Designing Robots

Badge requirements that are specific to a troop level are explained in the tab-divided section. The remaining elements are listed below.

Explore how robots imitate nature

To start this section, we play videos about robots that use biomimicry in their design. This doesn't have to be a long part of the presentation, but is a good introduction into robots in day-to-day life.

Bio-Inspired Crawler Robot: video

During this step we brainstormed how a robot could be inspired by a bumblebee. Ideas could include how they collect pollen, create honey, or manage a hive.

Learn about the parts of a robot

Similar to parts of the human body, components of the robot have a specific purpose toward fulfilling a goal. This step is about recognizing the role that each component of the robot plays. The badge guide recommends breaking down the ways that robot arms are similar to human ones.

Determine your robot's expertise*

*This is a requirement only for the Junior badge; however, it fits well with the flow for introducing the EV3 challenge. We use this step to explain to scouts what their Mini Bots challenge will be and give them examples of robots that may work to complete this.

For the LEGO Sumo challenge, scouts must determine what kind of robot they want. Examples may include a pusher, flipper, or jouster. These should not be a specific design, but rather a general approach to solving the challenge.

Plan your robot

Based on the expertise chosen, scouts are given paper and markers to draw out their robot designs. Using the pieces in the base EV3 kit provided, they are given time to plan out attachements to the base driving robot. For more information about the LEGO Sumo challenge, visit the Mini Bots page of this project.

Students may want to work together to help them brainstorm and share ideas about their designs. Encourage them to use the robot vocabulary outlined in the badge guide.

Create a prototype

Once the troop feels good about their design - the fun begins. Scouts are given time to make their plans a reality using an EV3 kit. Depending on the timeline of the activity, it may make more sense to build the base robot prior to the meeting.

We allow troops to take home the EV3 kits to do this step. The thought being that scouts can work with their families to share what they are learning and increase excitement in STEM. Prior to starting the second badge requirements, we make sure all take home robots are completed up to the base level.

Get feedback on your robot

3-2-1 Sumo! After designing, building, and naming the robots, the scouts compete in a round-robin tournament against one another.

Based on the results of each match, scouts should take notes on ways that their robot performed well and places for improvement. This feedback can then be used for a second round of building. We ran the tournament twice to demonstrate the reiterative part of the engineering process.

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Iowa City Robotics 2024