If you have a Brownie troop they will love working on their Designing Robots badge. This is the 2nd Badge in the Brownie Robotics series (here’s the link to the 1st Badge: Programming Robots and the 3rd Badge: Showcasing Robots). Your girls will learn to design their own robot! 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.
Designing Robots Activity Booklet
Before jumping into some ideas, do you want to skip all the planning? If so, use the Designing Robots Activity Booklet to fulfill the requirements for this Brownie Badge. This booklet has interactive activities and design challenges that teach girls how to design robots. These activities include brainstorming how to use different robot parts, learning about biomimicry, and sketching their own robot design. 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!
If you love this badge activity booklet check out the other Brownie activity booklets from series
- Brownie Programming Robots Activity Booklet
- Brownie Showcasing Robots Activity Booklet
- Bundle all three and save for Brownies (Programming, Designing, and Showcasing Robots Activity Booklet Bundle)
Other Fun Robotics Activities
An input is way that a robot takes information into its system. Sensors are inputs because they take in information about the environment– like sensing if there is an obstacle in front of you. Buttons, dials, and dimmers are all inputs.
An output is something that allows a robot to act– like a motor that makes the robot move or a light that turns on or off.
Have one girl play “Input” and the rest of the girls play “Output”. Outputs can be motors that swing their arms or speakers that say silly sounds like “Weewoo!”.
The first “Input” can be something simple, like a button. When Input says she’s “pressed”, then all the Outputs have to do their action until Input says she’s not pressed anymore.
When you take turns, you can make it more difficult. For example, the next Input could be a Dimmer. When the Dimmer says she’s “Low”, then all the Outputs act accordingly; for example, the Motor moves her arm slowly, and the Speaker speaks softly. Then as the Dimmer is moved higher, the Outputs go faster or louder.
Learn about Driverless Cars
Watch this TED talk by the the head of Google’s driverless car program. In it, he explains the purpose of self-driving cars and how his team is designing cars that don’t require people at the wheel.
He shows how their cars use map and sensor data to navigate the road. The cars need to understand how to take that data to determine what trajectory they should follow and how quickly they should move.
Girls can watch the video and then discuss things like:
- What are the benefits and risks of driverless cars?
- If you were to design a driverless car, what would you focus on first and why?
- What do you think would hold people back from using a driverless car? What in the design of the car could address their concerns?
If this animal was a robot…
Biomimicry is a common design inspiration; it’s when designers create robots that imitate nature. Play “if this animal was a robot” by having the leader say the name of an animal out loud. Every girl has 1 minute to sketch out a design of a robot that resembles that animal and a description of what the robot does. For example, a Cheetah robot could catch and collect tennis balls so players wouldn’t have to fetch them.
The girl with the most creative idea wins the round! Another twist on the game is you can have every girl write a name of an animal, insect, or plant on a piece of paper. Put all of the pieces of paper in a hat, and then each girl draws a piece of paper from the hat.
Design Your Own R2D2
Have the girls build their own programmable R2D2 using a Droid Inventor Kit.
This kit was created by littleBits, a company that is trying to make the LEGO of electronics (and which has a female founder!). The kit comes with robot parts that can be snapped together easily using the magnets that are on both ends of each “Bit”. This is a great way for girls to learn about all the different parts of the robot and how they work together to make the robot move, make sounds, and sense its environment.
It’s particularly great for the concepts behind Designing Robots because while it comes with an R2D2 shell, you can actually replace those pieces with anything of your own creation.
It’s less than $100, so less expensive that many other programmable robots on the market. (That said, its programming functionality is limited.)
If you don’t want to spend the money to buy equipment, our Robotics Activity Booklet has step-by-step instructions on how to design robots. All you need are pencils and paper!
What do we do after your Brownie girls complete the badge?
Well of course give them the badge to display proudly on their vest, they earned it! 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, date and troop leader. Click here to get a complete set of Girl Scout Brownie badge and journey certificates.
Related Badges For Multi-level Troops
If you have a multi-level troop you may want to earn the Robot badges with another group level. Here is what is available from the shop.
Check out the Daisy activity booklets from series
- Daisy What Robots Do Activity Booklet
- Daisy How Robots Move Activity Booklet
- Daisy Design a Robot Activity Booklet
- Bundle all three and save for Daisies (What Robots Do, How Robots Move and Design a Robot Activity Booklet Bundle)
Check out the Junior activity booklets from series
- Junior Programming Robots Activity Booklet
- Junior Designing Robots Activity Booklet
- Junior Showcasing Robots Activity Booklet
- Bundle all three and save for Junior troop (Programming, Designing, and Showcasing Robots Activity Booklet Bundle)
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