The Emotion Machine Activity

The class program a card robot face to show different emotions one after another.EmotionMachineSmall

This is a very simple way to introduce the idea of programs and sequences of instructions as well as computational thinking ideas like algorithmic thinking and decomposition. It can also lead to ideas about abstraction.

Learn about:

  • algorithmic thinking
  • programming
  • decomposition
  • sequences of instructions
  • computational thinking
  • abstraction

This session comes with linked activity sheets and ‘story’ write-ups that you can download:

Other Ideas

For christmas: create emotional elf, snowman or father christmas  robot faces that you can program to change the emotions on. Use our emotional robot cards as a template to have the class draw their own face pictures with the slots in the same places. Then program the face by pulling the eye, mouth and nose strips to different settings. Perhaps even use them in a puppet show where their expressions change at appropriate points as directed by a script.

A wonderful way to use the emotion machine was used by Donna Golightly: asking students to code and name an emotion, reflecting on a moment in time linked to that emotion, dictating it and then sharing it.


This activity closely links to the create-a-face activity.

Back to activities


Social Robot video – Blade

Make A Face video


Dutch translations
Dwengo have translated the Emotion machine (with variants), downloadable as PDFs.

One thought on “The Emotion Machine Activity

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.