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Take the Product Deconstruction Challenge this Fall

Take the Product Deconstruction Challenge this Fall

Join us in our next ThingLink Creative Challenge to investigate, create and share interactive images that explore the hidden side of the things we use everyday by deconstructing products and analysing them.

We are pleased to announce the Product Deconstruction Challenge, a creative challenge designed by Ed Charlwood. Ed is the Head of Design and Director of Digital Learning at an Independent school in West London.

About Product Deconstruction

This challenge is designed for individual students or small groups of students, but we encourage teachers to sign up to receive communication. The goal of Product Deconstruction is to learn about the hidden world of products by taking them apart to understand how they are designed, made and used. We will be deconstructing products by taking them apart and finding out what they are made of and why they are the way they are. We encourage teachers to sign up and submit entries on behalf of their students.

About the Deconstruction Challenge

We will run three separate challenges for students throughout the course of the school year. We hope to inspire learners across the globe to analyse products, create media rich interactive images, and share them with our community. 

  • Round 1: September 5 – December 4th, 2015
  • Round 2: January 5 – March 17, 2016
  • Round 3: March 28 – June 24, 2016

Your challenge is to take a product apart and to use your investigative skills to find out all about the design details, decisions and compromises that went into it. You will photograph your disassembly and use the power of ThingLink EDU to analyse, annotate and explain it.

You will need to think carefully about the very nature of the things you take for granted; Why isn’t your cell phone thinner? Why is your mouse that shape and size? Why does your headphone cable always split?

Explore an Amazing Example

Ed Charlwood, the designer of this Product Deconstruction Challenge, has created an excellent example of how to deconstruct a watch and learn about it. The beautifully displayed base image you see is the work of photographer Todd McLellan from his collection, Things Come Apart.  Explore the powerful possibilities for deep learning and get inspired to challenge your students to Take the Product Deconstruction Challenge.

Photo by Todd McLellan

Photo by Todd McLellan

Steps at a Glance

  1. Select a product that you don’t mind breaking apart – double check with the owner if you are not sure.
  2. Carefully (and safely) take it apart. Keep all the parts and lay them out.
  3. Take a photo.
    1. Take a look at Todd McLellan’s photos,  Things Come Apart for more inspiration.
    2. Learn How to Take Awesome Photos from iFixitEDU.
  4. Use ThingLink rich media tags to make your image come alive!


Each annotation should include

  1. A tag to identify to identify the participating teacher and student designers.
  2. A tag to identify each part of the product.
  3. Information about what material the product is made of.
  4. A justification for use of the material. This should use the word  “because”.

The screen on the iPhone is made from special glass called Gorilla Glass because it is hard (it won’t scratch easily) and tough (it won’t shatter).

Enter to Win a Prize

We would like to thank iFixIt for generously donating 3 Pro Tech Toolkits for use as prizes throughout the Product Deconstruction Challenge. Participants will use our Creative Challenge Tool to collect the images and instantly display them for others to explore. At the end of each round of this creative challenge we will award one prize to a winner. All participants will receive a badge. Interactive images can be submitted here.

We encourage participating teachers to sign up to receive updates and news throughout the challenge.

Follow Up

Try to put the product back together. If that’s not possible, please be responsible and recycle it.


ThingLink Help and Support


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Susan Oxnevad
Susan Oxnevad strives to build a powerful network of educators who share a passion for using ThingLink to transform teaching and learning. In addition, she also hosts ThingLink webinars for educators and blogs about thoughtful ways to leverage the power of technology for teaching and learning on the ThingLink Blog for Education. Follow her on Twitter @soxnevad
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