5 Fun Activities To Help Your Girls Earn the Cadette Programming Robots Badge

This post may contain affiliate links and this site is not connected with, affiliated with, approved by, endorsed by The Girl Scouts of the USA or the Frontier Girls. Ideas are my own and I share to help you run your troops with ease.

Have your girls ever been interested in robot development? If your looking for ideas to learn how to create and design, build and program, and later present and show off a robot with your girls, you have come to the right place. Using some of these activities below to teach your girls how the mind of a robot works and how to code it.

Below are a few ideas to get you started.

We partnered with CodeSpeak Labs, which specializes in computer science education for kids, to bring you these resources!

Programming a Robot Activity Booklet

Before jumping into some ideas, do you want to skip all the planning? If so, use this Activity Booklet with tons of hands on activities and puzzles that teach girls how robots work.  These activities include learning about artificial intelligence, programming a virtual robot, and converting numbers into binary! With step-by-step activities, you can’t ask for a easier way to run your meeting. Learn more about this activity booklet and get yours today!

Be sure to also checkout these other activities your girls will love:

Other Fun Robotics Activities

Learn about autonomous vehicles

Self-driving cars, or autonomous vehicles, are the most talked about robots in the world today. Since they will likely have a direct impact on the girls’ lives and even be used by them in the near future, they’re an accessible way to discuss the benefits and potential risks of robotics.

Watch this 4 min video and then discuss.

Here are some discussion questions to help kick things off:

  • Would you rather have a self-driving car that prioritizes saving your own life… or one that prioritizes minimizing harm (saving the lives of 10 other people)?
  • Is a random decision more beneficial than a predetermined decision that minimizes harm?
  • Who should be responsible for the car’s decision making?

Build a virtual circuit

With just an internet connected device, girls can build a multitude of circuits online using the Circuit World website.

When you build a complete, closed circuit, your lamp will light up! You can add switches, wires, resistors, and more. It’s a great way to experiment and practice. If the girls are completely new to circuits, you should likely build a few together so they understand how it works. It is a blank slate, open-ended platform, so girls may need more guidance.

Circuit Maze- and race!

If you want to get even deeper into circuits, check out the Circuit Maze game. You’ll likely want to get 1 set for every 2 girls.

The way it works is that the girls are given incomplete circuits, and they have to figure out how to put in the missing pieces– in the correct orientation!– in order to make the LEDs light up.

Kids get really into trying to beat either a countdown timer or other teams. The format gets girls to practice experimenting, failing, and learning quickly.

Program with Arduino

As the girls get more into robotics, they’ll likely want to start using Arduino, which is the most popular DIY, open-source hardware/software system. A great introduction to Arduino is the Digital Sandbox, which comes with an instructional manual and a step-by-step guide to 13 different challenges.

You download Arduino to your PC and Mac and connect the Sandbox to your computer via a USB cable. For girls with no experience, you can start with Ardublock, which is an easier drag-and-drop coding language, or you can start with the adult, text-based Arduino.

The kit requires no soldering or assembly, so the focus really is on learning the basics of programming the board to make LEDs light up, to use the sensors, etc.

If you don’t want to spend the money to buy equipment, the Programming Robots Activity Booklet has step-by-step instructions on how to program a virtual robot. All you need is a computer with internet access.

What do we do after your girls complete the activities?

Well of course give them the badge to display proudly on their vest, they earned it!  You could also do a fun patch. Here is a real cute one:
Robotics Fun Patch

Get Your Robotics Fun Patch Now

Additionally If you are like many leaders we want to award our girls when they complete something even beyond just the patch. One great way to show achievement is with a certificate. Don’t worry you don’t have to make them, I found a resource that has done all the work for you and all you have to do is print them and customize the certificates with each girl’s name, badge or award earned, date, and troop leader.  Editable certificates perfect for awarding girls after earning a badge.

Related Activities For Multi-level Troops

If you have a multi-level troop you may want to use one of the variations to this program that is geared toward the age of your girls.

K – 1st grade activities:

2nd – 3rd grade activities:

4th – 5th grade activities:


More Resources For You Beyond This Site

I get asked a lot what other resources are out there on the internet for Leaders.  I have done some digging over the years and have used many of the resources myself. I compiled a list of some great companies that sell patches, programs and also other bloggers offering amazing resources that may fit your needs even better than my site did.   Checkout what I found.