Tear Apart a Computer


In this activity, students will follow an instructor-led disassembly of a desktop computer (we will supply a small number of discarded computers to be used for this exercise). During the disassembly, we will identify the various components (e.g., disk drive, power supply, motherboard, memory, CPU) and talk about their roles. Students will then participate in a discussion about why things are done the way they are (e.g., why do we need a power supply? What's the difference between memory and a disk drive).

Offered At

Columbia Engineering

Columbia Engineering Outreach Programs aim to provide greater accessibility to academic and professional opportunities in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines, especially for traditionally underrepresented local stakeholders. Through community engagement, we enhance the quality and reach of learning at all levels.

Our updated Inside Engineering program now brings Columbia Engineering lab content straight to you! These now are featured in the format of hands-on, engaging engineering design activities and lessons that you can do right in your own homes or classrooms.

The Engineering Speaks program now accommodates remote sessions that allow K-12 students to hear directly from engineers from Columbia University, through virtual panels, workshops, and seminars.



Science, Engineering


35 students, 1 chap. per 35 stu.


45 min.


School Based Program


6, 7, 8

Price Options