The Robots Return

The Robots ReturnHigh School Integrated Robotics/ELA Units - Grades 9-12


After being rescued from Mars, the robots return to their place of work. They challenge the high school students to explore the present and imagine the future of robotics. The students consider the following questions:

  • How has robotics changed the way we live? Are the changes good or bad?
  • What job opportunities will be available in the field of robotics?
  • How can robotics be used to make life better in the future?

In this unit, the students continue to develop their teamwork and technical skills in robotics while they examine the impact robotics has made on our world and explore future directions in this field.

They will review the genre of science fiction and will consider the question “How much control should robots be given in our lives?” after reading and contrasting the situations science fiction writers such as Isaac Asimov, Ray Bradbury, and Philip Dick present in their short stories and novels.

For their final project, students will use Lego (or VEX) materials and their knowledge about building and programming to build a prototype robot that might fill a niche or need in today’s society. They will develop oral and written communication skills as they plan a marketing strategy to “sell” their prototype to their class or a hypothetical panel of judges made up of the teacher and community volunteers. Their marketing plan will include a magazine ad and oral presentation to convince others to “buy” their product.

The unit includes an optional “Future Opportunities Expo” that will introduce students to possible career opportunities in robotics and other technology related fields. (subject to availability of resources)

Throughout the lessons, students will be involved in stimulating STEM and ELA standards based activities that develop problem solving and communication skills needed for success in the 21st century.

Unit Design

The integration of ELA and STEM is done differently in the high school unit. ELA skills continue to be embedded in the robotics lessons but they are also developed extensively in related science fiction literature units. This design allows ELA teachers to connect to the “Robot Invasion” theme without sacrificing time needed to work on literature specific standards. When skills are connected across curricula areas, learning makes more sense to students. They see a purpose for what they’re learning and they gain a deeper understanding of content material.

This design also gives teachers more flexibility. The robotics unit can be taught alone if there isn’t an ELA teacher who wants to teach the science fiction unit. Teachers may also select specific lessons from literature and robotics and combine them to build an integrated unit that meets their needs.

High School Unit Objectives

Robotics Unit

  1. You Call This a Robot?
    The students will learn how basic parts of a robot work by building a robot using either a (1) Lego robotics kit, (2) a VEX robotics kit, or (3) other materials
  2. I Am Getting the Sense of This
    The students will learn the basics of programming and sensors by participating in programming and sensor activities.
  3. The Amazing Maze
    The students will learn the basics of programming and sensors and why they are needed by creating a Lego robot that will traverse a maze.
    Extension: The students will demonstrate the use of sensors by constructing either (1) a Lego robot, (2) a VEX robot, or 3) a Beetle Bot.
  4. Building and Marketing a Prototype Robot
    The students will develop their knowledge of basic marketing strategies by building a prototype robot and developing a marketing plan to promote and “sell” their product.
  5. “Future Opportunities Expo”
    (Optional) The students will become aware of possible future job opportunities in robotics and other technology related fields by organizing and attending a “Future Opportunities Expo”.

Embedded ELA Objectives

  1. The students will develop communication skills by working cooperatively in team settings, developing and implementing a marketing strategy to sell their prototype robot, and recording their learning in a learning log.
  2. The students will develop technical reading skills by reading and following directions in a robot building kit.
  3. The students will develop research skills by researching and developing a plan for building a prototype robot that might fill a niche or need in today’s world.

Related ELA Unit

Weaving ELA Skills into Robotics Through Science Fiction

  1. The students will develop their knowledge of the features of science fiction by reading and comparing science fiction stories and novels.
  2. The students will develop critical reading skills (analyzing, evaluating, synthesizing) by using a variety of reading strategies to interpret meaning in science fiction.
  3. The students will communicate their views and opinions on a topic by reading science fiction and responding to the themes, events, and concepts orally and/or in writing.

I, Robot
Goes Graphic

  1. The students will become familiar with the sequential art format by reading a variety of graphic novels and identifying common features.
  2. The students will learn how to create graphic novels by using an online tool to design a 3-4 panel sequential art representation of a familiar event.
  3. The students will demonstrate their ability to apply their knowledge of the sequential art format by creating a sequential art summary of a short story from Isaac Asimov’s science fiction collection, I Robot.
  4. Students will demonstrate their understanding of the main events in the plot of a story by writing a summary.

The Great Debate

  1. The students will develop critical thinking skills by comparing conditions in the imaginary world of science fiction to conditions in the real world.
  2. The students will become familiar with debate format, rules, techniques, and vocabulary by participating in an informal debate.
  3. The students will develop oral communication and listening skills by planning and presenting a speech to support their position on a robotics related topic.

Where would you like to go? >>  Future Possibilities  OR  Weaving ELA Skills