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Boys have a natural interest in how things work. The Engineer Activity Badge gives an introduction to how the big things in our lives work, such as things that we take for granted in our houses and our communities. Engineer is in the Technology group.


To introduce Webelos to a variety of engineering careers. 
To give the Webelos some insight into the kinds of problems engineers solve. 
Keep in mind that an engineer's job is to apply the laws of physics and chemistry to solve a variety of problems in construction, manufacturing, and other areas.


Architecture, Drafting, Engineering, Surveying
Pioneering, Electricity, Electronics, Masonry, Machinery, General Science

  • Webelos Den Activities, pp. 30-32.

  • Boys' Life.

  • Program Helps, Scouting Magazine.

  • Local power companies.

  • Electrical contractors.

  • County or city government engineers.

  • Army Corps of Engineers.


Have the boys find pictures of different bridges and put together a poster for pack meeting.  
Visit a college engineering department.  
Invite an engineer to visit the den meeting to talk about their job.


  • Measure the dimensions of your meeting place and include the locations of doors and windows. Show how to sketch a simple floor plan with these measurements.
  • Make a block and tackle and demonstrate its use.
  • Make catapults and have a contest. Demonstrate for the pack meeting.
  • Invite an engineer (of whatever kind) to a den meeting to tell about his job.
  • Invite a surveyor to tell about his job and tools.
  • Invent a machine to do a task. You might even have fun concocting a "Rube Goldberg" invention.
  • Visit a construction site with a contractor. Ask him to explain the use of blue prints and the order of construction.
  • Have someone explain how to read topographic maps.
  • Take a field trip to an operating draw bridge, grain elevator, ship loading operation or other large industrial operation involving large cranes or other lifting equipment.
  • Compare design and construction of various kinds of bridges and make a model of one or more.



Based on a foot bridge found in the high mountains of India, the monkey bridge uses one thick rope to walk on and two others as hand ropes.
The same design and knots used in the full-sized version are used in this model. The monkey bridge is often built in Scout camp as part of the Pioneering merit badge.
You'll need some hemp cord, some pieces of strong string, four 1/4" dowels 10" long, and two 1/4" dowels 4" long. A piece of scrap lumber at least 30" long and 4" wide makes a good base.

Make the shear lashings first, about 4" from the top of the shear legs. Tie loosely so the legs can open. Add the crosspieces, fastened with square lashings about 2" from the bottom. All lashings begin and end with a clove hitch.
Stretch the cord between the supports and tack the ends in place. Add the hand ropes and fasten them to the same anchor. Paint or stain the wood to give the bridge a rustic look.


TurbineA Webelos Scout may get a graphic demonstration of the power of steam by building the simple steam turbine shown in this illustration. Materials needed are a tin can, a lid from a second tin can, a pair of tin snips, a sheet metal screw, a cork, a power drill, an extra piece of tin to make the support for the turbine wheel, a finishing nail, and a source of heat.

Assemble to look like the illustration.



Engineer is defined as a person who is skilled in at applying scientific knowledge to practical uses.  Anybody can be an engineer - involved in the creation or construction of something.  The Webelos Scouts will gain some insight about the practical application of skills and knowledge by studying the Engineer activity pin.


  • Aeronautical Engineering - deals with the whole field of design, manufacturing, maintenance, testing, and the use of aircraft.
  • Industrial or Management Engineering - pertains to the efficient use of machinery, labor, and raw materials in industrial production.
  • Chemical Engineering - concern with the design, construction, and management of factories in which essential processes consist of chemical reactions.
  • Civil Engineering - is one of the broadest of the engineering fields dealing with the creation improvement and protection of the communal environment.  Buildings, roads, bridges, airports and other constructions are just a few of the areas civil engineers impact.
  • Electrical Engineering - involves the use of electrical power, electrical machinery and communication, information, and control systems.
  • Geological and Mining Engineering - includes activities related to the discovery and processing of minerals.
  • Mechanical Engineering - speaks to the design and operation of all types of machinery.
  • Safety Engineering - is concerned with the prevention of accidents.


There are many types of engineers.  Chemical, electrical, civil and industrial are just a few.  
It usually takes a creative mind and attention to detail to be a good engineer.  

Through work on the Engineer Activity Badge, your Webelos Scouts will get an appreciation for engineering and what it takes to accomplish engineering feats.

