Girl Scouts is all about being girl-led, and developing new programs is no exception. That’s why we surveyed girls to find out which science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) topics they most want to explore. The results weren’t surprising—computer science, engineering, and outdoor STEM landed in the top three!
Today’s digital natives live in a world powered by technology. They want to do more than experience it; they want to help create it. Girls said they want to learn how to create apps, design video games, build robots, develop websites, create digital avatars, and much more. Because they know that code informs every aspect of their lives, and they want to know how to use it to shape their world.
To meet this need, Girl Scouts has collaborated with Code.org, the national leader in providing computer science curricula for youth, to develop robotics and computational-thinking programs for girls. “We are thrilled to partner with Girl Scouts to introduce more girls to computational thinking,” said Hadi Partovi, founder and CEO of Code.org. “In the 21st century, these critical-thinking and problem-solving skills are essential for all girls as they become tomorrow’s leaders and innovators.”
Research indicates that girls “opt out” of STEM as early as second or third grade, so our initial program launch focused on elementary school girls. Girl Scouts and Code.org share a common goal—to make sure every girl believes that computer science is for her and that she has opportunities to continue learning, experimenting, and coding. To that end, we are currently developing middle and high school computational-thinking and robotics programs.
Badges and Awards for Girl Scout Daisies
Daisy Think Like a Programmer Award: Daisies participate in computational-thinking activities and learn how programmers solve problems.
What Robots Do Badge: For their first robotics badge, Daisies learn that robots are so much more than metallic figures that show up in cartoons! They also learn about the various jobs that engineers hold and use engineering skills to design a robot that solves an everyday problem.
How Robots Move Badge: After learning about the different parts of a robot, Daisies are ready to start their computer programming journey! Computational thinking helps Daisies understand how robots act on instructions.
Design a Robot Badge: Everyday problems can sometimes be solved with the help of simple machines, such as gears, levers, and pulleys. To solve a problem, Daisies brainstorm, design, and build a prototype robot.
Badges and Awards for Girl Scout Brownies
Brownie Think Like a Programmer Award: Brownies participate in interactive computational-thinking activities and learn how programmers solve problems.
Programming Robots Badge: When Brownies begin to explore computer programming, they also need to know how robots gather data and information. Girls practice coding on a device and build simple machines to explore how robots act on instructions.
Designing Robots Badge: Robots are often inspired by humans and nature, so Brownies learn about biomimicry and build a robot arm! These budding engineers also build a robot that helps humans or animals with a simple task.
Showcasing Robots Badge: Learning about robotics competitions and science fairs prepares Brownies to present their own robots. Additional inspiration comes from talking to experts and members of robotics teams, and troops will even be encouraged to check out a robot in action!
Badges and Awards for Girl Scout Juniors
Junior Think Like a Programmer Award: Juniors participate in interactive computational-thinking activities and learn how programmers solve problems.
Programming Robots Badge: Juniors learn how robots receive instructions (which isn’t so different from how axons work in the human brain!) Girls study the anatomy of a robot and create a simple machine. They also practice coding using tangrams to explore algorithms.
Designing Robots Badge: Learning about artificial intelligence in the field of robotics is the next step for Juniors. To earn this badge, girls talk about what robots can do, identify a global problem, and create a plan for a robot to solve it.
Showcasing Robots Badge: After Juniors build their robots, they talk with experts and members of robotics teams to learn more about competitions and science fairs. By presenting their own robots, girls have a chance to share their knowledge and practice presentation skills, like a true leader!
For more information about the new badges, visit www.girlscouts.org/ourprogram.
Select badges were created by Girl Scouts of the USA with contributions from notable organizations in the STEM and outdoor industries, including Code.org, GoldieBlox, the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics, SciStarter, the Society of Women Engineers, and WGBH/Design Squad.