The Computer Smarts Try-It will expand your troop’s knowledge of computer use beyond just the basics. Since this Try-It is more advanced, your troop should complete the Point, Click and Go Try-It first to ensure they have the basic computer skills they will need. The Computer Smarts Try-It will teach the girls many practical and fun applications for a computer including how to use the internet and the World Wide Web. The Computer Smarts Try-It can be a fun adventure for your troop. Before completing these activities the troop leader should preview the web pages in this article to ensure they are familiar with the content.
To earn the Computer Smarts Try-It you need to complete four of the seven activities listed in the Brownie Try-It Handbook. Another requirement is that you must start with the first activity; Be Prepared. You might consider having the girls do the Be Prepared activity at home with a parent before a meeting, as this activity involves taking an internet safety pledge with an adult partner. This pledge covers many areas of internet safety for children and should be discussed with parents before the troop meeting as well as together as a troop. You should not let any girl participate in this activity until they have read and signed this pledge and their parents have as well.
To do the activities in Computer Smarts you will need access to a computer, a printer with paper and you must have internet access. Unless you have these items at your normal meeting place, you may have to hold these meetings in your home or consider taking a field trip to a public library.
In this activity you need an adult partner to help you learn to use an internet browser. Your troop should already know how to turn on a computer and how to start an application. Show the girls how to start an internet browser then show them how to type the following address into the browser’s address bar: www.gogirlsonly.org/internet_safety_pledge.asp. Read the pledge together then print it out and sign it. After all the girls have read the pledge, have a discussion as a group about any questions they may have with regards to internet use and safety. Be prepared to talk about any rules their parents may have, as well as the dangers present on the internet.
Finding a Favorite
Finding a Favorite will give the girls the opportunity to search a website made just for kids. Travel to www.yahooligans.com, a search engine for kids only. Yahoo Kids® has several categories of activities like: Games, Music, Movies, Jokes, Sports, StudyZone, and even Ecards. Each of these categories has several activities and videos. With adult supervision have the girls click through the activities and find the ones they like. They can also learn to use a search bar by entering in topics that they are interested in. This search will only display results from this site and is a good introduction to searching the internet.
Surfing the Net
With an adult partner find two sites for girls your age that end in the following:
.org, .com, and .gov At the end of this activity the girls should have a list of sites that they can visit in the future that are safe and fun for them. As the girls locate sites that are appropriate and fun, teach them how to add them to their favorites. Show them how the favorites folders work, including how to make new folders just for them. After completing this activity the girls should have a list of sites that they can navigate to themselves at home.
Making a Chart
Learning to make a chart will help the members of your troop learn a practical application for a computer. The Brownie Try-It Manual has an example of a “Kaper” chart that is used to list individual responsibilities during an activity, meeting or even a campout. You can make a chart like this using the appropriate software on your computer. Show your troop an example of this chart or any other chart and talk about how it is used to organize an event.
For a project have the girls create a chart that can help them organize their lives. If you want to reinforce lessons that they learned in the internet pledge, they can create a chart for computer internet usage. Have the girls talk with their parents and write down notes on when and for how long they are allowed to use the internet. This information can be made into a weekly chart that can be posted near their computer. They can also make charts for chores, homework and free time. When they make their charts show them how to change fonts and background colors to add fun effects.
Computers and Work
Computers are used in many types of jobs. For this activity you can invite some adults to your meeting who use computers in their work. These speakers can share how they use computers and how having a computer makes their job easier. Let the girls ask questions as they arise. Another idea might be to take a field trip to a parent’s workplace to see how they use computers.
After the girls have heard the many ways in which computers are used have a discussion as a group about the importance of computers and what they have learned. In this discussion ask the girls about computer use in school. Have the girls share with each other how they use computers at school.
Computers at Play
Computers offer a wide variety of games from basic to very complex. Some games cost money and many are free on the internet. Introduce your troop to the world of online games at www.gogirlsonly.org or www.yahooligans.com and let them play some free online games. Take turns finding and playing different games. At the end of their time on the computer, talk about which games the girls liked and why.
The Computer Smarts Try-It will teach the girls in your troop a safe way to navigate the sometimes perilous World Wide Web. It will help give them exposure to some of the things that they can find on the World Wide Web as well as show them how computers are used in the workplace and for recreation. As computers and the internet become more and more a part of our everyday lives, it is important for our girls to learn to safely use these tools. In addition to learning, this Try-It exposes the girls to many fun and educational games on the internet.
Girl Scouts of the USA, “Try-Its For Brownie Girl Scouts”
Yahoo Kids® – http://kids.yahoo.com/