Building Artificial Neural Networks

Building Artificial Neural Networks with Arduinos
A Week-long Curriculum Unit for Grades 9-12 Biology and AP Biology Classes

In this unit, students will explore the applications of artificial neural networks, especially in the field of artificial intelligence. Students will learn about the history of artificial intelligence, explore the concept of neural networks through activities and computer simulation, and then construct a simple, three-level artificial neural network using Arduinos to simulate neurons. After building the network, they will be challenged to discover how altering the connections or programming of the “neurons” alters the behavior of the network. Finally, students will explore the ethical implications of building artificially intelligent machines.

The lessons were developed by Lawrence Bencivengo Jr. of Mercer Island High School (Mercer Island, Wash.) and Benjamin Hart of Redmond High School (Redmond, Wash.) as part of the 2015 CSNE Research Experience for Teachers program.

Note: This is a draft unit currently undergoing piloting in classrooms.

Download the full PDF here. Download the PowerPoint file for Lesson Three here.

Lesson One: Introduction to AI

Lesson Two: Introducing Artificial Neural Networks (ANNs)

Lesson Three: Introducing Arduinos

Lesson Four: Building Neural Networks with Arduinos