Here's some more fun from Nightwork as we get closer to April Fools' Day. This excerpt outlines a few entertaining classroom "hacks" that students have pulled at MIT, starting in 1870:
Snappy Assembly, Circa 1870
Pranksters sprinkled iodide of nitrogen, a mild contact-explosive, on the drill room floor, lending snap, crackle, and pop to routine assembly.
Progression of Tardies, 1927
Although vowing that he would never shut the door in a student's face, a professor religiously locked the classroom at five minutes past the hour to discourage late arrivals. One day, students waited until five minutes after the bell, then trickled into the room at carefully spaced intervals so the professor could never close the door--at least not for another twenty-five minutes.
Casual Saturday, 1949
Students arrived at their early Saturday-morning class in robes and pajamas to protest the cruel and unusual scheduling.
Exam A La Carte, 1978
A student threw a red checkered tablecloth over his exam table; set out three bottles of wine, corkscrew, glass, a plate of bread and cheese, and regulation No. 2 pencils before settling in for the test.
Industrious hackers reversed all 199 seats in the 2--190 lecture hall so that they faced the back of the room. The prank was all the more ambitious because the seats are bolted to the floor.
Paper Airplane Assignment, 1985
Students picked up the usual stack of handouts as they entered the lecture hall, only to find that one was a hack. The sheet gave detailed instructions for making a paper airplane and when to launch it at the lecturer.
Hackers moved the massive turbojet on display in another building to the front of AeroAstro's unified engineering class. On the lecture hall blackboard, they asked, "Can you say Turbojet?"
Chalkboard Gremlins, 1981 and 1992
Using a handmade radio-controlled device, a hacker raised and lowered the lecture hall chalkboards to the frustration of the lecturer in the 10--250 lecture hall.
6.001 Spellbook, 1992
In a spoof on fantasy role-playing incantations, hackers distributed a "spellbook" to students that explained why some of their computer programming projects may go awry.