Posts tagged #girl scouts

Google and Troop Communication

The task of organizing a troop with calendars, emails, forms, and documents can seem daunting. I have an easy method to keep most of what I need all in one place. I use Google!

Use the following Google apps to make your planning more organized.

Troop Parent Handbook: Do you have one?

Do you bother with creating a Troop Parent Handbook? Some people might think it's too much but, in my opinion, it lays a foundation for how you plan to lead the troop, your expectations of parents/guardians and how you can work as a team to have a successful year. It's a hard copy of when and where you have your meetings, your objectives, contact information and policies and procedures you have for events and outings….

Girl Scout Camp Weekend: Tips on Planning your Trip

Every year we try to do at least one camp weekend with our GS troop. This year, since it's one of the things the girls really love and look forward to, I hope to do one a season! The planning process from troop leadership can seem overwhelming. It's a big weekend and the more girls/adults you have attending the more work you will have to put into it. But, after all is said and done, it's totally worth it. If you haven't considered an overnight or camp with your troop I strongly encourage it! The excitement, sister scout bonding, life skills and lasting memories are just a few of the things you and your group will take away.

Ocean Pollution Clean Up Experiment

We then took a walk around the neighborhood and collected trash on the streets. We connected how this trash could easily get in the sewers or nearby river (which leads into the Mississippi River--->and then into ---> the Gulf of Mexico.

Brownie Designing Robots Part 2

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If you are just joining us, we previously completed Part 1 of the Brownie Designing Robots badge! We broke the badge into two meetings because it really does require that much time if you are focused on what they are learning and not just completing the badge.

We searched and searched the internet to find an easy and affordable robot idea for the second part of this badge. It can be hard to find the right supplies but you're in luck, we have included them for you in this post! 

Create your prototype

The idea came from a fantastic tutorial on bristlebots. You can find the tutorial here: http://www.instructables.com/id/Bristlebot-1/ They do a great job of explaining and providing pictures along the way.

What you need:

Before the meeting:

Before your meeting, you will want to cut the toothbrushes down with your garden shears. You will also want to prepare the motors by stripping about 1/2 inch off of the end of each wire with your wire stripper. I also separated the materials into ziplock bags for each girl so distribution during the meeting would be easy. 

We started the meeting explaining what we were going to do and then we showed the video below to the girls. We always have great success with video media and the girls' attention span!!

We then handed each girl a ziplock sandwich bag with all of the supplies they would need to create their bots.

With the instructables website up on the projector screen (or you can print it out), we did each step together.

Debug

Oh were there bugs!!! Not just Bug Bots, but obstacles with constructing and getting them to work. But ya know what? That is the purpose of the last step!! Trial and Error. Isn't that what engineering and life is all about?

The bug doesn't work?

Here are a couple ideas to troubleshoot a bot that doesn't work...

  • There is an object (probably a finger or googly eye) blocking the motor from spinning
  • the wire attached to the foam tape is submerged into the tape and is not conducting electricity
  • The wire is not properly touching the other end of the battery.

And there ya have it! You have successfully completed the Designing Robots badge!!! I hope you found this section helpful and if you are looking for Part 1 you can find it here: Designing Robots Part 1. Leave us some love in the comments below and let us know what you would like to see next!!

Brownie Designing Robots Badge Part 1

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I was super excited over the summer when they announced the new S.T.E.M badges. We have been trying to incorporate more S.T.E.M activities in our home for the girls. Last year we got the girls the Dash robot for Christmas and they seem to genuinely have an interest in the programming fun.

When the requirements for the badges came out, I have to admit, I was a bit confused. I must have reviewed the Volunteer Toolkit way too many times and then I realized, like with most of the resources offered, they always seem to be lacking creativity and visual explanation. So, I took to trusty Pinterest to assist with my research and planning.

Here is Part 1 of the Designing Robots Brownie Badge. I do recommend doing this in 2 meetings. It's A LOT and not a badge I would try to cram into one session. They won't take away much if you rush it and that defeats the purpose, right?

Robots Imitate Nature

I was so not a fan of the video recommendations on the VTK. My girls have such a short attention span so anytime I show a video it needs to be engaging! Here is a great substitute that also reinforced their Daisy Flower Garden Journey they completed last year (in case you are a multi-level troop)

Different Robot Parts

For this step, the girls partnered up. Each pair got a marker and a sheet of blank paper. One partner was given an example and they had to pose like a robot. The other partner had to draw what a robot would look like in that pose. Example of a pose: Robot playing basketball. 

Each person was given a chance to pose and draw/ We discussed the different examples of robotic parts they used in their drawings.... joints, gears, levers, pulleys, wheels, sensors, etc.

The girls went on to build their own robotic arms to further explore how robots are like humans and biomimicry. They built arms that could both extend and grab an object.

We lightly taped white lunch bags (filled with little prizes) to the wall for our mystery bag challenge! We taped them slightly above the girl's reach. To my surprise, the extender arms worked (for most)!!! This activity was a suggestion from the VTK. I liked the idea of building the robotic arms but their explanations and materials list left me so confused. There was no direction or suggestions on how to build, just a list of materials to let the girls explore. Now, I know we want to keep it Girl led but my girls could play with a box of the supplies all day and still be confused. So I needed to create an example for them. 

