likes to experiment. The Scientist Activity Badge will teach some of the
basic laws of science and how to prove them through experiment.
To acquaint Webelos with basic laws of
physics. To give boys the opportunity to perform experiments. To introduce
boys to atmospheric science. To teach boys a little about optics. To demonstrate
a few "mysteries" of science
BOY SCOUT MERIT
Astronomy, Chemistry, Space
Exploration, Weather, Aviation, General Science.
Webelos Den Activities, pp. 72-77.
Science Digest magazine.
United States Weather Bureau.
Jr. high and senior high science teachers.
GO AND WHAT TO DO
Visit an optometrist's or ophthalmologist’s
office and ask him/her to explain the tools of the
Arrange to have the boys visit a school
science lab to see those tools.
Grow crystals or a coal garden.
the Scientist Activity Badge is it "doing"
badge, not a "watching" badge.
For best results, follow this procedure:
1. Demonstrate the experiment.
2. Explain the experiment.
3. Ask questions to test understanding.
4. Allow Webelos to do tile experiment.
5. Have each boy log the experiment.
6. Have each boy explain tile experiment.
7. Ask again
What does a scientist do?
- A scientist studies things
to learn how they behave and why.
- Scientists try to find
out the laws of nature about the things they study.
- People can use these rules
or laws in making things.
- While working on this
activity badge, you will learn a few of the main ideas in physics.
- Physics is a science with
- One of these branches
will be weather.
- You can learn a little
about weather in these activity badge requirements.
- Another branch of physics
is called optics. You will have a chance
to learn something about sight and find out how your
- Scientists learn a lot
by experimenting or trying things out.
- Try things for yourself.
- Scientists take nothing
- They may be sure an idea
is true, but they always test it, if possible, to make certain they are
Visit an industrial lab
Visit a planetarium
Visit a TV news weather station
Visit a high school or college
Go to a community science
Have a magic show with each
boy doing an optical illusion
Talk about the various branches of science and how
Do the atmospheric pressure tests or balance tests
in the Webelos book.
Grow a crystal garden.
Do the inertia experiments in the Webelos book.
the same thing?
Though they use many of the same ideas and methods, scientists and engineers
are somewhat different.
What do scientists
want to know how the universe works. They may see it as an enormous jigsaw
puzzle to solve for its own sake. Some things they find are useful right
away, others not (though much of what scientists have found in the past
has turned out to be useful in some way). Though they certainly want to
help people, their major goal is understanding, not usefulness.
try to use the facts of science and math to do things that are useful to
people. Many engineers are designers -- designing the many products that
we use in the world, from computers to cars to camera lenses.
What do they
have in common?
few things, actually. Scientists and engineers both use the facts and methods
of science, and both often use MATH and COMPUTERS in their work.
Visit an eye specialist and
learn how the eyes work.
Visit the control tower
of the Metropolitan Airport or visit a Municipal Airport. Learn about
the principles of fight.
Tour an airplane and look
at all the control dials.
1 gallon clear glass or plastic jar with a wide mouth
rubber glove (Playtex brand works well)
Barely cover the bottom
of the jar with water. Hang the glove inside the jar with the fingers pointing
down and stretch the glove's open end over the mouth of the jar to seal
it . Insert your hand into the glove and pull it quickly outward
without disturbing the jar's seal.
Nothing will happen.
Now remove the glove, drop a lit match into the jar, and replace the glove.
Pull outward on the glove once more. Fog forms inside the jar when you
pull the glove outward and disappears when the glove snaps back.
The fog will form for 5 to 10 minutes before the smoke particles settle
and will have to be replenished.
|Why? Water molecules
are present in the air inside the jar but they are in the form of invisible
gas molecules, or vapor, flying around individually and not sticking to
one another. When you pull the glove outward, you allow the air in
the jar to expand. In expanding, the air must do work, which means
that it loses some of its thermal energy, which in turn means that its
molecules (including those of the water vapor) slow down slightly.
This is a roundabout way of saying that the air becomes cooler! When the
water molecules slow down, they can stick to each other more easily so
they begin to bunch up in tiny droplets. The particles of smoke in
the jar help this process along.
|The water molecules bunch
together more easily when there is a solid particle to act as a nucleus.
When you push the glove back in, you warm the air in the jar slightly,
which causes the tiny droplets to evaporate and again become invisible.
Shine a slide projector
through the cloud you make in the jar. When the smoke is fresh, the
droplets will be large compared to all wavelengths of visible light and
the light they scatter will be white. As the smoke dissipates, the
water drops will become smaller and the light scattered will created beautiful
pastel colors at some viewing angles
"The pressure of a liquid
or a gas like air is the same in every direction if the liquid is in a
closed container. If you put more pressure on the top of the liquid'
or gas. the increased pressure will spread all over the container."
A good experiment to demonstrate
air pressure is to take two plumber's force cups (plumber's friend) and
force them firmly against each other so that some of the air is forced
out from between them. Then have the boys try to pull them apart.
