Girl Scouts tap into SUNY Fredonia lab to earn Robotics badge

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Girl Scouts in robotics lab

Adjunct Professor James Pratt conducts a computer activity with Girl Scouts, including Lyra Stephenson (right) in the new robotics lab at SUNY Fredonia.

By James Pratt

During April, two groups of Girl Scouts visited the brand-new robotics lab at SUNY Fredonia to work towards receiving their Robotics badge. They learned about the types of robots, and were surprised at the limited ability of robots today.

The scouts, from Westfield and Sherman, grades 6 to 8, learned about computer structures, basic electrical circuits and programming to control a robot’s activity. The scouts began using a few of the university’s Raspberry Pi computers under the direction of Adjunct Professor James Pratt to wire circuits.

They used the very popular Python computer programming language to control the circuits, turning the devices into simple programmable robots. Adding sensors and programming would allow the robots to become semi-autonomous, that is, based on the algorithm, the computer makes “decisions” about what to do next.  

Over the course of three sessions the scouts were able to achieve their Robotics badges.

To arrange an age-appropriate robotics activity for a group, contact the Department of Computer and Information Sciences at 716-673-4820 or send an email 

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