can be applied and useful, in a fun environment, for education to be self-motivating.

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