Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Destruction and discovery

Inspired by Karen's LightingtheFires blog entry, Science Club this week was a big "taking apart electronics" fest. Altogether the following revealed their innards to the kids over the course of the afternoon:
  1. A CB radio
  2. A CD player / radio
  3. An inkjet printer
  4. An iron
  5. A Sony tape deck
  6. An old clock radio
  7. A cordless mouse
  8. A computer drawing tablet
The kids were entranced by the wheel-and-string pulley system for changing the tuner frequency on the clock radio and by the old-fashioned numerical wheel mechanism for displaying the time digitally without LCD or LED diodes. They harvested motors and speakers and tested capacitors, battled with tamper-proof screws, resorting to hammers if necessary, clipped wires, rattled, tapped and whacked things for interesting sounds, pulled and pried and examined tiny components with magnifying lenses.

At the end we had a lot of components, and decided to turn our imaginations loose on creating artwork from the bits. Noah managed to get the steam button mechanism from the iron to pump some air. Fiona created a 'sailboat' from odd bits of componentry, plastic and metal. There were dragonflies and weird four-legged critters. Erin and M. used all the circuit boards they could find to create a miniature futuristic cityscape, with the large capacitors and other plastic switches and the like forming skyscrapers, a capacitor suburban neighbourhood, open market squares, hundreds of tiny roadways, some odd-looking parkland and airline flyby routes designated by the colourful copper wire still attached and spidering over the whole array.

It was an enjoyable, though somewhat messy, afternoon.


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