Extender Grabber

So this prototype took ME about 10 minutes to make which means the girls needed a solid 30 minutes to do it themselves.

Materials:

  • craft sticks (NOT the jumbo kind)
  • Shake straws (NOT regular straws)
  • tape
  • toothpicks
  • scissors
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First, you will want to make 4 sections like this...

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You will need two craft sticks, two 2 inch pieces of straw, and duct tape. Insert the end of a craft stick into the straw piece slightly less than halfway. Insert the other craft stick into the opposite end of the same straw piece. Leave a gap between the two craft sticks to allow for a toothpick hole. Secure craft sticks and straw bits with tape. Take your other straw bit and insert it into the open end of one of your craft sticks just short of halfway. Again, leave just enough room for a toothpick hole and secure with tape. Do this 4 times.

Next

Create your joint by taking one of your sections and punching your toothpick through the center of your straw piece. Take the second section and punch a hole with the same toothpick from your first section to overlap the two sections to make an X.

Take your two remaining sections that you have not used yet and attach them to the opposite straws bit (circled in picture below) using the toothpick punching method. 

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To finish your extending grabbing arm...

You will want to create something that resembles pinching/fingers. I cut a craft stick in half and attached each half to the end of an open end craft stick with tape (see the bottom half of the picture above).

The extender grabber is now finished and at this point, you can have your girls test it out and troubleshoot areas for improvement. They might need more stability(tape) in an area. Have them play around with the arm and try the mystery bag challenge!

Plan out your Robot

Once the girls understood the different parts of a robot and how they can make one actually work, they got to brainstorming ideas for their own prototype. We discussed simple projects or tasks that would be helpful to have a robot do. 

Suggestions:

  • Feeding a pet
  • retrieving a newspaper
  • Picking up dog poop (LOL)
  • Moping the floor
  • Taking out the garbage
  • Tub scrubbing robots 
  • Trash picker upper

We decided to do the tub scrubbing robot. We found a helpful video online and the girls planned out the materials they would need. Next meeting the girls will have an opportunity to make the robots!

This concludes part 1 of our Designing Robots badge. Here you can find part 2 of the badge with our scrub bots!!! 

Designing Robots Part 2

Don't forget to comment below and share what your troop did for the designing robots badge!!

Brownies: Making Friends Badge

Hello! Welcome back! Today we are covering the steps for the Making Friends Brownie Badge. I personally think this is an excellent badge to cover at the start of the scouting year! It gives the girls a chance to get to know any new girls in the troop. It's also a great "ice breaker" for the year.

  1. Make friendly introductions

    1. Have the girls practice introducing themselves to each of the girls. Have them pretend it's their first time meeting and share their names and one interesting thing about them. 
    2. Use a large bounce ball or beach ball (from Dollar Tree) and write fun questions. Start by passing the ball, when the girl catches it she can say her name and read aloud and answer the question that is facing her. Check out this site for more details.
  2. Show friends you care

    1. Emoji swaps for friends (this one is my fav!)
    2. Write a pen pal letter about why you enjoy being friends with someone
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  1. Share in favorite activities

    1. Have each girl write on a piece of paper their favorite activity or game. Fold them up and put them in a hat and have them guess which activity belongs to which girl. After you have gone through them all save time to play a few games.
      1. Go fish
      2. Eye Found it card game
      3. Jump rope
      4. musical chairs
  2. Learn how to disagree

    1. Friendship skips: Have the girls break up into small groups (2-3 work best) and act out scenarios on how to be a good friend and handle conflict.  We bought these cute turtle craft foam kit. The girls got to decorate their own turtle and attached them to sunglasses and used them with their skips as puppets. They were turtle "scouts". You can also attach them to wooden craft sticks if you don't have sunglasses. 

Skits are a fantastic way for girls to express themselves and build courage in their voice. The girls have a ton of fun with them too! 

  1. Practice friendship

    1. Visit a park and have the girls practice introducing themselves to the other kids. Get a game of tag going with other friends at the park.
    2. Consider creating a buddy bench at school
    3. Have the girls create and sign a Friendship Pledge". Include in the pledge. Examples of what to include could be: I will befriend the new kid in class, I will include everyone on the playground....

For more Brownie scout ideas check out our Brownie page here!

Posted on July 28, 2017 and filed under Girl scouts.

Brownie Snacks Badge

This was a fun badge to work on because what kid doesn't like to eat? I find that my troop is always hungry regardless of what time our meeting is so snack time is a great motivator and mood booster! Rather than spending an entire meeting pigging out on snacks we decided to break this badge up and have one snack each meeting. 

  1. Jump into the world of snacks
    1. Visit a Farming CoOp- visit Cabot Cheese for some program ideas and how you can earn a free patch!....
Posted on July 13, 2017 and filed under Girl scouts.

American Girl: Summer Camp, Friends for Life Movie!

Have you seen it?

American Girl came out with a new movie! Summer Camp, Friends for Life! I was so excited to watch this with my girls. We've watched all of the other American Girl movies but this one in particular touched our hearts as we love CAMP! Summer Camp would make the perfect movie night for your Girl Scout troop!  It's full of summer fun, mystery, and making friends! I see an outdoor movie night on the deck with the troop in the near future!