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Interesting Classes

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Toy Design Lab (2.00b)

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The toy design lab is one of the fun labs in MIT and is offered by the Mechanical Engineering Department. It introduces students to product design through a hands-on and project based approach. In the course, students work in teams of five or six and explore the design process. Now, it’s one thing to sit in a class and be taught about what designers think about or be given a checklist of what needs to go into a design, but this lab puts emphasis on discussion and imagination rather than lecture. For example, in a class you can be asked to discuss what makes a toy a toy, what gives it visual appeal, or even simply, how to play! If this isn’t interesting enough, the class also takes trips to places like the Hasbro Toy Factory in Rhode Island. However, like most classes it has required reading. You may think that this is the downside, but no it’s not! One of the previous year’s required reading was Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art. This class also counts as a writing intensive course and to fulfill this requirement you must undergo the grueling process of keeping a sketchbook full of ideas! If there’s one thing this class does well, it is knowing how to bring out your inner child! How else are you supposed to make an awesome toy?

D-Lab

D-Lab (Development through Dialogue, Design & Dissemination) is a program at MIT that offers an array of interesting classes to help create innovative technologies for international development. It offers classes to undergraduates in aim to design and create tools to help alleviate poverty. D-Lab does not restrict opportunities to only a classroom settings; students can also do field work in certain countries. This is a quite unique opportunity because you can not only see how the tools you helped make are being implemented into different societies and cultures, but you can also come up with new ideas for new technologies.
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Some incredible past projects include the manufacturing and distribution of solar-powered autoclaves for use in Nicaragua clinics and also a low-cost devise that has the ability to thresh multiple crops in Ethiopia. Because corn/maize is one of the biggest cash crops in a lot of developing countries, D-Lab also worked on creating a corn sheller that makes the process easier and more efficient. Courses in D-Lab allow you to study from various subjects such as biodiversity, schools, health, and much more. If you want hands-on design and engineering experience that makes a direct impact in the world, try the D-Lab.

Introduction to Psychology

The Man Who Mistook his Wife for a Hat. This is one of the books that you read in the Intro to Psych class. Sounds weird, a man mistaking his wife for a hat, but in this class you are shown how a man’s visual agnosia caused him to actually do so. It is very easy for a psychology class to simply be about memorizing terms and their definitions, but not in 9.00. The lectures are very engaging and for the most part case study based. So you learn about psychology through current and past research through videos, papers, and other media. You learn in biology that our brain controls movement, vision, and other senses, but this class makes you realize that our brain controls much more, from our personality to our sense of reality. You also realize just how much is still unknown about how the brain works. Because it’s such a cool class, 9.00 is just as filled with course 9 majors as well as other majors.

Media Lab

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The MIT Media Lab is one of the great treasures of MIT. Even if you do not end up taking a class there, it is a place that you have to visit in order to see some of MITs most cool and creative inventions and innovations. Projects in the media lab mix art, technology, and innovation in a very cool way. For instance, one member of the Media Lab, Jie Qi, uses LED lights and circuits in her artwork to work as programmable paint strokes. In her award winning dandelion piece, you can blow on the dandelion seeds and they blow away; t
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his brings artwork to a new level that is both responsive and interactive. If that’s not cool enough, the media lab has also been doing work in creating projects such as a folding city car and a trillion frames per second camera!


The media lab harbors research groups of people who have finished graduate school, but it does offer classes for undergrads. Just look for classes that start with MAS (Media Arts and Sciences). Another way of getting yourself into some of the Media Lab’s current research is to get a UROP in one of the research teams. All in all, the Media Lab is a place that you really have to see for yourself.

Glass Blowing

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MIT students have the great opportunity of taking glass blowing classes in the Glass Lab. The glass seminars are non-credit classes that are separated in the beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels. The beginners' classes are taught in the Fall and Spring semester, as well as during IAP. The Glass lab is also involved in a number of different projects. One example is the TransCultural Exchange: Tile Project where the glass lab makes 20 different tiles which will be sent to a university in another country to be permanently installed. The Glass Lab also does projects with grade school kids as well as different installations around campus.

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