This fall Lincoln Academy’s Exploring Computer Science Class is learning about computers from the ground up: by taking them apart and rebuilding them.

“Over the summer I had multiple requests from families who needed a working computer for their incoming LA students, but could not afford a new Chromebook,” said Lincoln Academy’s Academic Technology Coordinator, Stephanie Cheney, who teaches the Exploring Computer Science course. “At the same time, we have dozens of broken computers here at LA that need to be repaired or rebuilt. During the first week of school I asked my students if they were interested in trying to make usable computers from the parts on hand, and they jumped at the chance.”

Students spent several class periods assessing, dismantling, and re-assembling Chromebooks from various spare parts. “Some machines had broken keys, but their batteries, screens, and motherboards were just fine,” said Cheney. “We were able to use those for parts. Other machines looked great on the outside, but their batteries or motherboards were shot. The students learned how to take stock of what works and what doesn’t, and how to add and remove the various working parts.”

“I was excited to learn how to fix up a few computers, said Lincoln Academy student Carissa Fawber, a senior in the Exploring Computer Science class. ”I was so happy to find out we were able to help students in our school…It means a lot to me to find that my work is helping other classmates.”

“We also used clorox wipes to give every computer a good cleaning,” Cheney said. “Some of them really needed it.”

At the end of the first repair session, students had rebuilt seven working machines, four of which immediately went to students who needed them. In the coming weeks, the class hopes to put together another dozen machines for distribution.

Cheney is happy with the project, which has two very positive outcomes for students. “Learning the parts of a computer and how they work together is a great introduction to computer science,” she said. “And we all feel good putting working machines into the hands of students who need them.”

Lincoln Academy families in need of a refurbished Chromebook should contact Stephanie Cheney at