FYI: Foster has a similar conversation running on CheifDelphi at this link
Here is an extract that folks here might be interested in:
If you are a Scouting Robotics Merit Badge counselor I’d like to talk to you. I’m trying to gear up for the 2013-14 merit badge season and would like to know how you are making out getting scouts through the process.
I’m also looking at the Programming Badge and looking to see if I can do some overlap on the two badges. I think the Robotics programming can count towards one of the programming elements.
Private message me, or if you are up for it, post your past experiences here.
Hi Foster. I worked on the Robotics Merit Badge and was the Team Lead for the new Programming Merit Badge. How can I Help?
I’m looking for things like rsisk posted about doing the robot build as a separate set of actions in a setting like a camp.
It turns out there is not a lot of Robotics counselors out there, so there is a demand in my area. I’m looking for clever ideas to maximize scout involvement and lessen what I need to do per scout.
Another stumbling block for troops is the parts required to build even a simple robot, so I’m trying to see how smaller, less expensive robots (Lego E3, Vex IQ) can work out. Right now I use (and reuse) VEX Metal to build simple protobot clones for single scouts, or push them to join a robotics team to get the build part completed.
I’m also looking for how to overlap Programming Badge requirement 5 (write programs) so they can get a running start on that Badge.
We do several things in this area.
Recruit school teams to do single day robot merit badge camps. They use it as a fund raiser and community out reach and Scouts are happy to pay $25 to come do it. win win.
Summer Camp. We got a local sponsor to donate a few thousand dollars so we could purchase a dozen vex kits to use for robotics merit badge at summer camp. During the off months those kits are available for anyone to use. Each kit is in a covenient tupper waretub and easy to transport. The key here is to make doing inventory part of the closing task.
In one day we can. usually build two robots, have two or three mini competitions, and cover all the requirements.
- If the kids have already done programming merit badge, then simply reviewing that and the required documentation is all you need.
FYI … we just launched the programming merit badge at the jamboree. We had the kids program vex robotic arms, PLCs (factory controllers) and arduino embedded processors. The scouts thought that was awesome. We ran over 820 Scouts through that booth. Many of those scouts then went next door and did the robotics merit badge where they got credit for programming. (robotics used the new vexiq).
Side note - someone made a post that said finding merit badge counselors for robotics was hard. I’m not sure I understand that. You just grab the form, have your robotics coach sign it and you are done. If he/she is not already a member of BSA, they just fill out that form too. It costs nothing to sign up as a counselor and I would be surprised if most mentor wouldn’t jump at the chance …