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Role of Machines

Isaac Asimov, the great science fiction writer, recorded three rules for robots that remain at the center of our discussions about the role of machines in our lives. This set of CERCA Slides highlights some of the debates related to technology.

CERCA Slides by Grade


Grade 3: My Grandmother's Robot

Should robots be used to take care of the elderly? (CCSS.RI.3.1–4, CCSS.W.3.4)


Grade 4: The Amish

Will new technology change the Amish way of life? (CCSS.RI.4.2; CCSS.W.4.1)


Grade 5: Robotic Seals

Should there be limits on using ‘carebots’ to care for humans? (CCSS.RI.5.1–8; CCSS.W.5.1–4)


Grade 6: A Double-Edged Sword: The Automation of the Factory

Do the pros of factory automation outweigh the cons? (CCSS.RI.6.1–8; CCSS.W.6.1)


Grade 7: Robotic Fish Are This Invasive Species’ ‘Worst Nightmare’

Are robotic fish a good solution to fighting invasive species? (CCSS.RI.7.1–4, CCSS.W.7.1)


Grade 8: Send in the Clones

Are ethical concerns about the use of artificial intelligence to clone human voices valid? Why or why not? (CCSS.RI.8.1–6)


Grade 9: Medical Robots

Should robots play a role in the delivery of healthcare? (CCSS.RL.9-10.6)


Grade 10: How to Make A.I. That’s Good for People

Should there be rules regarding A.I. development to ensure that A.I. is good for all humans? (CCSS.RI.9-10.4; CCSS.W.9-10.4)


Grade 11: Preventing Mass Extinction in the Ocean

Does the author make a convincing case for the use of emerging technologies and eco-engineering solutions to protect the world’s oceans? (CCSS.RI.11-12.6; CCSS.W.11-12.1)


Grade 12: A Will to Survive

Should scientists engineer robots with feelings? (CCSS.RI.11-12.4; CCSS.W.11-12.1)

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