"Will American kids be Inventors in 10 years, or
just operate appliances designed elsewhere?"
and, by the way,
"Whatever happened to the Kid who took Alarm Clocks apart to discover how they worked?"
These days the inside of an alarm clock consists of a microchip epoxied to an LCD display. There are no moving parts to examine. This trend has led to a hands-off, "I can't understand it" attitude towards common household devices.
Computer Demolition demystifies Technology by having kids disassemble and explore older Personal Computers. They begin to understand the Technology of today by Taking It Apart !
Principles and Objectives:
YOU HAVE TO DEMOLISH TECHNOLOGY TO UNDERSTAND IT.
KIDS LEARN THE MOST WHEN THEY ACTUALLY DO THINGS, HANDS-ON.
KIDS CAN COMPLETELY DISASSEMBLE OLD IBM XT TYPE COMPUTERS
LEARN WHAT THE DIFFERENT PARTS DO, AND REBUILD THEM IN 1-1/2 HOURS .
Computer Demolition is an activity that we have been doing for several years. We start out by talking with the kids about "Why is Technology so Weird? Because It's Invisible!". We bring several working IBM XT type computers into the classroom and guide kids in disassembling them. The groups must be small! : 3 to 6 students per machine / mentor. Kids are encouraged to first observe the outside of the computer critically, finding that all the parts and connectors on the outside have links to the internal workings of the computer. We guide kids (trying not to touch the computer ourselves!) through disassembling the machine, understanding what the different parts and subassemblies are, how the computers were designed, and how the different sections work together. The kids learn what the job of the Microprocessor is, and the other main parts like RAM, BIOS programs in ROM, the diskette drive and power supply. Every kid gets their hands on the tools and the computer, taking turns at removing screws and parts. After the machines are completely apart, the mentors guide the kids in "making the simplest possible computer out of these parts, without the case". Starting with just the bare system board on the table, kids connect the power supply and speaker, and turn it on. The computer beeps and complains. The kids use the 'XT Error Code Sheet' and their own reasoning to figure out how the computer starts up and what it needs to run. Adding just the display card and keyboard allows the computer to start up in BASIC and the kids are guided to write a simple computer program on their 'minimum' computer. If time permits, they attach the diskette controller card and diskette drive, and watch the heads scanning the diskette and loading data into RAM so a program can run. Finally, they unplug the parts again, get the empty case and 'build an IBM XT' from scratch, usually in less than 10 minutes. The kids learn that technology is understandable if you really look carefully at one piece at a time
Get the 28 page Computer Demolition Manual in .PDF Format:
NOTE: These are in .PDF format.
(c) 1998-2005 Mountain ClockWorks Terry King and Mary
Alice Osborne 152 Colby Rd. West Topsham, Vermont 05086 firstname.lastname@example.org
All rights reserved. Education / Nonprofit use permitted as long as this notice is included in all materials