7th February 2003 at 00:00
Fiction helps us come to terms with new ideas and writers have long been aware of robots. Karel Capek first named them in his 1920 play, RUR (Rossum's Universal Robots). The Czech word robota means "work" or "drudgery". Capek's robots, unlike Roomba, rose against their masters.

At KS2-3 there is plenty of scope for examining the genre. Look at writers such as Ray Bradbury (www.raybradbury.com) and Isaac Asimov (www.asimovonline.com). Bradbury's stories engage the imagination - domestic appliances and agricultural machines revolt against humans and robotised houses survive their inhabitants. Asimov is dry, intellectual, but lays down the ground rules for the genre. See The Three Laws of Robotics.

As a stimulus for creative work, don't forget Douglas Trumbull's film Silent Running.

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers

Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar, Buyagift.com, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today