A History of Robots

The future waits for nobody so English Teacher Online invites you to explore a history of robots. You are encouraged to design your own robot and buy a robot kit to build at home.

A History of Robots

Possibly the first robot was built in the 10th Century BC in ancient China.  A scientist made a mechanical man as a present for the Emperor.

During the Industrial Revolution, many factories began installing machines to do the work of people, such as the “Spinning Jenny”.

However, it wasn’t until after the invention of electricity and computers that robotics could really grow.

The word “robot” was first used in 1921.  It comes from the Czech word “robota” which means “to serve”.  This is because robots are designed to serve humans.

The first robot made to work in a factory was called “Unimate”.  It was invented in 1961 for the General Motors car company.

Since then, many more robots have been made.  Lots of car and computer factories don’t use human workers, as they become automated.

Robots can also do dangerous things that humans can’t do.  Robots are built to explore inside volcanoes, or travel to the bottom of the sea.

One day, we might all have robot servants that live in our houses and do all our work, such as cleaning, washing the dishes, and walking the dog.

However, we must be careful.  If robots get too powerful, they might not like being servants anymore.  They might decide to take over the world, like they did in the movie Terminator.


The next generation of robots will be created by you. How are you going to help develop the history of robots?


You can ask questions in the comments section, but you may want to keep you best revolutionary idea secret!

If you like this page, please check out our STEM page about learning with robots.

Time Capsules

This week English Teacher Online takes part in history by inviting you to plan and bury your own time capsules.

Time capsules are collections of historic artifacts or information, usually intended as a method of communication with people in the future – especially archaeologists.

Here’s a video of the Boston Time Capsule from 1652


What Would You Put In Your Time Capsule?

Get into groups of 3 or 4.

Choose 3 items each that you want to put in your time capsule.

When do you want archaeologists to open your time capsule?

What do you want to communicate to people in the future?

Write a few sentences explaining what your things are and why you want people in the future to find them.

Now think of a good place to bury your time capsule.

If you can’t actually make a time capsule to hide away, why not try making a poster with pictures of the things you chose?

Please share some of your ideas in the comment section and have fun being a part of history!

This lesson is the third in our history trilogy which also includes, Introduction to History and Ancient History modules.

Introduction To History

English Teacher Online invites you to a 3-week long time travel mission beginning with this introduction to history.

History is the study of the past. Everything that has happened to people and things over time is history.

What is a Timeline?

Timelines help us understand history by telling us what happened when. They show us how much time went by in between events. Below you can see a technology timeline. What do you notice about it?

Family History

One of the most interesting parts of history is learning about your own family. We learnt how to make a Family Tree in Grade 2, so in Grade 5 you are going to create a Family Timeline to show important events and how much time happened between them.

Researching Your Life

The first step is to research your life by writing at least ten important events that have happened. Some examples include;

I was born at ____on _____ the ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­____ of ______ 20___.

My first word was “____” when I was __ months old.

I took my first step when I was __ months old.

I started kindergarten in 20___.

When I was ____ years old I _________.

I learnt to ride a bike ______________.

I learnt to swim _________________.

My younger brother/sister was born _____.

In 20__, I went to _____ with _______.

_____ I became a novice monk _______.

I got my favoutite toy, _____, in 20___ when I was __ years old.

My ________ died _________ when I was __ years old.

My beloved King Bhumibol the Great of Thailand died on the 13th of October 2016 when I was ___ years old.

I won my first _______ competition when I was __ years old.

You can add any other information that you want to put on your timeline. Next you have to put the events in order, by date.

How to Scale Your Family Timeline.

Turn a piece of A4 paper landscape and measure it. Decide on a scale for your timeline by dividing the length of the paper by your age. About 2.5cm per year is a good scale.

Draw a line through the middle of the paper so you can write about events both above and below the line. Think about adding pictures to your timeline while you are planning its design.

Researching Your Family

Once you have completed a timeline showing your own life, you can continue to do research about things that happened BEFORE you were born. You should try and write 20 sentences which  may include;

My older brother/sister was born __________.

My parents married on the ______________.

My parents first met __________________.

My ______ was born on ______________.

My ______ graduated from university in ___.

My ______ started his/her first job, as a ______ in _____.

My ______ got a promotion to ___________ in _____.

My ______ started our family business, ______ in _____.

My ______ moved to Nakhon Si Thammarat from _______ in ___.

My ______ bought his/her/our first car in _________.

The first person in my family to own a ____ was my _______ in ___.

The last person in my family to own a ____ was my _______ in ___.

My _______ met [a famous person] __________.

Please plan to meet, phone, email or message family members  so you can complete your family research this weekend.

Putting It All Together

Do you remember the scale you made for the timeline of YOUR life?

Use the same scale (maybe 2.5 cm per year) to make a family timeline going back 50 or 100 years! You will probably need several pieces of paper, one for each decade.

Good luck and remember, if you want to share your ideas or ask a question please post in the comment section.