 The Seven Wonders of the World are great feats of engineering.  Have your boys find out some information about them including, height and years of existence.  Here is a list of wonders

Pyramids of Egypt* Giza, Egypt  2580 BC 
Hanging Gardens of Babylon Iraq  600 BC
Colossus of Rhode  Island of Rhodes (off coast of Turkey) 280 BC
Temple of Artemis (Diana)  Ephesus, Turkey 350 BC
Tomb of Halicarnassus Bodrum, Turkey 325 BC
Lighthouse of Alexandria Island of Pharos  300 BC
Statue of Zeus  Olympia, Greece 500 BC
    *The pyramids of Egypt are the only one of the Seven Wonders still in existence


  • The Pentagon  6,636,360 sq. ft 1943

  • Sears Tower 4,500,000 - sq. ft 1974

  • Merchandise Mart 4,023,400 sq./ft 1931


All land surveys tie into a "Bench mark". The benchmark is a bronze disk about two inches in diameter indicating the location and elevation of its position. Tile city engineer for your city will be able to tell you where the benchmarks are located within your city or area. You can survey an area near your den site even without knowing where the benchmark is located. Start by using Et fixed point marked by a colorful rag held in place by a nail pushed into the ground.
To do this demonstration, yeti will need a compass, a 2x4 approximately three feet long, and a 50- or 100-foot long tape. Start at one corner of the area to be surveyed. Take a reading of your compass setting at the top of the 2x4 and measure the distance to the next point. Do this around your area that you have chosen to survey, making sure that you mark down the Compass and linear distance between each pair of points.

      •  360 degrees North 40' Points A to B
      •  90 degrees East 100' Points B to C
      •  180 degrees South 40' Points C to D
      •  270 degrees West 100' Points D to A
If possible, try to get a surveyor's transit to show the Webelos. This transit works much the same way as the above demonstration but also gives degree readings in elevation as well as horizontal.

Survey field


Symbols can be used in floor plans drawn for requirement 8 of the Webelos Engineer activity badge. 
Make a game of learning them by putting each one on a 3" x 5" card and using them as flash cards.

blueprint symbols



Begin the demonstration by laying a brick on a Styrofoam cup laying on its side.  Place another cup on its rim and add bricks (2 or 3) until it crushes.  Glue 4 cups together rim to rim and bottom to bottom with white glue and allow to dry.  Place bricks (usually 4) on until the structure crushes.  Demonstration shows the use of columns in engineering and bridges.


  • Materials: Pencil, paper plate with ridges, water faucet and sink
With the pencil, poke a hole in the center of the paper plate.
Insert the pencil through the hole in the plate, wiggling the pencil back and forth so the hole is loose enough that the plate turns easily on the pencil.
Turn on the tap water to produce a steady stream of water.  
Hold the pencil so that one edge of the paper plate touches the water.  
The plate will spin.  If you turn the faucet higher the plate will sin faster.
What did you do?  You have just created a primitive waterwheel or water turbine.


For Engineer activity badge item number 5, the scouts are to draw three types of bridges. 
For additional fun, have the scouts make bridges out of toothpicks. Each scout can make his favorite, or you can do this as a den activity to test the different strengths of each bridge design.

To make the bridges use white glue and the tooth picks that are square in the centers and rounded on each end. Do not use hot glue, as it will stretch and not give accurate results. The Webelos Book shows several bridges, of which the plank, beam, and truss bridges will be easiest to build from toothpicks. 

If you wish to test the bridges, they must follow these additional guidelines.

  • Each bridge must span a determined distance. Six inches between supports is a good distance. 

    • Glue two child's blocks, or two pieces of 2 x 2 lumber on a piece of paper, with six inches between them. The bridges must be able to sit on these blocks with nothing else supporting them.

  • Each bridge must be one toothpick wide.

  • Each bridge must not use more than one box of toothpicks

The bridge building must be done in stages, giving time for the glue to set up. 
Work on toil or plastic wrap so that the bridges won't stick to the table, and you will be able to move them. 
Let them dry for several days before testing.

To test the bridges, support them, one at a time between two tables or two chairs. 
Place a l\2 or 3\4 inch dowel, 1 foot long over the bridge, and hang a 3 pound coffee can (or similar) from the dowel.
(The coffee can should have holes on each side which have rope or heavy wire handles attached. The handles should be the same length, and should hang on either side of the bridge
Test the bridges by pouring sand, one cup at a time, into the can. Count the number of cups of sand added until the bridge cracks.


This graphic demonstration shows how block and tackle increases power. Use two lengths of broomstick or dowel and a length of clothesline. Attached (by knot, staple or nail) one end of the line to one of the sticks. Wrap line loosely around both sticks as shown. Have two of the bigger den members hold the sticks. Ask the smallest Webelos Scout to pull on the line. He will be able to pull the two sticks together, no matter how hard the bigger boys try to hold back.

A second type of block and tackle may be easily constructed which will allow Webelos Scouts to see a simple version of a working model. This simple machine and its uses will captivate most boys, and they can make one either as a den project or individually. 

The only materials necessary are a few small pieces of wood, a couple of hooks, a length of light rope, and two thread spools. If spools are not available, make them by cutting up a dowel or broomstick, and drilling a hole in the center of each ‘spool’ and using a nail for an axle.


