The US Girl Scouts campaign to promote STEM education is advancing to its next logical step: even more badges. The organization is introducing 30 new badges that promise to foster scientific and computer know-how across the Scouts' age groups. Younger members from kindergarten to grade 5 can earn badges for topics like cybersecurity (particularly online privacy and safety) and space science, while older Scouts can learn to design and program robotics as well as prepare for college. And regardless of age, they can earn Environmental Stewardship badges that teach them to care for the planet.
There's more. The outfit is now rolling out its previously unveiled national computer science program for girls in middle school and above. Likewise, there are are two Leadership Journeys that encourage girls to embrace programming and engineering. And a Mechanical Engineering badge that previously stopped at grade 3 now covers the net two grades up, increasing the opportunities to learn about crafting basic vehicles and understanding the physics that guide them.
The goals remain the same as with earlier badges. The Girl Scouts team hopes to not only encourage girls to enter STEM fields, but to prepare them for a modern world full of digital opportunities and threats. It's not guaranteed that they'll strive for the badges, but it's at least an acknowledgment that the focus of the Girl Scouts needs to change with the times.