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Robotics Program

Ready for a new challenge? Daisies through Ambassadors can form all-Girl Scout robotics teams where girls work together to build, test, and program robots—then compete against other teams in western Washington and beyond!

Adult coaches and mentors guide teams through challenges as they identify underlying problems, use research to develop innovative solutions, practice critical thinking and creativity. It’s a techie way to make the world a better place!

Our robotics league programs are a great way to work through the Robotics Badges, Think Like A Programmer, or Think Like an Engineer Journeys with hands-on robotics and programming experience. Interpretation of badge work is left to coaches to incorporate in a way that works best for their teams.

Have a team ready to go? The following Leagues are now open! Claim your spot. 

Spring 2019 Robitics League (ages 8-14): All spots have been filled.
Summer 2019 FIRST LEGO League Jr (ages 6-10): Sign Up
Fall 2019 FIRST LEGO League Jr (ages 6-10): Sign Up
Fall 2019 FIRST LEGO League (ages 9-14): Sign Up
Fall 2019 FIRST Tech Challenge (grades 7-12th): Sign Up

   

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Start a FIRST Team

Through grant funding from Google, Motorola, and KeyBank, Girl Scouts of Western Washington provides a subsidized way for Girl Scouts to engage and learn robotics with hands-on STEM experience via the worldwide FIRST Robotics program. Girl Scouts program robots, plan projects, and represent themselves at co-ed competitions and show the world exactly what girls can do!

Girl Scouts of Western Washington provides logistical and administrative support for teams participating in FIRST. We cover registration fees and purchase the season materials. Teams register for Fall programming beginning in the Spring/Summer, then pick up their borrowed kits and materials in early Fall to work through the program on their own schedule at their own location to prep for competition(s) beginning in early December. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Do coaches need robotics/tech skills? All coaches need is to model a can-do attitude to encourage girls and role model girl-led and girl-empowered mentality about tackling tech challenges. Learning with your team is an excellent way to role-model that this is a skill-building program—that not knowing is the first step to learning how to do something! 

Can men be coaches? Anyone of any gender identity can be a coach. If both coaches are men, a third background checked adult female volunteer must be present at every team meeting.

Can married/partnered/related people be co-coaches? Yes, if a related pair are serving as co-coaches, a 3rd background-checked adult must be present at every team meeting.

How are teams formed? Team formation is self-coordinated. Teams gather the minimum number of Girl Scouts and two adult co-coaches to form a team. Once they have formed a team, they may claim a team spot. If teams need help finding Girl Scouts or adults to complete their team, we recommend that they reach out to their service unit to find people to join your team. Teams may be composed of Girl Scouts from multiple troops, individually registered members (IRMS/Juliettes), etc. as long as they are registered Girl Scout members. If your team is struggling to meet the team minimum, our STEM program staff may be able to connect you with interested Girl Scouts in your area.

Can I coach more than one team? Yes, teams can share coaches, meet at the same time, and share insights. However, each team will need their own materials, robot, and will complete their own unique challenge projects. Depending on demand and to have equitable opportunities across all our regions, we may limit the number of teams per coach we can support financially. Check with the STEM Program Manager before planning multiple teams.

Can Girl Scouts of Western Washington find my team a coach? If you are in need of a second coach to complete your team, we recommend recruiting an adult you know and work well with. Coaches do not need to be technology or robotics experts (especially at FLL Jr. or FLL levels).  Coaches serve primarily as adult supervision and support for the team. Learning robotics alongside your team is an excellent way to show the team how these skills can be learned and developed through the robotics program. We will provide coaches with a coaching handbook and other resources to help get them started.

Can non-Girl Scouts be on the team? Girl Scouts of Western Washington sponsored teams are comprised entirely of Girl Scouts. Team members do not need to be from the same troop (or in a troop at all), but all must have current Girl Scout membership. Team members are welcome to join Girl Scouts in order to join the team. Membership in Girl Scouts is $25 a year and financial assistance is available. Non-Girl Scouts can serve as team support, fans, or mentors, but they cannot be on the official team, appear on the team roster with FIRST, or participate in competitions. (We will take all the cheerleaders we can get!)

Can Girl Scouts of Western Washington place my Girl Scout(s) on a team? We will try and connect interested Girl Scouts with teams that have open spots in their area. However, teams rarely have open spots. We require a minimum number of members per team, but we do not require teams to accept members up to their capacity. Sign up for our Individual Interest List.

 

How Girl Scouts of Western Washington Supports FIRST Teams

  • FIRST registration and competition fees
  • Use of a laptop with software
  • Use of robotics kit
  • Challenge Kit (yearly challenge parts and field mat)
  • Custom team t-shirts
  • Reimbursement for materials, snacks, some travel expenses (max amount varies per level—additional team fundraising may be required if advancing to competitions)
  • Coach support & handbook
  • Network of Girl Scout Teams, experienced teams and coaches as well as access to FIRST mentors and experienced teams.


Girl Scouts of Western Washington supports the following FIRST program levels. Age of participants must be during the fall season.

FIRST LEGO League Jr. (ages 6-10)

Ages: 6-10 years old
Team Min/Max Members: 4-6 Girl Scouts
Coaches Required: 2 (No tech or robotics experience required!)

Season:
FALL (Sept-Early Dec), WINTER (January-April), SUMMER (May-July)
Time Commitment:
20 hours over  8-12 week season (1.5-2 hours per week)
Cost: $20-$60 per Girl Scout (pay-what-you-can pricing)

Learn more about pay-what-you-can tiered pricing.

