Grandville High School RoboDawgs Host Boy Scouts

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Nearly 50 Scouts earn Robotics Merit Badge during two-day workshop.

Grandville High School RoboDawgs - Robotics Merit Badge

Grandville RoboDawgs explain FRC Robot to Boy Scouts

"This is awesome" - Aaron Gach, President Ford Council, Boy Scouts of America

The Grandville High School RoboDawgs love their robots, and they recently had a chance to share those autonomous creations with Boy Scouts from more than 10 West Michigan Troops. Forty-six Scouts earned their Robotics merit badge after spending two days working with the RoboDawgs.

When people think of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA), they envision activities like camping, knot-tying, and canoeing. While the RoboDawgs weren't going to teach the assembled Boy Scouts much about wilderness survival, the Robotics merit badge workshop gave members of the high school robotics team a chance to help the Scouts learn about the design, programming, testing, and operation of autonomous robots. The Boy Scouts saw robots that had competed at the local, state, and national levels - including robots from Botball, FIRST Robotics, VEX, and Lego League competitions.

The Robotics merit badge is part of the BSA’s new curriculum emphasis on STEM: science, technology, engineering, and math. The BSA focus on STEM takes a fun, adventurous approach to helping Scouts develop critical skills that are relevant and needed in today’s competitive world. The new merit badge is one of 31 STEM-related merit badges that Scouts can earn.

“The Robotics merit badge is an example of how Scouting remains true to its roots to help young people be prepared,” said BSA Chief Scout Executive Bob Mazzuca. “While the guiding principles of Scouting—service to others, leadership, personal achievement, and respect for the outdoors—will never change, we continue to adapt programs to prepare young people for success in all areas of life.”

The BSA developed the Robotics merit badge because of the wide-reaching impact of robotics and the role STEM will continue to play in young people’s lives moving forward. Robots are used in almost every field—in medicine and manufacturing, law enforcement and search and rescue, and space and underwater exploration. They appear regularly in daily life, be it vacuuming, mowing the lawn, and/or cleaning the pool.

To earn the Robotics merit badge, Scouts must:
■ Explain and discuss hazards and safety prevention
■ Explain how robots are used today
■ Discuss three of the five major fields of robotics (human-robot interface, mobility, manipulation, programming, sensors)
■ Design, build, program, and test their robot
■ Demonstrate the robot, and share the engineering notebook for that robot
■ Attend a robotics competition or do research on robotics competitions
■ Discuss career opportunities in robotics

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About the Grandville High School RoboDawgs:

The RoboDawgs program is among the most successful high school robotics programs in North America. RoboDawgs develop real-world engineering and technology skills, have excellent grades, and learn to work as a team in the spirit of gracious professionalism. The RoboDawgs’ robots are strong competitors, and the team was represented at both the 2012 VEX World Championship and the 2012 FIRST Championship. Each year, the RoboDawgs sponsor and mentor more than 30 other robotics teams at the elementary, middle school, and high school levels. RoboDawg graduates can be found in science, engineering, and math programs at leading U.S. universities. More than 95% of RoboDawg graduates since 2009 have received college scholarships.

About the Boy Scouts of America:

The Boy Scouts of America is one of the nation's largest and most prominent values-based youth development organizations. The BSA provides a program for young people that builds character, trains them in the responsibilities of participating citizenship, and develops personal fitness.

For over a century, the BSA has helped build the future leaders of this country by combining educational activities and lifelong values with fun. The Boy Scouts of America believes — and, through over a century of experience, knows — that helping youth is a key to building a more conscientious, responsible, and productive society

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Doug Hepfer
dhepfer@grandvilleboosters.org
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