Introducing AI

Ages 5-14

What is artificial intelligence (AI)? Where have you used it before? How do you feel about it? How does it work? In this activity students will explore questions like these through an interactive group worksheet activity. This activity is intended to serve as a very high-level introduction to AI and can be used to kick off a class, unit, or workshop with other activities involving AI. This can be done as a worksheet activity using the provided Introducing AI Worksheet or the worksheet can be used as a teacher’s guide to lead a family or class activity.

Key Vocabulary 

  • Sensor: devices that detect or measure a physical property. In the case of AI systems, the information detected by the sensor is then recorded or used by a computer to either learn or decide how to respond [1].
  • Dataset: “collection of curated data” [2]
  • Data: information used by a computer to learn or make decisions
  • Algorithm: “a set of instructions that turns something (an input) into another thing (an output). A sandwich-making algorithm, for example, would turn a bunch of ingredients (bread, peanut butter, and jelly) into a delicious lunch (a PB&J sandwich)” [2]


Print off the provided Introducing AI Worksheet packet and either use it to verbally guide students through the activity or give each student group a worksheet and prompt them to work through the activity together. The second and third pages of the activity require the Introducing AI Card Deck, which should be printed off and assembled (so each card has a front with an image and a back with a description). Page 3 should be printed on legal size paper in landscape mode. Students will need a writing utensil, glue, and colored pencils/markers to complete the activity.

The worksheet activity starts off by prompting students to discuss where they have seen AI before and how they feel about AI. On the second page, they are asked to look at the examples of AI in the card deck and select cards they have interacted with previously. Finally, students are walked through a high level explanation of how AI works and are asked to create their own imaginary AI using the card deck and worksheet as a guide.

Reflection Questions

  • Were you surprised by any of the examples of AI? 
  • Can you identify the input, algorithm, and output for any of the cards in the AI Examples deck?
  • In this activity you discussed some feelings/emotions that you have towards AI. Why do you think you have those feelings? Have any prior experiences contributed to those feelings? Do you think anything might change those feelings in the future? 
  • Where have you learned about or seen AI in the past? Do you think these were accurate portrayals of AI?
  • Why did you make the imaginary AI device that you did? 
  • What are some strengths that your imaginary AI device might have? Weaknesses?

AI Literacy Competencies

Recognizing AI, Imagining Future AI, Learning from Data, Sensors

AI Literacy Design Considerations

Social interaction, Leverage learners’ interests, Acknowledging preconceptions, Critical thinking, New perspectives 

Links to other subjects

  • This could be connected to a computer science unit on algorithms or sensors. 
  • This activity could also be connected to film or media studies course in the form of a discussion of AI in popular media (e.g. science fiction movies, television, etc.).