Girl Scout Robotics Badges Suggestions

Hello there,
My name is Emily Ruf. I am an Ambassador Girl Scout and am in 11th grade. (this is my 12th-year in Girls Scouts :stuck_out_tongue: ) I am also on FRC team 2075 :slight_smile: :grey_question: :robot: Aside from badges Girls also can work on something called “leadership journies”. There are 3 for each age group. The leadership journey consists of a book with small activities and informative articles about a certain leadership skill and a larger project you complete throughout. The ambassador Leadership Journey I am working on is called “Your Voice, Your world” and is about advocacy.
For my project, my goal is to advocate for more accessibility for Girl Scouts interested in robotics. I have heard from some leaders and scouts that the series of official GSUSA robotics badges have some things that make them hard to complete. While the badges don’t necessarily need a ton of technical experience, they can be intimidating. Girl Scout leaders who aren’t very knowledgable about robotics tend to struggle to help there Girls complete these badges and some avoid doing them altogether. My goal for this project is to do a letter-writing campaign to Girl Scouts councils around the country with ways they can better promote and support these badges.
Some ideas I already would like to suggest are for councils to offer badge kits that troops can check out that contain detailed instructions and supplies for completing these badges. One of my other ideas is for councils to offer troops access to a directory of local robotics programs that may be able to help them through challenging parts of the badges or offer further opportunities for interested girls.
I thought a good way to improve my project is to engage the FIRST community through Chief Delphi. Does anybody have any suggestions? What are the ways that have worked in your own team or community to improve access? What are ways that you have engaged young women specifically? Has anybody else experienced problems with the Girl Scout Robotics badges? I would love to hear anybody’s thoughts on this project. Clearly, this is all very tentative and I’m not any sort of official relationship with Girl Scouts on this project.
Lot’s of Love,
Emmy
:honeybee: :sunny: :sunflower: :peace_symbol: :dove: :v:
P.S. Is there a category this post would be more appropriate in? I tried my best but I couldn’t find a good spot, so I’m just going to post it in general.

6 Likes

I really like this project, thank you for posting it here!

What are the technical requirements? This is mostly a technical forum, so most of your replies will probably focus on cost reduction and educational resources to complete the technical objectives.

What resources do you already plan to link to?

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Hi Emmy,

On Team 840 our Outreach/Media subteam developed a really good and repeatable SCOUTreach curriculum that we are very proud of. We have had great success with multiple girl scout troops in our area. Here was our post from a few weeks ago which goes into more detail on how we have been doing it. And we made a website for it too which goes into the details and ideas and what you can do to host your own events.

If you have any more questions feel free to PM @shelbycherkas (our Business/Outreach Lead).

-Aryan

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Mainly the requirements for actual build and programming are pretty vague which is where the challenges start to come in. For example on the step in the Senior (9th & 10th grade) badge is "Build a robot part:
One of the most common types of robots consist of only an arm.
In factories, robot arms are used to move heavy objects. Their power comes
from hydraulic systems that push pistons open and closed with high pressure
liquids. But robot arms can also make it possible to perform superhuman tasks
such as delicate microscopic surgery, making them one of the most versatile
types of robotic machines. Build a simple robot arm that uses hydraulic
systems and is made of everyday materials. Once you understand how the
system works, see if you can add a robot gripper that you can use to pick
something up! "
And this is one of the more detailed and specific ones. I’m not really positive on what sort of resources are best. I’m also working on interview leaders for some specific things that would make these badges easier for them.

Wow. Offhand, I don’t see how “hydraulic systems” and “made of everyday materials” is possible, unless you use a very loose definition of everyday materials. You’re going to need some sort of syringe at a minimum I suppose you could adapt a turkey baster, but even then that’s hardly “everyday materials.”

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As someone who owns a STEM enrichment business that uses LEGO bricks, I’ve been in touch with the local council and we’ve discussed summer programs where the company’s curriculum can help fulfill their requirements. I can see the parallels with a badge kit concept; in the end, someone who can arrange the materials and get them over the hump is going to go a long way. (We’ve had a similar thing happen in some local schools, where we bring a recurring program to the site as it’s easier for them to fund a vendor than it is to hire someone in-house to deliver the programming and source the materials.)

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Ah, that makes sense. It sounds like the bureaucrats designing the badge requirements had at least four or six project ideas in mind and wrote the prompts to cover all of them.

Taking care of “down-selecting” to specific materials recommendations seems like a very worthy project!

Syringes and rubber tubing, attached to some kind of structure.
I’ve worked on a program that implemented a “crane” (arm) using Vex EDR components for structure, with syringes for motion.

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Hi Emily,

I’m Era, and I’m the Business Captain of Space Cookies, FRC Team 1868 and Girl Scout Troop 62868. I’ve been a Girl Scout for 10 years! I’m so glad you’re working to engage the FIRST community in Girl Scout STEM programs.

We’ve been involved in developing robotics curriculum for Girl Scouts since the launch of their STEM Pledge, and we understand how hard it can be to complete robotics badge requirements. We’ve also held robotics badge workshops consistently at Girl Scout outreach events and for independent troops in our community. In addition to in-person outreach, we provide virtual resources for Girl Scouts on our website including the opportunity to video chat with a Space Cookie! Before Girl Scouts’ launch, we created our own STEM badge curriculum that can be found here.

Some of the harder requirements include visiting a lab, going to a competition, and talking to robotics team members. We developed the “FIRST STEM Pledge Kit” to help complete these requirements. The kit is a resource that teaches FIRST teams how to host Girl Scout competition tours at their regional. You can download it here. We hope your team considers running tours at your upcoming competition!

Also, I think we can help with your goal to do a letter-writing campaign to Girl Scouts councils around the country. We’ve recently met with the Girl Scouts CEO of Northern California who will be publicizing our kit and is working on getting us in touch with GS USA HQ. We would be happy to help you get your message to the group of council CEOs that is meeting in April.

Thank you for sharing your project!

Best,
Era
Space Cookies 1868

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As a Troop Co-Leader (Brownies are mine, but we have Daisy’s through Ambassador’s), I am eagerly following this thread. I am also going to be attacking the links posted here already as I’ve been trying to figure out how to accomplish some of these badges through the various rank levels of our troop.

On My Honor,
Nate - Troop 2022, Casa Grande, AZ

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Yeah… but I don’t know anyone who has rubber tubing just sitting around the house. I certainly wouldn’t call it “everyday materials.”

Have you reached out to the Lady Cans, FRC #2881? They are a Girl Scout team and might be able to share some ideas.

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