Adding STEM programs to the outdoor activities scouts are known for create a “fun with purpose” curriculum for Girl Scouts and STEM that results in so much more than badges.
The announcement from the Girl Scouts organization released in July states that there are 23 new STEM and outdoor badges which the organization hopes will offer a bridge between Girl Scouts and STEM and empowered its members to attain success.
A survey taken by the Girl Scouts showed that girls were most interested in computer science, engineering, and outdoor STEM topics. Programming was developed to give the girls what they asked for and new badges to earn for completion of those new activities. The badges were designed for all ages of scouts, from Daisies through Senior Girl Scouts. Some of these new badges which highlight STEM activities are as follows:
Earning badges such as “Computer Expert,” “Digital Photographer,” “Entertainment Technology,” or “Digital Movie Maker” helps girls build computer and technology skills. To effectively integrate the Girls Scouts and STEM, the scouting organization collaborated with Code.org to develop computational-thinking programs. “Think Like a Programmer” badges are earned for Girl Scouts who learn how programmers solve problems and complete a Take Action project.
To earn this badge, Girl Scouts design their own robots after learning how the robots are built and how to program them. Some of the badges to be earned in this category are “How Robots Move,” “What Robots Do,” “Designing Robots,” and “Programming Robots.” The Girl Scouts will learn the uses for robots in everyday life and work in teams to design and program robots that will solve problems and assist those in need of help.
Science and Technology
“Science of Style,” “Home Scientist,” “Bugs,” and “Water” are some of the badges available in this category. The Girl Scouts earning these badges are connected to their favorite science and technology subjects and are able to learn the technology used to create new fabrics or the relationship between things in nature.
These badges encourage problem solving using scientific methods from such subjects as anthropology, engineering, graphic design, and business. Girl Scouts can earn “Animal Habitats,” “Roller Coaster Design Challenge,” and “Board Game Design Challenge” badges.
All of the new badges are designed, according to the Girl Scouts, to help scouts to see that STEM is everywhere. They are encouraged to see science and engineering in their everyday lives, to see how things work, and observe science in nature. STEM role models are identified in jobs in their communities, and Girl Scouts are encouraged to take part in STEM events within their schools.
“We need more women involved with science, technology, engineering, and math,” reports the Girl Scout organization. “Of all STEM fields, the ‘E’ (engineering) is most lacking women. We need to fuel the pipeline! We can help girls understand that it’s great to dream big, but that it’s okay to fail too. Trying, failing, rethinking, and trying again is what engineers do all the time.”
This new relationship between Girl Scouts and STEM seems like a natural fit as the organization continues its mission of engaging and empowering girls.