Thursday, November 11, 2010


If you are squeamish about certain parts of biology instruction, no need to fear! This post is about the dissection of an ancient calculating beast, not a once living animal. An old Packard Bell computer met its demise in our library this week.

My husband is a computer geek. Because of this, people regularly ask him if he wants their old computers. Sometimes he can use the parts and sometimes they end up in the recycle pile in my storage room. This particular specimen was heading straight to the pile when he had the terrific idea to let the boys take it apart all by themselves. In the past, he has shown them the insides of computers, but never allowed them to get their hands in the 'guts'. Once he came up with the plan, he told them they would be doing a dissection this week, but he couldn't tell them what they would be dissecting. JT guessed the obvious...frogs, bugs, cats....CATS?! He was actually a bit disappointed that it wasn't something more gory. When we are ready to take that step, I plan to reference this excellent dissection post by Lisa over at The Joy of Learning. For now, we'll stick with the metal and plastic versions.

Dad placed the subject on the library table and handed the 'scalpel' a.k.a screwdriver, to JT. As they removed parts, my husband identified each component and explained its purpose. He also told them how many of these parts would not be found in a current computer. This gave them opportunity to see how quickly PC technology is advancing. As the parts came out, the boys made labels and attached them. The process only took them about an hour from start to finish. But EM, my hands on learner, was loving every minute!

When the boys went to bed, we removed the sticky labels and lined them all up. The next day each of the boys had to re-label all of the parts. They were both 100% successful.

Applicable, technical learning is so rarely taught before the option might be presented at the high school level. I believe so many hands on learners are sitting in school never knowing they would like learning if only they were given a chance to learn in their own language. I'm striving to offer a multi-lingual environment here in our home.


Monica said...

Do you have a homeschooling group that you get together with? This would be a cool group project for kids who don't have geek dads.

Cyber Momma said...

We have just started exploring the local groups. Maybe once we have established our relationship, I can suggest this. Good idea!

Lisa said...

We had a "dissection" like that recently at our house too. The boys and a neighbour child took apart our old computer. Unfortunately, we didn't have the great idea (or technical expertise) to get them to identify and label the parts. Maybe next time. Thanks for the nod over to my blog :-).