La MOUSSE 500 is a mouse trap cars it is powered by a mouse trap — a mouse trap on wheels — something so simple and inexpensive that anyone can make one. The idea was conceived by some French Canadian Scouts from Ontario, and the instructions had to be translated from the French. They went to a “Youth in Action” fair and where it was the hit of the show.

List of Material
Front wheels and axle ( Pinewood derby) 2 each
Mouse trap (Victor brand)
Wood block 1 3/4 x 4 3/4 x 1/2
Screw eyes 5/16” 2 each
Rear wheels S — 4” dia. 2 each
Dowel 1/4” x 4”
Nylon string ,6”
Side View

Remove the cheese holder and hook arm from the trap base.
Mount the trap on the base with the snapper to one end (as shown on the diagram above).
Carefully measure 1/2” from the end of the base for the eyelets. Install eyelets so that the dowel axle turns freely. Drill a 1/16” hole through axle (this is for winding the string).
Mount rear wheels on the rear axle. Be sure that the wheels turn freely and do not bind against the body block. 
Mouse trap car
Spacers may be needed to aid in this. Front wheels — Remove any molding flash from wheels.
Carefully locate and drill guide holes for the front axle pins. Install wheels testing to make sure that they turn smoothly.
Tie a string about six inches long to the center of the snapper. This will then be fed through the hole in the rear axle.


Pull the snapper back to its full extent and hold with thumb. Slip the tip of the string through the hole in the axle and wind the wheels backward, winding the string around the axle.
Set the racer on the floor, not carpet, and release. The car should go at least 9 feet. If the string is too long it will’ wind around the axle and stop the car. Speed and distance can be increased by waxing the axle where it rubs on the screw eyes. Any other modifications that will give better operation and looks are up to you. HAVE FUN!!!


  • Divide the den into two teams.  Give each player three peanuts.  
  • One at a time, the players try to catapult their peanuts into an empty milk carton which is sitting on the floor.  
    • They do this by holding one end of a ruler in one hand, holding a peanut against the other end of the ruler and bending it back, then releasing it so the peanut will sail towards the carton.  
  • Score one point for each peanut that lands in the carton.


Catapult Arm:   Three Popsicle sticks (cut one down to 1k”), a 15” piece of strong twine, one plastic spoon (cut handle until there is 3//i” of handle left on spoon), one rubber band (lightweight).

Base: Wooden slat 3/8” thick (approx. 1 3/8” X 3 1/4”).

Sides: Eight Popsicle sticks, one clamp clothespin, 1 3/4” nail

Missiles: Clay balls about 3/4’ in diameter wrapped in aluminum foil.


This is a fun, but somewhat involved project. 

Model Catapult
  • Start by cutting all the pieces from 3/4” clear white pine, check them all for fit. 
  • Attach the vertical pieces to the base using wood glue and nails or screws. 
  • Insert the crank shaft and secure with dowels. This must turn very freely. If needed ream out the holes slightly.
  • Attach the pivot shaft and arm and secure with dowels. The arm must pivot freely on the pivot shaft, and must not rub on the vertical pieces. 
  • Attach the rubber band shaft and secure with dowels. You may want to try different rubber bands until you reach maximum performance. 
  • Last step is to attach a cord between the arm and crankshaft, crank it down, and let her rip!
Catapult Plan

 Or Visit The Catapult Museum


  • Dry cell and battery holder
  • 22 gauge insulated hook-up wire (Radio Shack)
  • Nail
  • Miniature 1.5 volt bulb (Radio Shack) 
  • Miniature socket to fit bulb (Radio Shack)
  • Cardboard
Quiz board
  • Use the nail to punch six holes down the left side of a piece of cardboard and six holes down the right side.
  • Cut the wire into 6 pieces that will comfortably extend between any hole on the left side to any hole on the right side of the cardboard.
  • Strip 1/2" of the insulation from both ends of the wires. Place the end of each wire in any vacant hole on the left and the other end in any vacant hole on the right. Secure wires in place with hot glue.
  • Cut another length of wire, strip tile ends, and connect one end to one of the dry cell holder
  • terminals and the other end to one of the socket terminals.
  • Connect a second wire (with the insulation stripped off the ends) to the remaining terminal of the dry cell holder.
  • Attach a third wire (with stripped ends) to the remaining terminal of the socket.
  • Test: by touching the two free ends of tile wires together briefly, the light should go on.
  • Write a question next to one of the holes on tile left side of the cardboard. Follow the wire from the left side to its end on tile right. Write the answer to this question next to the hole on the right side of the cardboard that holds the opposite end of the wire. Continue this procedure for all 6 wires.
  • Ask a friend to take the two free ends of the wires from the cell holder and socket and touch the matching questions and answers. Tile light bulb will light up when the answer is correct.
  • This works because the circuit is completed by touching the question with one end of the wire and the answer with the other.