Computer autopsy!

The GCSE computing class is well under way  and seem to be coping well with Python, but we decided that for the last lesson before half term we wanted to try something a little more practical as a treat.  My older computer was dragged back from the shed, where it was residing without a side panel or hard drive, and I took it into class. I also took in my pi and arduino to show them that computers come in different sizes, but it was the big computer that was the main attraction.  I have quite a small group, and they happily got stuck in dissecting the computer.  Those who didn’t want to get quite so hands-on documented the proceedings with a camera and video camera, or researched components on PC World.

We all marvelled at the weight of the CPU, felt the coolness of the heatsink, wondered at the tangle of cables, took the machine completely to pieces and spread it on the desks, then started the reassembly.  They even managed to get it almost back together!  We did discuss the need for earthing to avoid static, and that the components shouldn’t really be handled as much as we did, but I think by the end of the session all who were there were left with a deeper understanding of what’s inside the box on the desk, and while the boys showed no hesitation in dismantling things I learnt a lot too, and at least would feel a little braver in venturing inside should the need ever arise.