Every year, there is something new in technology. 

We seem to collect a lot of hardware, as it is replaced with the next generation of hardware that is better and faster. 

Generally, we take that hardware and recycle it in hopes that it doesn’t end up in a landfill polluting our environment.


Last year during summer school, I had a young lady ask me if I had anything to take apart?




I had not even recognized that this was something my younger students may want to do. 

I immediately had one of our technicians bring in some old broken laptops and the deconstruction process began.

After this great experience during summer school, I decided we needed to continue this during the school year.

So, I put together a “take-apart” cart.


  One old overhead projector cart, one small toolkit, two pairs of safety glasses and as many old, unusable technology pieces I could get my hands on!  This cart is used during the school year during our Friday lunch hour makerspace time and it is the most popular choice.

As student disassemble the items I have found for them, they begin to wonder what the function of each piece is.  So, taking the time to research each piece and investigate is another investigative component to this activity.  While two learners are taking things apart, other learners can be researching the pieces to figure out their function within that piece of hardware.

Another activity that we have done with the parts we take apart is create bugs.  As the technology is disassembled, students collect the smaller pieces in a container.  The larger pieces are collected by our technicians to be recycled.  Students enjoy picking out pieces that appeal to them and the function of their bug.  Once they have their bug planned, we use hot glue and assemble it.  Then, students can use that creation to inspire a story!

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What does their bug do?

How does their bug move around?

What does their bug sound like?

  Where does their bug live?

What does their bug eat?

What have you had students create with recycled materials?