So today for Year 2 Computer Club, I took Stilly's advice, and took an old crappy computer and a couple of screwdrivers along. I told the kids we were going to do an autopsy. After we'd explained what an autopsy was, we started taking the computer to bits, one screw at a time.
The kids were absolutely mesmerised by the various components,( and the general joy of destruction) and there was always at least six hands poking around the case - some great diagnostic talk was going on:
"What's this flat grey cable?"
"It goes into this Shiny Square thing over here"
"What's this box with a big fan on it?"
"This green thing looks like a tiny city!"
"Look at all the dust!"
Gradually, we went through all the components of a computer, and learned what they were for. At the end, we had a test to see who could correctly identify which bits were what, and what they were for. The PC was one of those old Pentium II's that had the big fancy black plastic CPU in it's own special card. When we removed that, I told the kids that this "chip was like the brain of the computer - the bit that figures things out " and there was a sharp intake of breath.
(For a brief instant, I thought it was my superior teaching skills, but it turned out Intel had put a very cool looking hologram sticker on the other side. )
All in all, everybody had fun, and I think we learned quite a bit about how a computer works.
Now I have to think of something fun for next week...