Using Google Home & Artificial Intelligence in the Classroom

As our Sharing the Planet unit draws to a close, in grade one, I wanted to do my bit of sharing. I am a huge fan of my Google Home! From telling me my daily routine, providing me with the latest news, or guiding me through a recipe for a delicious meal - it is much more than a speaker. That said, I wanted to see how I could use Google Home and the idea of Artificial Intelligence in the classroom. Enter Mystery Animal. 



Mystery Animal is a take on the class game, 20 Questions. You can play Mystery Animal using the computer or Google Home. The objective is simple: guess what animal it is using up to twenty yes-or-no questions.


When I think of this game, I am instantly transported back to my childhood and the classic game "Guess Who." It was a fun way to pass the time of day, spending time after Sunday dinner with my grandparents; playing classic board games.  Now, as a teacher looking back "Guess Who" it was an invaluable set of skills my parents and grandparents were helping to build: formulating questions, communicating clearly, and thinking critically to narrow down the possibilities, and listening; listening to what has already been asked! Priceless.

Getting Started

Visit https://mysteryanimal.withgoogle.com and click "Preview it here" in the bottom right corner. Don't forget to enable the microphone too. 
or
Say "OK Google, talk to Mystery Animal" on your Google Home device. (Although, sadly, it is not yet available in Japan)
or
Similarly with the Google Assistant app on your phone 

What happens next:

At random, Google will choose an animal that you need to guess. It is purely at random, which was proved while I was with one of our grade one classes. We were able to get through three rounds of the game, and all three mystery animals were birds.  *all three mystery animals were birds* #Parrott

For those of you familiar with Siri (Apple) or Alexa (Amazon) you will know often they have a little difficulty understanding at times, and Google's Mystery Animal is no different! I  recommend limiting this activity and learning engagement to one speaker at a time; at least to begin with - of course, you can introduce an individual challenge, to see who can guess correctly with the least amount of questions asked.

Some examples include:
  • Are you an amphibian?
  • Do you have claws?
  • Do you live in a tree?
  • Do you eat meat?
  • Are you a plant eater?
  • Do you lay eggs?
Can you guess the Mystery Animal - Good Luck!

Mr Towse

I would love to hear how you are using this or other features of AI in the classroom. As always leave me a comment or Tweet me at MrTowse.

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For those of you reading this who are interested in using this an introduction or a way of cementing the need for coding and computational thinking in the classroom, this video of the designers and founders is a must.

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