AI-4: Ocean Observations

8-10 yrs old

11-13 yrs old

14-18 yrs old

Climate & Environment

Computer Science

Introduction to AI concepts, Lesson 4

avatar Submitted By: Minecraft Education

November 6, 2020


  • Creativity
  • Critical Thinking

Learning Objectives

  • In this lesson the students will learn:
  • The concept of building a live dataset using sensor.
  • The concept of autonomous navigation and pathfinding.
  • The use of autonomous navigation and pathfinding in robotics to automate jobs in sensitive locations.

Guiding Ideas


Tell the students: they have been sent to help ocean researchers gather data and maintain the equipment that does so. These researchers are observing an ocean coral reef, using sensors, and need to gather large volumes of live data for an AI. To map the reef. This is done as a part of a scientific investigation that studies the impact of climate change. Coral reefs are a good indication of the state of our climate and the overall impact of climate change on ocean life. Many species have made these reefs their home as they provide food and shelter.

The Agent needs to be coded so that it can reach the research equipment that is on the ocean floor and repair it when necessary. This is quite difficult as it needs to be able to autonomously navigate itself to the broken equipment. It needs to do this by finding the most suitable path as the coral reefs are delicate, filled with obstacles, and jagged edges. The pathfinding AI that will be used will utilize reinforcement machine learning algorithms.

A partner called OOICloud is using AI to achieve a similar goal of distributing relevant data to scientists around the world so that we can better understand the impacts of climate change. For more information on their activities:


Student Activities

ACTIVITIES: 30 minutes

Activity 1: The great blue.

Activity 2: Underwater data.

Activity 3: Future proofing.

Activity 4: Testing it out.

Performance Expectations


Ask the students about the skills that they have learned during the lesson, to reinforce the concepts.

1. Why does the Agent need to utilize AI to find the best path through the coral reef to reach the sensors?

Answer: Coral reefs are filled with obstacles and the Agent needs to be able to avoid them even if something in the reef changes. AI it can then automatically generate routes depending on the state of the coral reef.


2. In this lesson, why does the AI need to use live data to map the terrain?

Answer: The terrain in the reef is constantly changing, and so that the Agent’s routes can avoid obstacles they need to be updated in real-time.




  • Creativity
  • Critical Thinking