Girls Scouts launches new badges in robotics and cyber security

“Work like engineers to plan and build a prototype of your robot that solves an everyday problem.”

This is not a directive for a science class or a robotics competition, but a new opportunity for Girl Scouts across the country to learn about Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) fields, which have had historically low female and minority representation.  

The Girl Scouts are offering a new suite of badges for young girls and women to earn in robotics, use of technology to explore nature, and even and cyber security in an effort “to prepare them for the world they will soon lead”.

The 23 new badges offered in 2017 include designing model cars and roller coasters, learning to write code in order to program robots, creating algorithms, and using various apps and devices to collect useful data about the natural environment like patterns of climate change, tree growth, types of bugs in a child’s backyard, or monitoring bird migrations.

“We polled several girls and asked what they wanted to learn,” Sylvia Acevedo, a woman who “bleeds green,” and the CEO of Girl Scouts USA told The Independent.

Making separate robotics badges was not too much of a surprise given the 105-year-old organisation’s focus on “making” and “hands on learning”.

The Girl Scouts count about 2 million members and 59 million alumnae, with nearly half of all American women having been involved in the organisation at some point in her life.

However, it is a mostly white organisation though “nearly half of girls aged 5 to 17 in the US are now ethnic minorities, up from 38 percent in 2000,” as The Atlantic reported.

The organisation has been losing members of late and the new push for STEM and Ms Acevedo’s own appointment as the group’s first Latina CEO is a sign that the organisation recognises the need to “reach the new American girl”.

Ms Acevedo noted that in 2017 nearly 500,000 scouts are considered “low-income,” with…

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