Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Deconstruction Lab #MakerEd

Deconstruction Lab

I had the chance to work with my friend and colleague Michael Medvinsky on a fun project with elementary school students. We had a Deconstruction Lab! We had lots of old computer monitors, printers, and projectors that would normally be tossed or recycled, but Mike's idea to let students take them apart and see what's inside is a way better way to use the old tech before it is thrown out.

We used the Fabrication Lab and brought out different sizes of screwdrivers for the students to use. We had some wire clippers  and pliers as well. We emphasized the different between deconstruction and demolition. The students were all on board and excited to see if they could take apart different pieces of technology.

The wonder and excitement of the room over the course of an hour and half was amazing. Students helping one another unscrew things, borrowing and sharing tools, excited statements and new things discovered, and so much more. Students were above and beyond excited to take these things apart. The students wanted to take home motherboards to show their parents. They were able to take apart screens and printers without much damage at all. It was very impressive at how precise they could be.

At the end, which brought sad faces to all of them, students asked if they could take some of the untouched old tech home to deconstruct there. One said, "I really want to have something to do over the Summer." What a wonderful way to engage students in technology and spark some interest in what is going on underneath the hood of many of the tools they see and use every day. Check out some of the picture taken during the deconstruction lab.


  1. Looks like they had a blast! I just recently did this for the first time with my students and they requested a repeat of it the following week. I kept emphasizing the difference between deconstruction and destruction with them - but I might switch words over to demolition - I like that better.

  2. I'm in my 3rd year teaching PBL at my elementary school. In a couple of weeks, my 5th graders will do this very thing! I've done it the past two years also, and the kids LOVE it. Classes are only 50 minutes long, so that's definitely a drawback, but none of us would trade the experience. We break out the tools, work gloves, and safety goggles and go to town. Some kids work alone on small items like cordless phones and remotes, and others work in groups on larger items like boom boxes, cd players, and VCRs. Last year we even saved our parts for the next week and used them to build something creative! It was a blast.

    Thanks for posting!


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