To earn the badge, scouts must, among other robot-related requirements (PDF): design, build, program, and test a robot; demonstrate the bot and share their engineering notes; attend a robotics competition or do research on robotics contests; and explain how robots are used today. For many young scouts, that probably won’t be hard, given that they’re growing up in a world where bots are being used to do everything from perform surgery and assist in disaster rescue to clean floors, mow lawns, and massage aching backs.
The Robotics merit badge is part of the BSA’s 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.
“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,” BSA Chief Scout Executive Bob Mazzuca said in a statement.
This is great news for scouts and technology. Boys love tech, and these new interesting fields are great challenges for scouts looking to get ahead. I hope to see more technology merit badges in the years to come. Technology is a job field with limitless possibilities.
If you’re interested in learning robotics, consider taking a class in Junior LEGO WeDo Robotics or LEGO MindStorm NXT Robotics. Classes and camps allow children to learn from instructors and peers about motors, gears, sensors and computer programming, all while fun playing with LEGOs.
Are you a Scout looking to attain this new Robotics Merit Badge? Have you attained it already? Tell us about it in the comments below.