Dublin Villager

Bailey Elementary School

Fifth-graders apply science while dismantling electronics

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Fifth-grader Elizabeth Groce, 11, takes apart a laptop computer while working on a STEM project May 28 at Bailey Elementary School in Dublin.

Parts from laptops, video game consuls, toasters, fans and other electronics littered fifth-grade classrooms at Bailey Elementary School last week.

Students got to put all their science knowledge to work as they dismantled electronics in a quest to find out how they work.

"(Fifth-grade teacher) Mandy Reutzel and I had a meeting and were brainstorming fun things to do at the end of the year," said Kimberly Clavin, the Dublin City School District's coordinator of STEM programming.

Reutzel already had a day where students could take apart electronics to test science they've learned in their mind, but Clavin helped her pull it together with industry volunteers to oversee students and ensure safety from Roto, Honda, Ohio State University and BuildMore Workshop.

"I wanted a culminating project," Reutzel said.

"I wanted them to use all the things they learned throughout the year."

In fifth grade, students learn about magnets, electricity and thermal energy, and they put these concepts to use taking apart blenders, hard drives, printers and more.

"They took apart an X-box controller and figured out how it works," Reutzel said. "They're finding science concepts we learned."

"This is probably the biggest lesson," fifth-grade teacher Maria Caplin said.

"It's amazing to connect what we learn everyday with a hands-on project. And it's a great opportunity to think about their future."

Two of Caplin's students used their science knowledge while taking apart a leaf blower.

They said the hardest part of the project was getting the screws out, but once that was accomplished they took the machine apart, pulling out the fan and motor.

"My brother takes things apart so he showed me a few things," Kenzie Bicking said.

For the project, Bicking and Regan Ailts had to write down what they thought they might find inside the leaf blower before taking it apart.

They recorded the dismantling process and once they were done, they sketched the guts of the leaf blower.

"I think we could put it back together," Ailts said, demonstrating how the parts went back in the machine.

Along with dismantling the electronics to find out how they work, students will also produce videos on how the machines work similar to the explanatory videos posted on engineerguy.com.

"We'll post them and use them for next year's group of kids too," Reutzel said of the videos.

Electronics donated for the project were from parents and teachers and included items that were broken or no longer working.

Many students figured out what went wrong with the electronics, though.

"One student took apart a Keurig (coffee maker) and knows how they work," Clavin said.

"Mine's been broken. I'm thinking about paying him to fix it."