When you stick you head in the engine cowl could you point out the carburetor? Vacuum pump? Magnetos? What about the Carb heat arm? I'm a very strong believer that students and aircraft owners should be able to work on the airplanes they fly. This might be basic preventive maintenance or owner assisted maintenance like i've been doing all this past week.
When you can do even the basic things like pulling off the cowl and removing inspection plates your A&P mechinic will be thrilled that you helped him with such a simple task and will be very open to helping you learn all you can from the experience.
Take a look at the video I did this week of my annual inspection on my good ole' Cessna 150. You'd be surprised at how much you'll learn.
So next time you're at the airport ask your CFI to alert you when your plan is due for an oil change, annual, or 100 hour inspection. It's time to get those hands dirty and conduct so owner assisted maintenance! Leave me a comment and let me know what you've learned!