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I am looking into developing an investigation table in my setting. I want to the children to be able to explore the inner workings of electronic equipment- taking them apart with screwdrivers.


I was wondering if anyone had any experience of this? I could do with some examples of good items to take apart and I was unsure if this activity would also need it's own risk assessment?


Thank you

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I think ABC has something on his blog about this


maybe start with something very familiar to the children - an old remote control car, CD player, even the t.v remote control etc

remind them that if it's not on the table it doesn't get taken apart (it doesn't take them long to master the art of the screwdriver!)

ensure they understand the tools are not toys and they have had safety training


it would be worth having a separate risk assessment - and making it visual in the area the activity is set up - it helps reassure the parents that you haven't lost the plot!


Sit back and let it all unfold - it really is amazing to see who comes along - and tries and tries and tries and doesn't give in (but normally would give up trying at the slightest hint of effort being needed!)

they get fascinated by the things you wouldn't - be prepared to google to answer their questions if you're not tech savvy


try not to interfere too much and rush the exploration - it really is too tempting to help get inside/remove screws etc as we had never seen inside some things - and some children were more interested in putting it back together!!


it's a great way to engage the male members of the family for home learning (and it's amazing how many people have non working items at home!)




I would be interested in more tips/ideas

Edited by gingerbreadman
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keeping it simple sounds good. What about having a torch and its batteries - You could have a sign with Bob the Builder or Wendy saying "can you fix it?" the challenge would then be for the child to put it back together to make it work.

Also little electrical light bulb sets - the type you get in the science section in education catalogues - some little crocodile clips- again the challenge would be to make the bulb light up. I'll try to think of some more.

I always look at this website for inspiration


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Thank you for the ideas.


I loved the web site too. We have just been using salad spinners to explore paint with and I loved the large scale one on there.


I like the idea of an electricity set too- I will look into that.


I'm going to have a look on pintrest later- but I had better get back to my paper work for now :(


Thanks again

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I just had a quick look on pinterest but I'm not sure what to search for! What would you call a table like this? I tried investigation table but that didn't do it.


I am sure there must be examples on there but what would they be under!

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- bicycles are great for taking apart. Most of our parents used to cycle to work, so we ended up with a few unclaimed after their children left, well we took them apart! Messy but it went on for weeks - the boys in particualr loved it as it was outdoors! We had a proper grown up tool box, a few times a couple of parents joined in to help out. Had grease under our nails for days! It was great!

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Guest sn0wdr0p

Great link thank you. Tinkering School looks great. My eldest just came up with the idea of making Diddly Bows (One string guitars)

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