Mike never misses a chance to teach the kids about electronics. They have taken apart a broken laptop (old laptop screens are actually really cool to see all taken apart), baby monitor, thermostat, disposable camera, alarm clock – and I’m sure I’m missing several lessons. These photos are from a dance mat dissection. I don’t remember the details, but we got the dance mat several years ago as part of a random cereal box promotion, and it used to hook up to a simple dance game on the computer.
Emma is holding the circuit board in the top photo, and examining sensors below.
It was pretty cool to discover how the sensor works. It is basically a foam sheet with holes in it with electrical contacts on either side. When you step on it, the contacts touch each other through the holes, making a circuit and allowing the step to be detected.
We’re out of broken electronics (for now, at least), but he’s getting a snap circuits set for Christmas, and that should keep him and the kids busy for a while!
Do you take broken electronics apart in your house?
Warning from Mike: Taking apart electronics is very fun and educational, but you should be careful when taking things apart because large capacitors can store enough charge, even when not plugged in, to give you quite a shock. You should never open devices like TVs that have warning labels on them. When we took apart a disposable camera, I carefully discharged its capacitor by shorting it with an insulated screwdriver. The spark and flash of light was enough to make the kids jump back a few feet.