• Take It Apart {Easy Unschool}

    by  • February 12, 2013 • Featured, Home & Family, Home School • 3 Comments

    take it a part computer

    Alex caught Lil heading towards an electrical outlet with a metal screw driver awhile ago. He shouted, she dropped the tool, and there was much talk about electrical shock risks.

    But Lil’s mistake was an honest one. She didn’t intend to put the screwdriver in the outlet – she wanted to unscrew the cover plate. She wants to take apart everything these days.

    Later over the weekend, Alex provided an outlet (ha!) for her inquiring mind. He pulled a non-functioning laptop from a pile of old electronics and helped her take it apart. They used screw drivers of all sizes to discover materials of all kinds.

    Lil especially likes the hard drive. She plays it like a record player. How does she even know how a turntable works?

    playing hard drive like turntable

    Taking apart a machine is undoubtedly fun. It is also an exceptional learning experience. Here are just some of the skills kids (and adults!) can practice while taking things apart:

    • Using hand tools
    • Reading labels
    • Comparing numbers
    • Sorting fasteners
    • Analyzing shapes
    • Using simple machines
    • Examining materials
    • Exploring how complex machines work
    child taking apart darth vader mask

    Our friend Henry who incidentally was taking apart a Darth Vader mask at the same time Lil was working on the laptop.

    Not everyone (I hope) has a stack of non-functional laptops like we do. That’s ok. You can take apart a toy or trash-pick an appliance. Old lamps, furniture, and instruments are all exciting to disassemble. Sometimes, the multitude of pieces can be put back together.

    Take something apart soon. It’s an inexpensive, easily accessible, shhh-don’t-tell-them-they’re-learning good time!

    PS. Do I need to tell you that adult supervision is a good idea because some materials are hazardous? There, I feel better with that warning.

    About

    I live to eat and eat to live, planning every meal to include as much local and seasonal abundance as possible. My favorite color is purple, my favorite vegetable is whatever is fresh and local, and my favorite drink is whatever you're pouring. Follow me @racheltayse

    http://www.harmonioushomestead.com

    3 Responses to Take It Apart {Easy Unschool}

    1. February 13, 2013 at 9:59 am

      Earlier this year, the 23-year old Lawn Boy lawnmower that J put together with his father while watching the Tiananmen Square protest on TV finally died. (http://community.stretcher.com/blogs/live_like_a_mensch/archive/2012/10/09/rip-lawn-boy.aspx)

      J very carefully set aside the motor (which was still working at the time of death!) so that he and LO can take it apart in several years. Even non-mechanical me is pretty excited for when that day arrives.

    2. February 13, 2013 at 10:28 pm

      When my son was little he was over a friend’s house, she said she heard the electric can opener going and peeked in to see him trying to figure out how it worked. We didn’t (and still don’t) own an electric can opener so my son was intrigued. He’s been that way and we have given our kids computers, old video players, and other things to figure out. He’s in charge of changing my oil now and was the one who figured out why the automatic cat feeder (battery operated, but the cats have to be fed on a schedule or two will over eat) wasn’t working and fixed it. Learning by taking apart can lead to fixing and putting back together – lifeskills.

    3. February 15, 2013 at 6:01 pm

      My boys when through that phase too and enjoyed learning to break down electronics. Good times.

      There is one important caveat though. Do not assume a dead electric device is safe. Some devices have electric capacitors that can store energy even when not plugged in and if you hit that with a metal tool – KAPOW!

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