Logistical Requirements:
Teams will need an indoor meeting space for the team to work (classroom, living room, etc.). The best space would allow materials to be left out securely while also allowing teams to easily pack the materials in and out of the space for competitions.

Internet access is helpful for research, but not required. 

Learn about what FLL Jr. teams do and what to expect.

FIRST LEGO League (ages 9-14)

Ages: 9-14 years old
Team Min/Max Members: 6-10 Girl Scouts
Coaches Required: 
2 (No tech or robotics experience required!)


Season:
 Late September-early December (advancing team championships January-April)
Time commitment: 40 hours over 8-12 weeks (additional time as needed)
Cost : $50-$100 per Girl Scout (tiered pricing)

Learn more about pay-what-you-can tiered pricing.

Logistical Requirements:
Teams will need an indoor meeting space with enough room for the team to sort materials, assemble the robot, work on the programming, project and presentation. The space must accommodate a 4x8 ft playfield table. (New teams will build these themselves. Portable designs are available.) The best meeting space would allow the table and materials to remain set up and secure during the course of the season. 

Internet is helpful for research, inspiration, and troubleshooting, but it is not required.

Learn more about what FLL teams do and what to expect.

FIRST Tech Challenge (ages 12-18)

Ages: Grades 7th-12th
Team Min/Max Members: 5-15 Girl Scouts
Coaches Required: 2 (at this level some tech, robotics, or coding knowledge is helpful, but teams can recruit mentors for this support)


Season: September-December (or extended season for advancing teams in January-April). *Many teams work in the off-season: planning or practicing for next season, hosting or attending events, or getting ready for the new season before materials are shipped, etc.
Time commitment: At least 50 hours September-December (additional time as needed).
Cost: $50-$100 per Girl Scout (pay-what-you-can pricing)

Learn more about pay-what-you-can tiered pricing.

Logistical Requirements:
Teams will need a large indoor meeting space with a flat hard floor for their 12x12 playfield. The best space would allow the playfield and other materials to be left up for the course of the season while remaining secure. Your team will need access to hand tools, power tools, and other shop equipment. Internet access is very helpful for research.

Learn about what FTC teams do and what to expect.


Not Ready for FIRST?

We also offer a Girl Scouts of Western Washington Spring Robotics League in April-June. This Girl Scout-themed program is a great introduction to robotics for Girl Scouts who will be 8-13 years old in spring, or 9-14 in the fall.

Teams can participate in Spring League as a stand-alone activity, or as a way to ease into FIRST Robotics the following fall.

Girl Scout Spring Robotics League

Girl Scouts of Western Washington offers an internal robotics league in the spring with Girl Scout themed challenges.  This league is modeled on the robot challenge aspects of FIRST LEGO League (part of the FIRST robotics partnership program that runs in the fall).

Teams may participate in Spring League as an introduction to FIRST LEGO League in the fall, or as a stand-alone activity.

Teams pick up materials from Girl Scouts of Western Washington before working on their own at their own location through the 8-12 week program. Teams design, build and program a LEGO EV-3 Mindstorms robot to complete Girl Scout themed challenges on a 3x5 playfield. A fun optional competition is offered in June to mark the end of the season.

Ages: 8-14 years old*
(*If you plan to graduate to FIRST, FLL age restrictions are firmly set to 9-14 years old during the season.)
Team Min/Max Members: 4-8
Coaches Required: 2 (No tech or robotics experience needed!)

Season: Early April-Mid June
Time commitment: 25 hours over 8-12 weeks (additional time as needed) 
Cost: $20 per Girl Scout

Logistical Requirements
Teams will need a meeting space with room to lay out a 3x5 foot playfield mat on a hard, smooth table or floor. 

Internet is helpful for research and troubleshooting but it is not required.

Learn more about what Spring League teams do and what to expect.

 

Pay-What-You-Can Tiered Pricing

Girl Scouts of Western Washington robotics program is funded by outside grants, our own fundraising, special events and the hard work of Girl Scouts during the Girl Scout Cookie Sale. Our subsidized program reduces the cost for Girl Scouts to participate in FIRST Robotics by up to 90%.  

By recouping some part of the program costs through program fees, we are able to provide more robotics opportunities for Girl Scouts. To keep robotics affordable for all members, we’ve adopted a tiered pricing structure. Tiered pricing gives each member the opportunity to choose the price that works best for them. All participants will have the same experience regardless of which tier they register at. Both Financial Assistance or Cookie Dough can be used to pay for robotics programs and we encourage Girl Scouts to plan their own money earning to support their decision to participate on a FIRST team.

Tier A: Still well beneath the actual full cost of FIRST robotics, by selecting to pay a higher fee, you enable us to offer more robotics opportunities to more Girl Scouts.

Tier B: Middle option. For members that can pay a little more, but not the higher level.

Tier C: Our lowest participation fee. If requesting Financial Assitance, select this tier.

Any questions about fees for the robotics program can be directed to robots@gsww.org.

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Other Robotics Opportunities: 

Girl Scouts can also earn Robotics Badges, either in a troop or on their own! There are now Robotics Badge triads at every Girl Scout age level! Request a Robotics Mania Workshop for Cadettes, Seniors, and Ambassadors in your area. This 2.5-hour workshop uses LEGO NEXT robots and is available via our Science Workshop Series [LINK to page].

Often Girl Scout FIRST Teams, troops, or service units or Partner programs will put on various robotics-related events – so keep an eye out at your local level!

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