What our Artificial Intelligence lesson plan includes
Lesson Objectives and Overview: Artificial Intelligence is a high-interest reading comprehension lesson plan. As such, students will practice various close reading and comprehension skills. In addition, they will learn about the implications of using AI in future societies. This lesson is for students in 3rd grade, 4th grade, and 5th grade.
Every lesson plan provides you with a classroom procedure page that outlines a step-by-step guide to follow. You do not have to follow the guide exactly. The guide helps you organize the lesson and details when to hand out worksheets. It also lists information in the yellow box that you might find useful. You will find the lesson objectives, state standards, and number of class sessions the lesson should take to complete in this area. In addition, it describes the supplies you will need as well as what and how you need to prepare beforehand.
The teacher notes page provides an extra paragraph of information to help guide the lesson and remind you what to focus on. It explains that you can teach this lesson in a whole-class setting or as an independent, small-group activity. The blank lines on this page are available for you to write out thoughts and ideas you have as you prepare the lesson.
ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE LESSON PLAN CONTENT PAGES
Introduction to AI
The Artificial Intelligence lesson plan contains three content pages. Have you ever watched a movie where robots go rogue and take over the world? Perhaps you have read a science fiction story where robots do everything for people in the future. And it’s hard to imagine that if you pay attention to technology news, you haven’t heard about artificial intelligence, or AI for short. So what is AI? And will the future be dominated by robots with their own personalities and minds?
If you have used Siri or Google Assistant, or asked a question to Alexa, then you are using a form of artificial intelligence. These all use voice recognition and machine learning to answer questions and respond to requests. If you have ever contacted customer service online to get help, then more than likely, your conversation began with a chatbot, a computer-designed program that simulates human conversation.
Chatbots were not always considered AI because they could not learn or adapt. However, chatbots have recently become more sophisticated and are increasingly using the power of AI learning. Thus, future customer service might not have any human interaction at all!
What Is Artificial Intelligence?
So, what is AI, and what is it capable of doing? A simple way to describe AI is that it combines computer science, large sets of data or information, and problem-solving. One of the pioneers in the computer industry is the IBM company. The company’s recent report describes AI’s evolution or changes over time: ANI, AGI, and ASI.
The current status of AI is ANI. Right now, most AI is used for automating routine interactions like customer service. One use for ANI is robotics, or a field of engineering that involves designing robots to use for repetitive tasks—for example, making cars or piloting a space vehicle. Most experts believe ANI is racing toward AGI. AGI means a computer can make decisions, plan, and function similarly to humans.
Although many scientists worry that we are close to AGI, the ASI level causes the most concern. ASI is still theoretical, meaning that it’s not necessarily based on real life, or meant to be applied to real life. However, the thought that a supercomputer could be so advanced in the future that it would control all humans is frightening!
Pros and Cons of AI
Students will discover that there are several beneficial uses for AI, and even more when you pair AI with robotics. For example, we are automating tasks that are unsafe for humans, like mixing toxic chemicals. Many of the products we use today incorporate some form of AI in making the products. But do the pros or advantages of AI outweigh the cons, or the disadvantages? Let’s dive a little deeper, and you can decide.
Before you agree or disagree that AI is beneficial, let’s consider the history of technology in the United States. The American Industrial Revolution provides clues to how technology changed society. Many economists (people who study how wealth is created) think the US has undergone three revolutions. And each one changed society.
For example, the first revolution began with the introduction of steam-powered machines. The next was science based, and it brought along electricity, telephones, and automobiles. The third revolution is sometimes referred to as the digital revolution. This revolution began with computers, cell phone technology, and satellite communications. Many believe we are in the fourth industrial revolution— robotics, artificial intelligence, and advanced technology.
What Tech History Tells Us about AI
The history of technology shows us that new technology replaces the old at some point. Each time an old technology is replaced by a new one, society—groups of people with shared rights, values, and resources—must adapt and change. For example, Edison’s light bulb meant that cities and factories had lights they could turn on at night. That meant factories could stay open twenty-four hours. Shops and restaurants could remain open past sunset. The light bulb created more jobs and opportunities for people to do things at night. These are all good things. But the light bulb also had a negative impact.
Before the light bulb, street lamps required whale oil for fuel. They were lit by people called lamplighters. The job of a lamplighter was to light each street light at sunset and then put the flame out the following day at sunrise. What do you think happened to this job when the street lamps with light bulbs replaced the oil lamps? Light bulbs and electricity made their job obsolete, or useless and old-fashioned.
However, for the whales, things were much better! Electricity meant that whale oil wasn’t needed as much. During the same time, oils like petroleum, kerosene, and vegetable oils replaced whale oil as a better alternative. The point is that every time a new technology replaces an old one, negative and positive consequences exist. The same will hold true of AI.
Students will then consider some serious questions about AI. Who decides if the positives outweigh the negatives? How will you be affected on a personal level? What can you do to prepare and adapt? Alan Kay, an American computer scientist, writes, “Some people worry that artificial intelligence will make us feel inferior, but then, anybody in his right mind should have an inferiority complex every time he looks at a flower.”
While none of us can predict the future, AI is here. What we cannot do is overestimate the power of good or underestimate the potential for disaster. Will robots powered by artificial intelligence rule the world? You decide!
ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE LESSON PLAN WORKSHEETS
The Artificial Intelligence lesson plan includes two worksheets: an activity worksheet and a practice worksheet. Each one will help students solidify their grasp of the material they learned throughout the lesson. You can refer to the classroom procedure guidelines to know when to hand out each worksheet.
THE AI DEBATE ACTIVITY WORKSHEET
Students will pair up for the activity. Each one will pick a different side to debate. The activity worksheet provides a quote from someone who agrees that AI is more beneficial than not and a quote from someone who believes the opposite. Students will use the blank lines on the bottom half of the page to write down pieces of evidence to support their arguments. Once both students are ready, they will discuss their respective sides with each other.
ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE PRACTICE WORKSHEET
The practice worksheet requires students to answer a series of 11 questions. These questions all relate to the content pages, so you can choose whether or not students can use the content pages for guidance. In addition, each question provides which reading tool the question corresponds to, such as text feature, vocabulary, or comprehension.
Worksheet Answer Keys
At the end of the lesson plan document is an answer key for the practice worksheet. The correct answers are all in red to make it easier for you to compare them with students’ responses. If you choose to administer the lesson pages to your students via PDF, you will need to save a new file that omits these pages. Otherwise, you can simply print out the applicable pages and keep these as reference for yourself when grading assignments.