Actua’s AI Education Project

Actua’s AI Education Project (2019-2021) is an initiative supported by Google.org and the Canadian Internet Registration Authority’s (CIRA) Community Investment Program to develop an artificial intelligence (AI) curriculum for Canadian high school students from coast to coast to coast. Working with a team of leading AI experts, we’ve developed activities to explore fundamental skills and knowledge in AI and machine learning, and how AI will influence future careers. The best part? We’re making this curriculum publicly available for teachers, parents and whoever else is interested. Get started with Actua’s AI Education Handbook, and then explore the interactive resources below!

Actua’s AI Education Handbook supports K-12 teachers and other educators with implementing AI into diverse learning environments, and includes:

  • Background information on AI and machine learning
  • A comprehensive framework for how to bring AI into K-12 classrooms
  • Curriculum connections across grades and subjects
  • Career connections

Click below to download your copy:

AI Activities

As part of the AI Education project, Actua has produced two sets of 10 activities suitable for students in Grades 9-12. All 20 activities are available to explore on our activities page! The first set was produced by select Actua network members as part of the AI pilot project. The second set was created by Actua’s Education Team, and they are listed below, as well as posted on our activities page. Each of these activities explores a different area of AI. The activities can be completed in any combination, but we recommend progressing through the set in the following order for the best learning experience:


AI Activity Prerequisite Knowledge
1 Introduction: What is AI? None
2 Decision Trees: Classifying Space Objects Introduction: What is AI?
3 Regression Analysis: Making Predictions Using Data Introduction: What is AI? (NOTE: This activity also requires basic understanding of linear algebra)
4 Sort Things Out: Exploring Image Classification Introduction: What is AI?
5 Hand Commands: Training Image Classification Models Introduction: What is AI?, Sort Things out: Exploring Image Classification
6 What Machines See: Digging into Machine Vision Introduction: What is AI?, Sort Things Out: Exploring Image Classification
7 Voice Activated AI: Training Audio Recognition Models Introduction: What is AI?
8 Ethics in AI: Don’t let DANN turn evil! Introduction: What is AI?
9 Language Processing: Space Station Communications Introduction: What is AI?, Sort Things Out: Exploring Image Classification (NOTE: This activity also requires some experience with the programming language Python)
10 Sentiment Analysis: Finding Emotion in Text Introduction: What is AI, Language Processing: Space Station Communications



Learning about AI can involve a lot of new technical terms, so we have compiled a glossary of AI terms. At the beginning of each activity, there is a list of technical terms that you might not recognize. Look them up in the glossary for a better idea of what they mean!

Learning Resources

Background Information | General
Should This Exist?

This podcast delves into applications of technology as well as implications and potential consequences of its use. There are several episodes that tackle ethical AI (e.g., Woebot: A Virtual Therapist; Affectiva: Software that detects how you feel). These can be used as a launching off point for discussing societal impacts of AI.

AI Organization | General
Ethics in Action

The IEEE Global Initiative on Ethics of Autonomous and Intelligent Systems tackles issues around ethical AI. This site includes a link to access Ethically Aligned Design: A vision for prioritizing human well-being with autonomous and intelligent systems. This book is a "comprehensive, crowd-sourced, global treatise regaring the ethics of autonomous and intelligent systems available today" (IEEE).

Background Information | General
Responsible Use of Artificial Intelligence

Created by the Government of Canada, this includes the use of AI in government programs and servies, ensuring AI is governed by clear values, ethics, and laws. They have published a framework and set of guidelines around the responsible use of AI, providing a framework through which AI applications can be evaluated.

Books | Elementary
The Wild Robot, by Peter Brown

This fiction book (as well as its sequel, The Wild Robot Escapes) presents AI in the form of a story about human-robot interaction. It is appropriate for approximately age 8+.

Online Interactive | High School
Survival of the Best Fit

This online interactive uses the example of hiring practices to demonstrate data bias that can be introduced when using AI, and offering a simulation of how AI might work during a hiring process at a large organization. It is a suitable interactive for setting the stage for discussions around biased datasets and ethical implications when using AI systems.

Lessons | General
Elements of AI

This free, online introductory course to AI was developed at the University of Helsinki as a national initiative to support non-technical audiences in understanding AI. No previous programming experience is required to start using the course.

Lessons | High School
AI Video Series from NCSSM

Learn about a wide variety of AI and machine learning topics with Charlotte Dungan, Program Architect for NCSSM's Artificial Intelligence program. New videos are regularly added tackling different facets of AI, and additional teaching resources are slated for 2020 release.

Lessons | Middle School
Create & Learn: Coding and AI Lessons

Programming lessons and AI interactives for both elementary and middle school youth. Includes both background information and online interactives. Registering in classes provides hands-on exploration of key AI concepts and applications in a course setting.

Background Information | General
OECD Principles on AI

The Organization for Economic Cooporation and Development (OECD) is a global set of AI principles and ethics for countries to adhere to. They are designed to promote AI that is innovative, trustworthy, and respects human rights and democratic values.

Background Information | General
Artifical Intelligence in Society

This report provides both a summary of what current AI is and the policies that govern its use. Giving a global perspective of the ethical questions raised by AI and the pertinent public policy considerations.

Books | General
Basics of Artificial Intelligence, by Chandra Kumar

This free book (downloadable from the site) introduces how AI is transforming industries and answers many of the common questions around AI.

Background Information | Teachers
AI4K12 Resource Directory

Use this directory to find a variety of books, videos, curriculum materials and more on a wide variety of topics related to AI. AI4K12 is leading educators on a global scale in integrating AI into classrooms and supporting K-12 teachers.

Online Interactive | High School
AIVA - Create Music through AI

Use AI to compose your own music. Customize your preferences, instruments, tempo and more to create something just for you. This is an excellent tool for high school students to experiment with arts-related applications of technology.

Online Interactive | High School
AI for Oceans

Learn how AI and machine learning can be used to address real-world problems such as ocean conservation. This is an interactive developed by Code.org connected to the 2019 Hour of Code, and builds on concepts from the UN's Sustainable Development Goals.

Lessons | High School
AI: Training Data and Bias

This resource from Code.org explains how high quality data helps train machine learning. Understand how to prevent using biased data that can create biased machines.

Other | General
AI Weirdness

Janelle Shane uses humour to explore AI and how machine learning algorithms can get things wrong (sometimes in hilarious ways). Her book "You Look Like a Thing and I Love You" talks about a variety of ways in which AI is used and how it can make the world a weirder place!

Background Information | General
Dr. Kate Darling on Robotic Ethics

Learn about Robot Ethics through a series of Dr. Kate Darling's publications. As a Research Specialist ath the MIT Media Lab she is intersted in how technology intersects with society.

AI Organization

AI4ALL opens doors to artificial intelligence for underrepresented talent through education and mentorship. AI4ALL offers summer programs and an open learning program to further AI education.

AI Organization

AI4K12 is working towards establishing national guidelines for AI education for K-12, an online, curated resource directory to facilitate AI instruction, and a community of resource and tool developers focused on the AI for K-12 audience.

Background Information | Teachers
Artificial Intelligence Explorations: ISTE

This is a course that explores artificial intelligence and their practical use in schools. Educators are supported in understanding types of AI, learn how AI technologies can be leveraged to facilitate learning and solve real-world problems, and explore how AI tools can be created in the classroom.

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