When you drink something
with a straw, do you suck up the liquid? No! What happens is that
the air pressure inside the straw is reduced, so that the air outside the
straw forces the liquid up the straw.
To prove this fill a pop bottle
with water, put a straw into the bottle, then seal the top of the bottle
with clay, taking care that the straw is not bent or crimped. Then
let one of the boys try to suck the water out of the bottle. They
can't do it! Remove the clay and have the boy put two straws into
his mouth. Put one of the straws into the bottle of water and the other on
the outside. Again he'll have no luck in sucking water out of the
bottle. The second straw equalizes the air pressure inside your mouth.
Place about 1/4 cup baking
soda in a coke bottle. Pour about 1/4 cup vinegar into a balloon.
Fit the top of the balloon over the top of the bottle, and flip the balloon
so that the vinegar goes into the bottle. The gas formed from the
mixture will blow the balloon, up so that it will stand upright on the
bottle and begin to expand. The baking soda and vinegar produce C02,
which pushes equally in all directions. The balloon which can
expand in all directions with pressure, will do so as the gas is pressured
For this next experiment
you will need: A medicine dropper, a tall jar, well filled with water;
a sheet of rubber which can be cut from a balloon; and a rubber band. Dip
the medicine dropper in the water and fill it partly. Test the dropper
in the jar - if it starts to sink, squeeze out a few drops until it finally
floats with the top of the bulb almost submerged. Now, cap the jar
with the sheet of rubber and fix the rubber band around the edges until
the jar is airtight. Push the rubber down with your finger and the
upright dropper will sink. Now relax your finger and the dropper
will rise. You have prepared a device known as a 'Cartesian Diver'.
The downward pressure on the rubber forces the water up into the bottom
of the diver, compressing the air above it, producing the effects of sinking,
suspension and floating, according to the degree of pressure applied.
Glass That Won't Spill
Fill a drinking glass
to the very top with water. The water should spill over the top a
Carefully lay the cardboard
square to completely cover the top the glass.
Holding the cardboard
on top, turn the glass over until it is straight upside down.
holding the cardboard on. It will stay on by itself.
Fasten a white disc, 3/4-in
diameter on a 3 foot piece of white thread.
Have someone hold the
thread so the disc can swing like a pendulum.
Start the disc swinging
in a perfectly straight line and view it from a distance of three feet
against a plain wall. Notice how the disc swings in a line
like a pendulum.
Hold a sunglass lens over one eye.
the path of the swinging object again.
The movement will no longer
be in line but in a circle. If you switch the lens to the other eye, the
movement will appear to be in the opposite direction.
Shows how important it is for the eyes to receive similar images.
This measures the density
of a liquid. An object can float in a liquid only if it is less dense
than the liquid.
Prove this by placing a fresh egg in a glass of
water. The egg will sink. Then add 1 tablespoon of salt to
the water and the egg will float. Try sticking a thumbtack into a
pencil eraser and place the pencil in water, point up. Mark the waterline
on the pencil. Add salt to the water. The pencil will ride
higher in the water.
WHY? BECAUSE SALT
WATER IS MORE DENSE!
EGG AND SALTY MAGIC
The salt water of the seas is much
denser than the fresh water of rivers and lakes, and therefore it is easier
to float in the ocean.
Show this by filling two glasses half full of water.
In one of them, mix in about 10 heaping teaspoons of salt.
Try floating an egg in each glass.
In which glass does the egg float?
Now take the eggs out of both glasses.
Carefully and slowly, pour the fresh water into the salt water glass.
Gently lower an egg Into the water. It should float (remain suspended)
at the salt water level.
Fill a 12 ounce glass three fourths full
Add a tablespoon of baking soda and stir until clear.
into the glass.
Pour vinegar into the glass. Use as much vinegar as it
takes to make the raisins come to the top of the water. Bubbles will appear,
and the raisins will "dance."
Mixing vinegar and baking soda together
forms a gas called carbon dioxide. Bubbles of carbon dioxide stick to the
sides of the raisins, act like air bags, and float the heavy raisins to
the surface. At the surface the bubbles break, the raisins sink again,
and the process starts all over.
| Colorful, small, delicate crystals grow on a charcoal
or brick surface. You can also use pieces of sponge, coal, or crumbled
cork to grow the crystals on. Crystals are formed because the porous materials
they grow on draw up the solution by capillary action. As the water evaporates
on the surface, deposits of solids are left behind, forming the crystals.
As more solution is drawn up, it passes through the crystals that have
already formed, depositing more solids on their surfaces, causing the crystals
Mix together a few drops
of the red and green food coloring.
Make a spot on the paper towel
with this mixture about one inch from the bottom. Let dry.
Pour the water into the glass and
stir in the salt.
Place the pencil across the top of the glass.
Hang the paper strip over the pencil so that the end of the paper with
the spot just dips into the water.
