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ME 121: Introduction to Systems and Control

Instructors for Winter 2020

Please include the text “ME121” in the subject line when sending e-mail to your instructors and TAs.

  • Section 1: Dr. Gerald Recktenwald,, MME Department, Engineering Building, Room 402C.
  • Section 2: Dr. Elliott Gall,, MME Dept, Engineering Building, Room 301J.
    • Office Hours for ME121-002: EB301J, Thursdays, 11 am-noon.

Teaching Assistant and Tutors

  • TA: Conner Morrow,, Engineering Building, Suite 400-16
  • Tutor: Joseph Sammartino,, Engineering Building


Download the course syllabus

Course Overview

ME 120, 121, 122 constitute an introduction to skills, modern tools, teamwork, design methodology and professional practices of typical engineers. In ME 121, students learn to use mass and energy balances to design temperature and salinity controller for a closed loop water system. They develop stronger programming skills (building on skills developed in ME 120), sensor input, sensor calibration, and on/off control of heaters and solenoid valves. They use written and oral communication as part of assignments and class projects.

The curriculum uses lecture, and extensive hands-on experiences to introduce students to the practice of engineering and to motivate the need for courses in Mathematics, Physics and Chemistry. The curriculum is fast-paced and used parallel threads of instruction that boosts experiential learning and creates dynamic learners with a can-do attitude.

Course Objectives

As a result of taking this course students will be able to:

  • Fabricate a model “fish tank” for controlling salinity and temperature of a sample of salt water
  • Develop three-dimensional solid models of mechanical components and systems
  • Write sensing and control programs for the Arduino microcontroller platform
  • Fabricate and calibrate a salinity sensor and use it in a salinity control system for the fish tank
  • Calibrate a thermistor and use it in a temperature control system for the fish tank

Thanks to Living WITH The Lab

ME 121 is a direct adaption of the Living WITH the Lab curriculum developed by David Hall and his Colleagues at Louisiana Tech. Living WITH the Lab is a challenging and amazingly well-designed curriculum. To learn more about about the original Living WITH the Lab project, try these highlights:

Instructor resources

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