Computer class takes kids inside
“I like destroying things and figuring out how things work,” said Jazmine Jones, one of the students in the “Science Mania: Computers Inside and Out” class offered at the McMinnville Public Library.
It was one of several special activities at the library during spring break. The library often offers classes in science, art and other subjects on non-school days, and has many planned for this summer — including a science program in August just for girls.
Michele Brantner led the class for kids 9 to 12 years old.
Most of the students said they use computers all the time to write reports and play games. Some, like Tony Johnson, said they had seen inside the box that holds the components, but most hadn’t had their hands on the parts themselves.
They started with half a dozen older computer towers, plus one laptop. Brantner explained that the boxes were obsolete and ready for recycling anyway, so no damage could be done. She went over what the youngsters might find inside:
* A CPU, the central processing unit, or “brain,” of the computer. She told kids to look carefully — “it’s pretty darn small compared” to the box.
* The motherboard, or main circuit board. “It’s in charge just like your mother’s in charge,” Brantner said, a sentiment echoed by several mothers waiting patiently on the sidelines.
* The hard disc, where programs are stored.
* A power supply and a fan.
* Possibly a communication board, a video card and other components, such as a floppy disc or CD drive, depending on the age and type of the computer.
Then youngsters went to work, looking for those parts themselves.
“I took this class for about four or five reasons,” Devon Tate said as he tapped and tugged at the components in his tower. “I like destroying things. I play a lot of engineering games, like ‘Nuts & Bolts’ and ‘Paradise City.’ And when I grow up, I want to be an engineer.”