Monday, October 7, 2019

Girl Scout Senior Programming Robots Badge Step 2: Build a Robot Arm (Using Girl Scout Cookie Box Cases!)

Step 2 of the Girl Scout Senior Programming Robots badge asks girls to build a robot arm, so that's just what we did!

The kids and Matt used this cardboard robotic hydraulic arm tutorial and template, and this set of syringes and tubes.

Fun fact: Matt is now low-key fired from doing school projects like this with the kids, because you ought to be able to do a big, complicated project with your own children without screaming at them. So if I assign you to do a big project with my kids, now you know how to get out of it!

ANYWAY, the kids and Matt did manage to assemble a sort-of working hydraulic arm, although perhaps because it heard so much yelling during its formative hours, it never has performed quite right. Will spent an entire extra afternoon fussing around it and got it to function much better, but none of us could get those pincers to close properly:

Ah, well. It's a lesson on the way that adding more moving parts (whether they're people or bits of cardboard and twisted wire and tubing) adds complexity and increases the potential for error!

So the cardboard hydraulic arm didn't function perfectly, but it did function well enough for the kids to better understand degrees of freedom and how the system as a whole works, and hopefully they'll remember hydraulics and cardboard as options when they're imagining and building their own robots later.

And considering that it's all cardboard, toothpicks, tubing, and glue, I think it looks pretty baller!

My favorite part, though, is all of the cookie cases that they used to build it!

I have a plan this cookie season to collect/hoard more of those cookie cases, which are all that lovely corrugated cardboard that's so perfect to make every single thing out of. And who knows? The Designing Robots badge is still to come, and perhaps in the process of earning that one, the children will discover that cardboard cookie cases and LittleBits are the perfect power couple!

Want to complete this badge step in a different way? Here are three other good DIY robot arm projects that Senior girls can do:

  • cardboard robot arm. This arm uses string to mimic the way that the muscles in a human hand pull. It would be a lot more doable for a group of girls to create individually.
  • giant computer-controlled robot arm. This arm is GIANT, and perfect for a group of girls to create together. Combine it with the Introduction to Programming Journey, since you'll be controlling this arm via computer.
  • popsicle stick arm. Here's another arm that girls could make individually, and popsicle sticks are easy to obtain!
P.S. Want more Girl Scout projects and tutorials? Check out my Craft Knife Facebook page for photos, links, and resources!

No comments: