5 Fun Activities To Earn the Brownie Programming Robot Badge

If you have a Brownie troop they will love working on their Programming Robots badge. This is the 1st Badge in the Brownie Robotics series.(here’s the link to the 2nd Badge: Designing Robots and the 3rd Badge: Showcasing Robots).Your girls will learn to program their own virtual 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.  

Programming Robots Activity Booklet

Before jumping into some ideas, do you want to skip all the planning? If so, use the Programming Robots Activity Booklet to fulfill the requirements for this Brownie Badge. This booklet has interactive activities and puzzles that teach girls how to program robots. These activities include identifying real robots, learning sing-a-longs with robot vocabulary, and reading computer code. 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

Other Fun Robotics Activities

Watch and Discuss Real Life Robots

Since so many girls will know what Amazon is, this is a great video to start a conversation about real life robots and how they impact our lives.

Amazon is known for its amazingly fast shipping, and part of what makes that possible are its incredible robots in their fulfillment centers, which process and pack all the goods customers get to their homes.

The video doesn’t have any audio, so you can have the discussion while the video is playing and prompt girls to think about the different robots that they see. For example:

  • What do you think that robot is doing?
  • Why do you think it is designed the way it is? / Why does it look that way?
  • Why do you think Amazon thinks it is better for a robot to do that job rather than a person?

Do an Hour of Code

Hour of Code is the largest worldwide database of coding activities for kids; organizations like CodeSpeak Labs, LEGO, and Wonder Workshop all contribute activities that can be completed in one hour.

They have a robotics-specific section on their website here. It can be filtered by grade, topic, and technology available. They all require a hardware purchase based on what the activity is.

This website is very popular with teachers who participate in National Computer Science Week in the US, so if you want to use one of these activities, you’ll likely want to ask the girls if they’ve done an Hour of Code activity before.

Play a Binary Game

The team at CodeSpeak Labs created this simple game in Scratch that students can use to learn about binary numbers, which is what robots use.

All students need to do is click on the zeros to switch them to ones (and vice versa). The goal is to turn a regular number into binary. Cute penguins tell you the goal number and the number you’ve constructed so far.

Just based on playing this game, you can ask the girls how they think binary numbers are constructed. What do they notice about how each number relates to the one before it, going from 1… 2… 4… 8 and onward?

Then they can read this article explaining how binary numbers work.

Create a Modular Robot

Get a set of Cubelets, a set of blocks that can introduce kids to robotics concepts. Each block has a specific purpose– for example, one block is a the battery/ power block, another is the “Drive” block that moves, while another is the “Brightness” block that senses light. You combine the pieces to make, for example, a device that will automatically drive in the dark.

It also comes with two Brick Adapters, so you can add on LEGO and make larger creations.

It’s almost $300, so it’s a significant investment, but the girls can work together on a set. You can demo it in front of everyone and then give them a chance to complete challenges and have open play time. There is an app, but a lot of the building, learning and fun can happen without it.

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 a virtual robot. All you need is a computer with internet access.

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

Check out the Junior activity booklets from series