A month-ish ago we discussed our booth plan for World Maker Faire (Sept. 21-22, NY Hall of Science, Queens). I loved the idea of a simple maze-type exhibit explaining to kids and tech-ignorant adults how computers work on an ultra-simple level.
Explaining how a CPU itself works might be difficult to put into fun terms, especially for little kids, so instead we can focus on the life of data.
I envision six parts: creating input, assigning to memory, running a program, output, save, and delete.
At each step we could show (via some combination of posters / artifacts / etc.) how there are all kinds of examples of each step, regardless of whether the computer is a Babbage machine or ENIAC or a PC or an iPad. I envision having colorful and very simple messages and directions all around, so that the exhibit will scream "family friendly".
For example, during the input stage, we can show all kinds of input methods, such as turning a gear wheel, plugging in wires, punching cards, using a keyboard, and touching a screen. You guys get the idea...
Constructive feedback please. :)