ME101 is one of the first chances you get in the Stanford mechanical engineering department to get your hands dirty and experiment with building something to meet a challenge. We had two main building projects in this class, both of which I chose to highlight here.
Our first assignment was to build a tower as tall as possible out of only cups and foamcore in a 1 square meter area when we weren't allowed to go within 1.5m of the tower or touch the tower with our hands Tower Challenge.pdf. This project really forced me out of my comfort zone because, even though I had a fair bit of building experience from Science Olympiad work in high school, I had never been forced to work under such a time crunch with a group of people who I had never worked with before.
Our second assignment was to build a device that would completely autonomously but without any electronics, maneuver around a corner and throw a ball into a bucket while still meeting specific timing requirements Design Project 2.pdf. Although this simple explanation makes it sound easy, this project was much more challenging on an engineering level than the first project. To succeed at this project we had to put in a lot of time and really push ourselves to find innovative solutions to our problems. We got to choose our team for this project and my team and I worked really hard on the organizational part of managing this project to make sure that we completed our project within the time restriction.