This computer dissection project has four major components:
1. Taking Apart, Making Predictions, Reverse Engineer, and Testing (utilizes teacher lead and websites showing integral parts of a computer)
2. Explaining essential components and their relationships to the other parts of a computer (uses photographs as well as drawings)
3. Learning about the specifications, speed, price, and compatibility of each essential computer part (motherboard, CPU, RAM, ROM, etc.)
4. Researching component cost and building the students "dream machine" (computer)
Students are also required to explain whether a higher price means a better product as well as substantiate why they choose each component for their dream machine. Finally, students build machines through the imaging process.
This project is fantastic to use with laptops, desktops, smartphones, eReaders, servers, printers, etc. We use all but the servers in our dissection process. This is probably the most engaging unit I teach in my middle school computer classes. Students appreciate the ability to "spec" their dream machine and discuss why they need what they are purchasing.