Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) made some serious press over the summer when they announced the release of the new STEM based badges. I was super excited to get my hands on them, only to be disappointed to learn that the badge requirement booklets hadn't been released yet! If you read my blogs or know me, you know I am a life-long Girl Scout. I am a Gold Award recipient, the highest award in Girl Scouting, a Camp Director, and I even worked at the Council level running the leadership programs for older girls before moving into a volunteer role as a First Lego League Coach for a Girl Scout robotics team and now a multi-level troop leader. Girl Scouts is in my blood. Merging the Girl Scout with my not so inner geek has my brain feeling content and happy. I was finally able to download several of the STEM badge packets when they came available, and yes, they were the Robotics badges! I spent some time going through the Daisy, Brownie and Junior level badge steps and making some notes of resources to use. As an educator, engineer and former robotics coach, I feel I have a wealth of resources and experiences that I can share to help some troop leaders help their girls fulfill the badge requirements. The one thing I have found with adults, is the lack of ability to think outside the box and go outside of their comfort zone. I see the "deer in headlights" look when I start spouting off about STEM and technology resources. Their eyes glaze over and I inevitably get the response "I can't do that".
This is the biggest issue with our STEM education is that as adults we view STEM as scary, as hard, as something only a few excel at. At some point in adulthood we stop being sponges of information and become a brick wall. We are afraid of failing and our students and our kids see our fear and it transfers down to them. STEM is not scary! It filters into every aspect of our lives.
So, I am going to break down each of the badges and add some great resources to use to complete these awesome new badges in subsequent posts.