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Baloo's Bugle


October 2002 Cub Scout Roundtable Issue

Volume 9, Issue 3
November Theme

Kids Against Crime
Webelos Craftsman & Scientist
  Tiger Cub Achievement 3



Crossroads of America

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 several branches.  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 eyes work.  Scientists learn a lot by experimenting or trying things out.  Try things for yourself.

Visit an eye specialist and learn how the eyes work.  Visit the control tower of an airport.  Learn about the principles of flight. ·Tour an airplane and look at all the control dials.

Do the atmospheric pressure tests or balance tests in the Webelos Book.

Make Fog or Crystals.
Do the inertia experiments in the Webelos Book.

Invite a local weatherman to your den meeting to talk about the climate during the year.
Have a slow-motion bicycle riding contest to illustrate balancing skills.

Plan a scientific experiment to be demonstrated at the pack meeting.

Pascal’s Law

"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."

  1. 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.
  2.  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, and then seal the top of the bottle with clay, taking care that the straw is not bent or crimped.  Have 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!

Place about 1/4 cup baking soda in a coke bottle and 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 expand with C02.

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.


"Inertia is the tendency of a thing at rest to remain at rest and a thing in motion to continue the same straight line".
Get a small stick about 10 inches in length and the diameter of a pencil.  Fold a newspaper and place it near the edge of a table.  Place the stick under the newspaper on the table and let about half he stick extend over the edge of the table.  Strike the stick sharply with another stick.  Inertia should cause the stick on the table to break into two parts.

Get a fresh egg and a hard-boiled egg.  Give each of them a spinning motion in a soup dish.  Observe that the hard-boiled egg spins longer.  The inertia of the fluid contents of the fresh egg brings it to rest sooner.

Air Pressure

The Upside-Down Glass That Won't Spill
Fill a drinking glass to the very top with water. The water should spill over the top a bit.  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.  Stop holding the cardboard on as it will stay on by itself.

A Homemade Barometer

Use a milk bottle, a soda straw, a piece of a penny balloon, and a length of string.  Cover the mouth of the milk bottle with the piece of balloon, tying it in place with the string.  Glue one end of the soda straw to the middle of the balloon.  Make a scale on a piece of cardboard, by making 1/2 inch marks about 1/8 inch apart.  Attach the free end of the straw across the scale, but don't let it touch the scale. Mark the scale from 1 to whatever number of lines on the scale.  Ask one of the boys to be in charge of the barometer for a month.  Have him mark the number on the scale that the barometer points to each day at a certain time.

Do It Yourself Flashlight

This flashlight can be assembled easily and provide a fun project for the boys.  And better yet, it actually works!  You will need a flashlight battery, a bulb, a plastic pill bottle with a flexible lid and some insulated wire.  The pill bottle should be large enough for the batter and bulb base to fit inside it.  The wire should be the kind that can be bent easily.  Scrape the insulation from one end of your wire and form it into a flat coil.  Attach the coil to the bottom of the battery with adhesive tape.  Cut an opening in the center of the pill bottle lid. so that the base of the bulb will fit.  Push base of bulb through hole in lid.  Scrape the other end of the wire and wind it around the base of the bulb.

Secure in place with tape.  Crumble small piece of paper.  Place enough of this in bottom of bottle so that when battery is inserted and the lid is tightly in place, the bottom of the bulb will just make contact with the raised center top of the battery.  Hinge one side of the lid to the bottle with tape.  When lid is closed. the bulb will light.  To shut off your flashlight, flip up the lid.  This light creates a dim glow.  If you want a larger light, use two batteries in a larger container.


Bottle Target: Webelos take turns seeing how many toothpicks they can land in a milk bottle which is placed on the floor an arm's length away.  Players drop the toothpicks one at a time.  They may lean forward, but can't move their feet.

Scientists Quiz (True or False?)

(Make copies of this quiz for all the Webelos to try.)
1. Electric current was discovered in Italy in 1781. (True, by Luigi Galvani.)
2. Vulcanized rubber was an accidental discovery by Charles Goodyear. (True, in 1839.)
3.  Madame Curie was the second woman to win the Nobel Prize. (False, she was the first woman.  It was in Chemistry, for the discovery of radium,)
4. Mark Twain was the first author to submit a typewritten manuscript to a publisher. (True, Life on. the Mississippi in about 1875.)
5. "Disks for the Eyes" was the original name for contact lenses. (False, the name for eyeglasses that were made in Italy in 1280.)

A Real Attention Getter

Inflate a balloon and affix 3 - 4 squares of plastic tape to it.  Have a boy stick a pin through the center of each piece of tape.  To everyone's amazement, the balloon will not burst. When the pins are removed the balloon still will not burst.  What is happening: The adhesive substance on the tape acts like a self-sealing automobile tire, adhering to the pin as it is pressed inward. When the pin is removed, the adhesive is forced outward by the air pressure from within the balloon, automatically sealing the tiny pinholes.

Atomic Chart

Make up flash cards with the symbols of the atomic table on one side and the element word on the other side.  Mix them up, forward and backwards.  Play in pairs or compete as teams.  Teams can be one person answering at a time, or a group effort.   Who are the best "Scientists!"

Hot Air Balloon Power

Divide scouts into 2 or more teams, each player is given a balloon which he blows Lip and holds by the neck until his turn.  A raceway is defined for each team and a Ping-Pong ball is then placed at the beginning of each raceway.  Team players take turns letting air escape from their balloons, blowing a Ping-Pong ball down the raceway.  The winner is the team that blows the ball the furthest down their raceway.



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