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Metal Heads

Source Institutions

    American Association for the Advancement of Science

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Metal Heads

Pairs of learners play the roles of programmer and robot. The programmer gives specific directions to the robot to accomplish a simple task (e.g. walk across the room and pick up a pencil). The robot can only follow specific instructions (e.g. take 2 steps forward, open fingers, bend arm at elbow). Learners may be surprised to learn how difficult it is to program a robot to accomplish a simple task. When learners set up a free account at Kinetic City, they can answer bonus questions at the end of the activity as a quick assessment. As a larger assessment, learners can complete the Bug Blaster game after they've completed several activities.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
10 to 30 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:

Age Range:
Ages 8 - 11

Resource Types:
Activity, Simulation


Materials List (per student)

  • A partner
  • Pencil
  • Paper


  • Engineering and Technology
    • Computing
    • Engineering
      • Computer Engineering
    • Technology
      • Information and Communication
  • The Nature of Technology
    • The Design Process
      • Problem Solving
      • Troubleshooting and Maintenance

Informal Categories

  • Computers
  • Physical Activity


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • read
  • use mouse
  • be mobile
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Components that are part of this resource:

Includes assesments for student learning

This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access


  • American Association for the Advancement of Science


  • All Rights Reserved, American Association for the Advancement of Science, ©2009

Funding Source:

  • National Science Foundation


User Lists

This resource is part of these lists:

  • Thumbnail role play by Deborah Lee Rose on 2011-05-03
  • Thumbnail Let's Move! by Deborah Lee Rose on 2011-08-18
  • Thumbnail Code by Lekahler on 2019-10-01