National Informal STEM Education Network: Automata

In this activity, learners build an automaton, a moving mechanical device that imitates the movement of a human, animal, or other living thing.

The activity is designed to prompt conversation and reflection about responsible innovation, inspired by themes raised in Mary Shelley’s novel Frankenstein.


  • The primary objective of this activity is to encourage creativity and reflection about responsible innovation. In addition, learners will explore the following concepts:·      People are creative! We’re always learning more about the world and inventing new things.

    ·      It’s important to think ahead as we study science and make new technologies.

    ·      Researchers who study artificial intelligence make machines that can reason and learn over time.



Science Topics
Inventions & Scientists
Engineering Topics
Machines, Robotics
Social Studies Topics
Music, Art, and Language Arts Topics
Early Childhood, K-6
Preschool, Kindergarten, 1st Grade, 2nd Grade, 3rd Grade, 4th Grade, 5th Grade, 6th Grade
Descriptions of PDFs

Automata guide booklet (PDF)

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