Wait a few minutes, and the water
will slowly climb up the paper.
The spot will separate into patches
of red, yellow, light green and blue.
The food coloring is a
mixture of different colored chemicals. As the salt water climbs
up the paper it dissolves the chemicals. Some chemicals rise higher
than others. Separating chemicals this way is
called Chromatography. When the chemicals are separated they can
be identified more easily.
two Ping-Pong balls,
two feet of thread,
some mending tape and
a drinking straw.
Tape each ball to
an end of the thread.
Hold the center of the thread so that the balls dangle
about one foot below your fingers and about one or two inches apart.
the boys blow through a straw exactly between the balls, front a distance
of a few inches.
Instead of being repelled, the balls will be attracted
to each other.
The air current
directed between the Ping-Pong balls reduces the intervening air pressure.
Stronger pressure from the far sides pushes the balls together. The strength
of the air front the straw will determine how close the balls will come.
|If you pull gently on the string, the truck will move at
least until the block falls oft the "wheels." But if you give a hard
jerk the string will break. Why’? Because the inertia of the bricks is too
much for the string. (See the Webelos Scout Book, Scientist section, for an
explanation of inertia.)
|A Webelos Scientist demonstration
of the Law of Archimedes. The boat floats easily but the bail sinks. Why?
Because the boat displaces much more water than the ball
||Half fill the bottle with vinegar. Wrap a small quantity of
bicarbonate of soda In facial tissue and put it In the bottle. Immediately put
the cork in. Lay the bottle on two parallel pencils as shown. When the vinegar
and bicarbonate of soda react, they form carbon dioxide. When the gas
builds up, the cork wilt pop and the reaction will thrust the bottle forward
on its rollers.
Alessandro Volta, an Italian physicist,
produced electricity by chemical reaction in 1800. He did this with a device
that became known as a voltaic cell. It was the first wet cell battery.
Volta's battery was made with pairs of zinc and silver pieces. The electric
current ran from the zinc to the silver through pieces of board soaked
in salt water. You can make your own simple voltaic cell.
piece of copper wire
Straighten out the paper
clip and copper wire. They should be about the same length.
Thrust both wires deep into the lemon.
They should be side by side, but not touching.
Put the free ends of the wires to
your tongue. The slight tingle and metallic taste you feel is due to the
passage of electrons through the saliva on your tongue. The acid in the
lemon acted as an electrolyte. An electrolyte is a substance that is not
metal that carries electricity.
The chemical reaction caused electrons
to build up on one of the wires and decrease on the other wire.
When you put the free ends
of the wires to your tongue, you closed the circuit between the two wires.
Electrons flowed from the wire with more electrons, through your saliva
that acted as a conductor, to the wire with fewer electrons. The entire
system of lemon, wires, and saliva is a simple battery. It is similar to
the first battery made by Alessandro Volta.
Place two teaspoonfuls of baking soda
in the bottom of a quart glass bottle.
Drop a burning match into the bottle.
It will continue to burn.
Next pour four teaspoonfuls of vinegar on top
of the baking soda, being careful not to pour directly onto the match.
Watch what happens.
The seething, foaming mass is carbon dioxide, released
from the soda by the vinegar.
What happens now to a lighted match?
Why? Is carbon dioxide gas heavier than air? Than oxygen? Tip bottle slowly
over it lighted candle. What happens? The heavy gas can even be poured
so the flame flutters and may go out. This is the principle behind some
BEAUFORT WIND SCALE
The Beaufort Wind Scale was originally
devised by Sir Francis Beaufort to describe wind speed in chart form.
By watching the effect of wind on objects in the neighborhood, it is possible
to estimate its speed.
Effect of Wind
Calm Smoke rises vertically
Light Air Smoke drifts
Light Breeze Leaves rustle
Gentle Breeze Flags fly
Moderate Breeze Dust, loose paper
Fresh Breeze Small trees
Strong Breeze Difficult to
Moderate Gale Difficult
Fresh Gale Twigs break
Strong Gale Slight damage
Whole Gale Trees uprooted
Less than 1
1 - 3
4 - 7
8 - 12
13 - 18
19 - 24
25 - 31
32 - 38
39 - 46
47 - 54
55 - 63
64 - 75
We live under a blanket of air called
the earth's atmosphere. The air in the atmosphere exerts pressure
of almost fifteen pounds per inch on every surface of earth.
Fill a glass to overflowing
and lay a piece of cardboard atop it. Support the card with one hand,
turn the glass upside down, and remove your hand from the card. The
card does not fall. It remains on the glass and allows no water to
escape. Why? The air pressure from below the cardboard is greater
than the pressure of the water above and presses the card tightly against
If we compress air (put more air into
the same space), we will increase its pressure and can use it in machines.
Your bike tires use compressed air to give you a smooth ride.
Scientist Activity Badge
Lab, Australian Broadcasting Corporation
online periodic elements table