Learning Outside The Classroom News - All Years

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  • Early on Saturday mornings, before the rest of campus stirs awake, Jacqueline Sly ’14 grabs coffee and heads down Massachusetts Ave. to building N51. Winding through familiar walkways, past boxes of scrap metal and old pipes, she arrives at a large, airy room dominated by two nearly finished frames of certified Formula One cars. To Sly and the rest of the MIT Formula SAE team, this is home.

    Student Team at work in N51Seated unassumingly next to the MIT Museum, N51 houses multiple student teams working under the auspices of the Edgerton Center, including the Formula SAE team, the Marine Robotics Team, and the Solar Electric Vehicle Team.

    The students and alumni involved in these teams are intense, passionate, and motivated...

  • SYE Opportunties FairIn this, it’s second year, Sophomore Year Experience (SYE) is trying out some new ways to reach second-year students. SYE is an initiative expanding on the work of the Sophomore Year Transition Program in the Office of Undergraduate Advising and Academic Programming (UAAP). 

  • D-Lab Learn It LogoEveryone learns differently. People can learn by observing other people learn - some people love discussions, while others prefer listening to lectures. In actual fact, people learn best when they experience the material through various means - by listening, speaking, reading, and doing.

    We are excited to unveil a new collection of curricula: Learn-Its. Learn-its are self-guided resources that provide an integrated introduction to basic mechanical design elements; they bridge the gap between superficial how-tos and super-detailed technical guides. They give students the right vocabulary to ask targeted questions in the workshop and online, while outlining detailed tips and explanations of physical phenomena driving how different mechanisms, tools, materials, and fasteners work. Students are provided with enough information to critically select the right material, adhesive, or tool for their project. The Learn-Its currently take the form of Learn-It videos online and Learn-It boards in the D-Lab workshop and we are excited to continue developing additional Learn-Its and supporting material.

  • Hamsika Chandrasekar '13 is a senior in MIT's Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences. She plans to attend Stanford Medical School in the fall. Adam Madlinger '07, SM '08 rides his steam train

  • Editor's note: The following piece was written by first-year students and members of Terrascope Rin Yunis, Emily Shorin and Judy Pu. The students recently returned from a trip to the American Southwest, where they and their classmates visited active mines to learn about extraction and use of strategic minerals including lithium and the rare earth elements. The Terrascope program sponsors an annual field trip over spring break focused on the year's theme.

  • Editor's note: Bennett Cyphers is a freshman from Plattsburgh, N.Y. who has taken two Terrascope classes, 12.000 and 1.016. He is majoring in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and enjoys ruminating on the problems of the world.

    Sixty people sit in a room. They come from a variety of backgrounds, and few of them know each other. As they watch in silence, a professor in the front of the room lays out their task for the next three months: it will require intense research, a myriad of disciplines, creativity, effective teamwork — and if they are to be successful — a staggering amount of effort. This is no strategic meeting of industry experts, nor is it a graduate or post-graduate seminar. This is 12.000, Solving Complex Problems, and every student seated in the auditorium is a first-semester freshman at MIT.

  • Amy Smith demonstrates a charcoal burn to students. Photo: Nathan Cooke

  • On October 23rd, the world’s largest accelerator program, MassChallenge, announced the winners of $1.1 million in prizes. Global Research Innovation and Technology (GRIT), led by Tish Scolnik (’10) a D-Lab “alumna” and current D-Lab Scale-Ups fellow, was among the top four top winners of $100K. GRIT is the social enterprise incorporated last year to bring the Leveraged Freedom Chair (LFC) to market in the developing world.

    Tish Scolnik demonstrates the LFC with staff at St. Boniface Hospital Foundation in Fond-des-Blancs, Haiti

    The LFC, developed at MIT and a first place winner of the 2008 MIT IDEAS competition, is a lever-powered wheelchair designed for the 20 million people in the developing world who need a wheelchair. Its unique lever drivetrain enables users to travel 80% faster than conventional wheelchairs on tarmac and off road like no other mobility aid available. Currently manufactured in India, it is constructed of locally available materials and bicycle parts, but could be made, repaired, and used almost anywhere in the world.

  • Global Map

  • In the past year, 275 Massachusetts Avenue (formerly known as N51 and N52) has undergone a dramatic revitalization. What was once the home of General Radio – a company founded in 1915 that made tools and instruments for the electronics industry and even partnered with Harold “Doc” Edgerton on the Strobotac® – is now a hotbed of design, invention and fabrication activity.

    N51 and N52 at 275 Mass Ave.

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