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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Robotic Scouts of America

Boy Scout Robotics
The Robotics merit badge is part of the Boy Scouts of America´s (BSA) new curriculum emphasis on STEM: science, technology, engineering, and math. The BSA focus on STEM takes a fun, adventurous approach to helping Scouts develop critical skills that are relevant and needed in today’s competitive world. The new merit badge is one of 31 STEM-related merit badges that Scouts can earn.
“The Robotics merit badge is an example of how Scouting remains true to its roots to help young people be prepared,” said BSA Chief Scout Executive Bob Mazzuca. “While the guiding principles of Scouting - service to others, leadership, personal achievement, and respect for the outdoors - will never change, we continue to adapt programs to prepare young people for success in all areas of life.”
This merit badge involved approximately 14 months of development and input from more than 150 youth members, leaders, and industry professionals from across the nation. Earning the Robotics merit badge requires a Scout to understand how robots move (actuators), how they sense the environment (sensors), and how they understand what to do (programming). Scouts will spend approximately 14 hours meeting the requirements of this merit badge, including that they design a robot and demonstrate how it works. The BSA anticipates more than 10,000 Robotics merit badges will be earned in its first year.

The robotics merit badge program is supported by AUVSI Foundation, Carnegie Mellon Robotics Academy, Carnegie Science Center, Roboworld, iRobot Corporation, LEGO Education North America, Museum of Science, Boston, NASA, National Electronics Museum, National Robotics Week, Robotics Education and Competition Foundation, University of Texas-Dallas, Science and Engineering Education Center, VEX Robotics, Inc.

Girl Scout Robotics

Sadly the 2.3 million Girl Scout of the USA (GSUSA) members are not part of the new boy scouts robotics STEM program but have to manage their own robotics program.

Girl Scouts started a partnership with FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) in 2008 to encourage more girls into STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) careers, and gender equity. In 2009 six Girl Scout teams from around the country participated in the 2009 FIRST Robotics World Championship. The partnership is made possible through support from the Motorola Foundation.

In 2011 the GENIUS robotics team from the Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta, a team of six girls, ages 12-13, was the first all girls team to win 1st place at the Georgia State FIRST LEGO League Tournament. GENIUS was one of 80 teams invited to participate in the FIRST World Festival in St. Louis in April 2011.  GENIUS chose to help out their friend, Quinn, a 10 year old boy who uses a wheelchair due to a neuromuscular disease called Spinal Muscular Atrophy. Quinn had trouble seeing behind his wheelchair, making it difficult to backup. The team developed a backup system for Quinn’s chair using a camera and monitor. The girls raised money and worked with engineers from Georgia Tech, to install the camera system on Quinn’s wheelchair. The girls are planning to install another backup system on the wheelchair of a fellow Girl Scout.
Girl scouts that participate in FIRST LEGO League (FLL) are eligible to earn the Girl Scout Robotics Participation Patch

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