Wire Cutters

Age Range: 7 - 11
By: Sam Collins

Genre(s): Science Fiction

A chance encounter proves fateful for two robots mining on a desolate planet. Share this fantastic video with your children and try some of our suggested teaching ideas!

Teaching Ideas and Resources:


  • Stop the film at different points (for example 0:57, 4:13, 4:17, 6:03-6:04, 7:36). What are the robots thinking? 
  • What do you think the material is that they are mining? What is it used for? Make a “fact file” about it.
  • Does this remind you of any other films (for example Pixar’s Wall-E)? Compare and contrast the robots in the films.
  • How would you describe the setting of the story? Use a thesaurus to collect adjectives to describe the planet. Contrast this with the scenes showing the atmosphere above the clouds. 
  • The filmmaker intended the story to be a fable - which other fables do you know? Can you write your own fable?
  • Write a narration for the story.
  • Write a report about mining on the planet.
  • Write a dialogue between the two robots.
  • Write a newspaper report describing the incident.
  • Write an alternative ending for the story where the robots find a way to resolve their conflict.
  • Write a balanced argument discussing the pros and cons of mining on another planet.


  • Research rocks and soils. What do we use rocks for? How do we mine for rocks on earth? How might it be different on another planet?


  • Watch this behind the scenes video and make some simple line animations as shown in the first 40 seconds of the film:

  • Create your own planetscape in Minecraft.

Design Technology

  • Design your own mining robot. What features would be important to make it efficient?
  • Research different mining equipment
  • Find out about solar energy and how it can be used.


  • Draw your own planetscapes. Think about which art materials you could use to get the right effect. 
  • Make a storyboard for the film.
  • Draw your own robot. Think about how the filmmaker has conveyed emotion using just the robots’ eyes. Draw four different versions showing different emotions.
  • Make a poster to advertise the film.


  • The first half of the film only has sound effects - can you compose some music for that part of the  film?
  • Listen to the music in the second half of the film, what kind of instruments have been used? What effect does it give?


  • What is the impact of mining on the environment? What are the benefits of mining? Write a report about it. 


  • Research mining in history. How was mining done before machines? What kinds of materials have been mined?


  • Can you think of examples where you have worked with another person to do something you couldn’t do alone? 
  • What goes wrong in the relationship? What could the robots do to put it right?
  • The little robot lets his anger get the better of him and it leads to a tragic end. What can you do when you are angry to help you deal with it?


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