Fun with a Laptop!

IMG_0105Learning by taking apart!

Recently I set up a Makerspace activity for our girls to dismantle a couple of old laptops. I found illustrations and explanations of various parts of a laptop on-line and made a display. I invited the girls to grab a screwdriver and find out what was inside!

They LOVED it!







I used Usborne book ‘Lift the Flap book of Computer and Coding’ which is demonstrated in the clip below. We were able to identify many parts and discuss their purpose.

The girls got so excited they took every key off the keyboard! Some students matched parts to illustrations on the display with string.


Year 3 students used the wonderful activity from ‘Hello Ruby’ to construct their own laptop….they had so much fun deciding if it was going to be Apple, Microsoft or Linux?









Children are naturally curious.  They ask a lot of questions, and seek answers as to how and why things work. This activity was perfect and stimulated a lot of questions and discussion.

It was a wonderful way to gain a better understanding and respect for technology.

Any type of appliance would encourage the same kind of fascination and curiosity. Using books like these would also increase interest:

Way_things_workimages (1)download






This activity addresses the Digital Technologies curriculum :

  • F –Yr2   Recognise and explore digital systems (hardware and software components) for a purpose (ACTDIK001)
  • Yr3 –Yr4    Identify and explore a range of digital systems with peripheral devices for different purposes, and transmit different types of data (ACTDIK007)
  • Yr5 – Yr6  Examine the main components of common digital systems and how they may connect together to form networks to transmit data (ACTDIK014)





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Jackie Child
Jackie Child has been teaching primary aged students for 40 years in a number of countries. She is passionate about how children learn through constructivist pedagogy. She is a Teacher Librarian at St Aidan’s Anglican Girls’ School and a sessional tutor at Griffith University for pre-service teachers. Jackie doesn’t believe in standing still, there is always plenty to ‘do’ and learn!


  1. I’m a research student at a university in Brisbane. I’m considering doing a study on how tinkering with non-working technologies develops fine motor skills in preschool aged children (4-5 year olds). My project proposes deconstructing/disassembling non-working technologies (for example discarded computers, printers etc) through guided teacher/child interactions, and then encouraging the children to use the disassembled loose parts to construct/create artefacts/objects through open-ended play.

    I was hoping that someone might be able to advise me on types of technologies that might be easier for young children to deconstruct? Many laptops etc nowadays are soldered, so really hard to take apart.
    Any advice or references to any type of literature around tinkering/fine motor development would be very much appreciated. Thanks!

    • Hi
      Sorry I have only just seen this comment! I went to our IT department and asked for old laptops….they worked well. Another activity would be to read Hello Ruby series…so great for primary students to engage with.