If you have a Junior troop they will love working on their Programming Robots badge. This is the 1st Badge in the Junior Robotics series (here’s the link to the 2nd Badge: Designing Robots and 3rd Badge: Showcasing Robots). Your girls will learn how the mind of a robot works and how to code! 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!
Junior 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 Junior Badge. This booklet has tons of hands on activities and puzzles that teach girls how robots work. These activities include using binary code, creating their own algorithms, and even writing real code to control a 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
Other Fun Robotics Activities
Robots need to follow the instructions that programmers give them. Split the girls in pairs– one girl will play robot first, and the other the programmer.
While the robot girls wait in another room where they can’t hear, have the programmers write a set of instructions out on paper that the robots will have to carry out. You can give them something straightforward (e.g., make a jelly sandwich), or allow them to think of something silly (e.g., take a selfie doing a funny dance).
When the robots come in, give them their “programs” (the instructions). The programmers cannot give the robots any additional instruction beyond what is written already. This teaches the girls they need to be very clear in their instructions; if the robot is confused– that’s an area when the program can be improved! Have the them take turns being the robot.
Robots are all around us– can you find them? Take the girls to a shopping mall and give each of them paper and a pen/pencil. You can split them into teams if you want to make it a competition. The goal is to find as many robots as possible. Girls have to write down the name of the robot and its function (what does it do?)
E.g., Roomba: it vacuums floors
Robots think in “binary” based on ones and zeroes, or on and off. Use the binary decoder below to figure out the secret message!
What does the secret message say?
One of our favorite robots for kids is the Dash Robot. It’s a bit pricey, but it’s durable and the apps you need to program it are free. If you get multiple robots, your girls can have a robot race! Set a starting and end point and give them a set amount of time to program their robot race code. For a more advanced race, you can make a track using painter’s tape (see below).
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 program a virtual robot. All you need is a computer with internet access.
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