If you have a Junior troop they will love working on their Designing Robots badge. This is the 2nd Badge in the Junior 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 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.
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 Junior Badge. This booklet has interactive activities and puzzles that teach girls how to design robots. These activities include using learning about real robots, creating an early prototype, and even designing their own virtual robot. 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 activity booklets from series
- Programming Robots Activity Booklet
- Showcasing Robots Activity Booklet
- Bundle all three and save (Programming, Designing, and Showcasing Robots Activity Booklet Bundle)
Other Fun Robotics Activities
Design a Paper Robot
Your troop can design a robot out of paper, foil, glue, and any other knick knacks you have at home (e.g., buttons, pipe cleaners). The foil gives it the appearance of being made out of metal.
Here are instructions to make the robot above, but you can let your girls make their own creative designs. A lot of the robots of storybooks are humanoid– as in, they look human like C-3PO– but most robots that are in use in the world do not have this appearance. The girls can design a robot that looks more like an animal, or a car, or something completely out of their imagination!
Meet a Robotics Engineer
If you don’t happen to already know someone who is a Robotics Engineer, here’s a video of a Robotics Engineer who works for NASA. It’s a great opportunity to see a female role model working in this challenging field. In addition to including an interview with Dr. Howard, it also includes digital simulations of the robots she works on as well as video of the real-life prototypes she tests in the office.
After watching the video, you can discuss reflection questions like:
- What did you learn about what Robotics Engineers do?
- What do you think is fun or interesting about what Robotics Engineers do?
- What did you notice about the robots that Dr. Howard designs? What features does it have (e.g., wheels)? Does it look like anything you’ve seen before?
- Why do you think she uses a prototype vehicle in her office?
- If you were a Robotics Engineer, what kind of robot would you want to build?
Discuss Famous Robots
An effective robot is one where its design matches its purpose. Ask your girls what robots they’ve seen in real life and in movies or tv shows. Have them sketch out what those robots look like on paper, and then write down:
For example, C-3PO is the robot in Star Wars who helps the heros with translation. He speaks to humans in their native languages. I would guess he is designed to look like a person since his main purpose is to help with communication; looking human might help people feel comfortable talking to him like they would a normal person.
Design a Robot with LEGO
One of the most popular programming robots for kids is the LEGO Mindstorms Robot. What’s cool about this robot is since it’s made out of LEGO pieces, you cando the 5 different suggested designs as well create your own.
The color scheme is basic (red, black, white), but it’s compatible with all LEGO construction sets, so you can build on the basic models with any LEGOs you have at home.
It’s $350, so it’s a significant investment, but it’s highly flexible and can lead to hours of play. The girls can work in teams so that you don’t need to get a set for each girl.
In order to program the robot, you’ll need a regular PC or Mac to use the included software. (Chromebooks don’t work). There’s an app as well, but it only allows for basic functions.
If you don’t want to spend the money to buy a robot, 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.
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