A student typing on a keyboard.

Turing Tests

Grade 4 - Grade 6

Briana Brownell

Briana Brownell

About the author

Briana Brownell is a Canadian data scientist and technology artist. Her technology-enhanced creative projects span multiple areas, including AI-assisted Shakespearean sonnets, and AI-enhanced, assisted and generated visual art pieces.

Jessa Gamble

Jessa Gamble

About the author

Jessa Gamble is an internationally award-winning science and technology journalist and Penguin Random House author. Her writing has appeared in The Atlantic, Nature, New Scientist and The Guardian.


When artificial intelligence (AI) advances to a certain level, it may be possible to have conversations with machines that feel like speaking to a human. This exercise tests the current state of AI to see whether we can be fooled.

A Turing test is one way of testing the intelligence of a computer. The 20th-century mathematician Alan Turing pointed out that if a computer can have a conversation with a person and make them feel as if they are speaking to another human, we might say it has a certain kind of intelligence. When a person can no longer tell the difference between a conversation generated by the computer and a conversation generated by a person, the computer “passes the Turing test.” In this exercise, students meet a prize-winning chatbot who is famous for her human-like responses.

Viewing Activity

The following is a two-minute video that explains Alan Turing’s theory.

(Jr. Mojo. “ALAN TURING!—Fantastic Facts.” December 18, 2018. YouTube Video, 2:22 minutes).

Learning Goals

  • Introduce AI using chatbots
  • Critically evaluate the chatbot to compare to human conversation 


A computer program designed to simulate conversation with human users
Turing Test
A test for intelligence in a computer, requiring that a human being should be unable to distinguish the machine from another human being by using the replies to questions put to both

Guiding Questions

  1. Has anyone had an experience with artificial intelligence? What was it?
    (Students may be familiar with digital assistants like Siri, Alexa, Cortana et al.).
  2. How do computers help humans? (What are some tasks that computers are good at?)
  3. What are examples of tasks that are a challenge for computers to perform? (Computers are great at doing fast calculations, but not so good at completing creative tasks independently, imitating people, not always good at recognizing speech etc.)

Curriculum Links

This module aligns with provincial and territorial Language Arts curricula, providing an opportunity for students to question what we read, hear and view to be engaged citizens. Students will also have the opportunity to demonstrate willingness to learn new technologies as needed. 


  • A device (computer / tablet / smartphone) with internet connection
  • Free account to chat with Kuki

Non-Computer Activity

Human Conversation

This exercise introduces the unique characteristics of human-to-human conversation. 

Have students form pairs and chat with each other for five minutes. One person is the interviewer and asks a series of questions (ten questions is sufficient) about a topic of their choosing. The other student answers each question. 

For example, what is the opposite of hungry? How does a car work? Why do dogs fly? Have students write down the questions and the answers. 

The questions and answers will then be used in the next activity. 

Computer Activity

Talk to Kuki

Step 1: Type a Document with Your Questions and Answers

Use a word processor (e.g. Google Docs, Microsoft Word, Notepad) to type up the questions and answers from the Human Conversation activity. 

Step 2: Chatbot Conversation

Go online and speak to Kuki, an AI chatbot. (Note to teachers: Set up an account so Kuki does not interrupt the conversation to suggest doing so.)

Ask Kuki the same questions asked in the earlier Human Conversation.

Copy and paste the transcript of the conversation with Kuki into your document, entering the answers either before or after those from the human conversation.

Step 3: Disguise the AI Conversation

Format the partner and Kuki conversations so that they are identical by making the font and font size the same. Do not change any of the actual text. The goal is to make telling the difference between the responses as hard as possible for the next team.

Step 4: Be the Judge

Have each pair of students look at the transcripts from three other pairs and see whether they can determine which was the human conversation. 



Question 1: Were any of the Kuki conversations human enough to fool us? Why, or Why not?

Question 2: What is a mind? How can you tell if you’re speaking to another person?

Optional: Schedule a video call with Kuki with the class. Please note, at the time of printing, this feature was currently in beta testing and requires a short application process.


Additional Resources

Social Media Resources

Kuki_ai is on these social media platforms:

We want to see the awesome things you’re creating! Take a photo or video and share your work with us by emailing media@pinnguaq.com or tagging @pinnguaq on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. Don’t forget to include the hashtag #LearnWithPinnguaq

This lesson plan originally appeared in the fourth issue of Root & STEM, Pinnguaq’s free print and online STEAM resource supporting educators in teaching digital skills