Robots and Other Mechanical Men (and Women)

Contributor: Brian Anthony. Lesson ID: 11582

Data. K.I.T.T. Gort. Colossus. Roomba. What do they have in common? They are robots, mechanical workers. Have fun researching their history (and future!) and create a card or slide show about them!

categories

History

subject
History
learning style
Visual
personality style
Otter, Golden Retriever
Grade Level
Middle School (6-8), High School (9-12)
Lesson Type
Dig Deeper

Lesson Plan - Get It!

Audio:

R2D2 and C3PO were lovable versions. Others, like the Terminator and Megatron, were a little less friendly. Robots have not remained mere characters in films, however, or figments of our imagination. They have leapt from the silver screen into real life. Actually, their history goes way back, even into ancient times.

Reflect on the following questions and discuss with your parent or teacher:

  • Where did the idea of creating automata or mechanical men come from?
  • What roles do robots, androids, and other mechanical men play in our stories and films?
  • What is the significance of robots in our real world? Now? In the future?

When people think of the future and the progress of technology, they often think of amazing robot helpers taking care of most of our manual labor.

On the other hand, people may imagine nightmare scenarios in which monster robots have destroyed the earth and hunt human beings down as the enemy.

Let's take a look at an example of a robot. As you watch the video below, write down ideas and information to answer these questions:

  • Who is involved in the video?
  • What materials do you think were used in the creation of this robot?
  • What are some of the things the robot talks about?
  • What evidence is there that this robot is intelligent?
  • What evidence is there that this robot is not really intelligent at all?

Now watch the video, Creepily realistic robot can hold conversations and answer questions:

 

Write down answers to the questions above and share your ideas with your parent or teacher. Then, reflect on the following questions and discuss:

  • What might make this kind of technology creepy for some people?
  • How is this robot an advancement over technology you've known or used in the past?
  • How have robots developed over the past fifty years or so?
  • How have they developed in the past few years?

Jules the Robot is one example from recent developments in robotics. Jules could not have been developed, though, without a long line of attempts at inventing automata, or mechanical creatures.

In the Got It? section, you will explore some of the most ambitious attempts in history at developing the ancestors to modern robots.

Elephango's Philosophy

We help prepare learners for a future that cannot yet be defined. They must be ready for change, willing to learn and able to think critically. Elephango is designed to create lifelong learners who are ready for that rapidly changing future.