Science/Technology

Children learn the names of the parts of a computer and get a basic introduction to how it works. Assembling a computer model with cutouts reinforces their understanding of computer terms.

What You Need

  • scissors
  • paste
  • light-colored construction paper
  • printed copies of a computer diagram
  • printed copies of computer cutouts

What to Do

  1. Begin with a brief discussion about computers. Some children may have computers at home. Ask children to share what they know about computers. What kinds of things do they do with computers? Explain that a computer is a machine made of several parts that work together. Tell children that they are going to learn the names for the parts of a computer and how the parts go together.
  2. Distribute the computer diagram to children and read the words at the top. Tell children they can use these words to fill in the missing labels in the picture. Then point out each computer part in the diagram. As children label their diagrams, you might explain each part as follows.
    • screen: This shows you the work you and the computer have done.
    • computer: This is the most important part. It does most of the work. It follows your directions to solve problems or to create new work.
    • keyboard: You use the keyboard to tell the computer what to do.
    • mouse: The mouse is another tool you can use to tell the computer what to do.
    • disk: The disk is like a book. It has information that the computer can read. You can use the computer to read what is on a disk or to put new information on a disk.
    • CD-ROM: This is another kind of disk. It can store even more information than a regular disk, including pictures, sounds, and video.
  3. Now distribute the computer cutouts. Have each child cut out the pieces of the computer and paste them onto a piece of light-colored construction paper. Children can refer to their diagrams to make sure they assemble the computer correctly. Encourage children to draw a picture around the computer. They may want to draw a picture on the computer screen, as well. Remind them to draw wires to connect the keyboard to the computer and the mouse to the keyboard.

Teaching Options

  • If most of the children in your class are already familiar with the computer, you may want to introduce the computer parts with a guessing game. For example, “This part of the computer is named after a small furry animal (mouse). This part of the computer is long and flat and shaped like a board (keyboard). This part of the computer is really the brains of the machine (computer). This part of the computer looks like a TV (screen or monitor). This goes in and out of a computer carrying information (disk). This can hold a great deal of information, including video (CD- ROM).”
  • You may want to play a game in which children act out being a computer. Individuals or groups can take turns being different parts of a computer. One person can be the keyboard and can give the computer a job to do or a problem to solve. Another person can solve the problem and can tell the answer to the person pretending to be the screen. That person can display the answer.