2020(S08) Lecture:week 1

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Week 1 Day 1

Challenge: Project Runway

Instructions: Today you will design, build (i.e. fold) and launch a paper airplane. Your goal is to make a plane that flies further than anyones. Working in teams of 3, choose one person to be the designer, one to be the builder, and one to be the launcher. You can talk to each other at all stages but be sure each person does the assigned job and that someone takes notes of your work together (decisions, uncertainties, disagreements, expertise etc). Your team may use the internet if you want. The designer has one dollar to spend and your team must keep track of costs. In the event of a tie, cost and aesthetics will serve as the tie breaker. Relevant materials cost:

  • paper is 30 cents a sheet
  • paper clips are 10 cents each
  • scotch tape is 5 cents per 1 inch strip
  • pennies cost 20 cents each
  • a pencil costs 10 cents
  • scissors are unavailable
  • a test flight before the competition costs 30 cents.

Your team has 20 minutes to design and build a plane for the competition. If you are not ready to launch at this time, you will forfeit.
Before you leave today: Spend 5 minutes to write in your response record (or laptop and print) any ideas you have about this challenge. How did your paper airplane perform? What did you think about your role on the team? What did you learn? Why do you think this challenge was assigned? What would you do differently next time?

For next time

  1. Draft a letter, due tomorrow. Address this letter to someone(s) you care about. Your letter should introduce and describe a real world problem or opportunity, one that you have inherited, identified, dreamt about, or otherwise encountered, and that you would like to solve or realize. Your letter should explain why you feel the problem or opportunity is important, and what the consequences of success might be. You can focus on more than one issue, but each issue needs to be explained. Please print and bring your letter to the studio tomorrow. Time to complete this letter: 1 hour MAX.
  2. Register for an account on OpenWetWare by filling out the "join OWW" form. Once you get an account add the 20.20 home page to your "watch" list so you'll be notified by email when an announcement is made.

Week 1 Studio

Part 1: Wednesday matinee

Instructions: Today you will have the opportunity to watch two of four videos showcasing completed iGEM projects. "iGEM" stands for the "international Genetically Engineered Machines" competition. It is a summer-long opportunity for teams of students working at colleges and universities around the world to design and build genetically engineered machines, many of which use standard biological parts from the Registry of Standard Biological Parts. The videos will orient you to the kinds of accomplishments realized in a summer by teams of undergraduates and their advisers. Our featured presentations will be

  • the 2007 iGEM team from Bologna describing genetic logic
  • the 2006 iGEM team from Missouri describing an environment sensor
  • the 2007 iGEM team from UCBerkeley describing a synthetic blood
  • the 2006 iGEM team from MIT describing fine chemical synthesis

After each presentation, you will have 10 minutes to gather with your fellow moviegoers and discuss what you saw, using the "iGEM review questions" found [here] as a guide for your conversations.

Part 2: Dear John

As homework you were asked to draft a letter describing a real world problem or opportunity you have inherited that could be addressed in the near term. You should discuss these letters at your team tables and make some notes about them on the white boards.

For next time

You should watch one more iGEM presentation that is not on the list above and answer the same questions you addressed as a group [here]. You should spend no more than one hour watching and writing a commentary on the presentation of your choosing. You should submit reviews for all 3 iGEM presentations you watched; these will contribute to 5% of your final grade for this class.


Week 1 Day 2

Challenge: Sexy on the inside 2

  1. watch this video of a person taking apart a MacBook Air
  2. take apart a tape recorder.
  3. watch this video in which Gever Tulley talks about learning by doing.

For next time

  1. Read Adventures in SB.
  2. Complete survey. Click here to start Only folks who complete this survey and the one that's coming at the end of the term will receive TechCash compensation for their time.
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