How to safely take things apart

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Safety First

If you've been following along for a while, you know that at Maker Junior we love to take things apart. Taking something apart is a fantastic way to learn how it works. Seeing a part in context provides great clues to understanding its function. If you're going to drop something off with electronics recycling, why not take the time to take it apart first? 

When we take things apart, we are always focused on safety. It is Safety First when we select what we're going to take apart, when we prepare the pieces to take apart, and when we get down to work.


When selecting a piece to take apart, I have two hard and fast rules:
1) Nothing that shatters. We don't take apart scanners, or TVs, or anything that has a large piece of glass that could fall to the floor and break.
2) Nothing that holds a charge. TVs and monitors fall into this category too. We don't take apart anything that could hold a charge and shock us. We don't start taking something apart immediately after unplugging it. And we always take the batteries out.


After I've made my selection, I go over each piece and prep it. I cut off any power cords. I remove any batteries. (See #2 above.) If the batteries have leaked or if the piece is particularly dirty, I have been known to give it a rinse to clean it up a bit. (Make sure to dry it out completely if you decide to do this!) If we're taking things apart in a class, I find the screwdriver that works with the first layer of screws and I make sure all the screws turn. Then I package the piece with that screwdriver. I want the kids to be successful when they start because it can get difficult later on.  Now we're ready for the class.

Safety Glasses

Before we hand anything out, the very first thing we do is put on safety glasses. I can't emphasize this enough. Every participant at one of our Break and Make workshops is required to wear safety glasses. I always make sure I have more than enough for every participant and every helper in the room. Accidents happen and eyes are precious! We always take the time to make sure the safety glasses fit. We ask the participants to try them on and to look down. If the glasses slide down your face, it is hard to forget you are wearing them! The best trick I've found for getting kids to wear their safety glasses is to stop them from sliding. There are a couple of different things you can use to do this. I like to use pipe cleaners the best. They are soft and pliable, familiar, and the kids can choose a color. I use the pipe cleaner fastened to the end of each arm to hold the safety glasses securely. This photo shows what I mean.

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