Robotics Merit Badge Counselor Info

Robotics Merit Badge Counselor Info

The Parallax Boe-Bot robot is a BSA-recommended kit for completeing the BSA Robotics Merit Badge Section 4 requirements: Build, Program, Test.

Equipping Scouts

Boe-Bot Robot Hardware

The Boe-Bot robot consists of a sturdy metal chassis and hardware, servo motors, circuit board, and BASIC Stamp microcontroller "brain."  The kit comes with electronic components and wires to build sensor circuits on the white breadboard, no soldering needed. 

Boe-Bot robots can be purchased by individual Scouts, Troops, or a Merit Badge Counselor.  The chassis can be assembled and disassembled easily, and all components are available for purchase indivually for affordable maintenance.  If a troop or counselor has a small "robot fleet" for re-use, Scouts can purchase just the inexpensive Boe-Bot Refresher Pack (#572-28132) of electronic components.  Quantity discounts for these items are available from the product pages.

BSA Robotics Merit Badge with the Boe-Bot Mini Course

The BSA Robotics Merit Badge with the Boe-Bot mini-course is an abbreviated series of lessons gleaned from the kit's book Robotics with the Boe-Bot .  This brief, web-based course was created to encourage Scouts who are interested enough in robotics to pursue this merit badge,  without making them go deep, too quickly. 

This is not a comprehensive course in robotics.  However it does provide for a basic working knowledge of how robotics systems are designed, assembled, and programmed. 

This mini-course is a greatly reduced and simplified sub-set of some of the core concepts of autonomous robotic development.  Therefore we suggest that you encourage Scouts to “dive deeper”- especially if you sense that they have an aptitude for the field.  Robotics with the Boe-Bot can be the gateway to a lifelong quest in the fields of electronics, mechatronics, and software development.  Robotics with the Boe-Bot is a beginner-level introduction to programming, electronics, robotics, and pre-engineering concepts in a step-by-step fashion.  It is targeted for high school and junior college students.

Equipping Merit Badge Counselors

One of the requirements for being an RMB Counselor is to “be proficient in the Merit Badge subject by vocation, avocation, or special training.”  Here are some special training options from Parallax Inc.:

Review the Short Mini-Course and the Robotics with the Boe-Bot Text

As the RMB Counselor, we encourage you to become thoroughly comfortable with this mini-course.  This mini-course however, will not provide you the depth of knowledge that is preferred for being a Counselor.  Remember, the Scouts will be looking to you for answers also.  Therefore, if you have no other experience in the robotics field, we strongly encourage you to go through Robotics with the Boe-Bot in its entirety.  It is available in printed format, it comes with the Boe-Bot kit and is also a free download from the Boe-Bot robot (#28832) product page.

For those of you who already have some level of proficiency in robotics, you will still find Robotics with the Boe-Bot to be a great resource for specific information regarding the special attributes of the Boe-Bot robot platform.

Try it Alongside your Scouts

You are encouraged to take notes and document your (and the Scout’s) attempts, trials, missteps, and successes.  Notes are a great aid in demonstrating what doesn’t work too.  It’s also a way (perhaps accidentally) to reveal unintentional behavior – which may lead to new discoveries.  You’ll then be able to share your findings with others.  Besides these benefits, a comprehensive, well annotated notebook is also a requirement for the Badge – so scribble away!

Join the Forums

We also encourage you to join the Forums at http://forums.parallax.com.  Here you will find a large number of amateurs and professionals (many of whom make their living in the Robotics industry).   Membership in the Forums is free, and there is no such thing as a dumb question.

Attend a Robotics Merit Badge Counselor Training

Parallax periodically holds a Robotics Merit Badge Counselor Training at headquarters in Rocklin, California. See the Parallax Events Calendar (offsite) for dates.

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