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Baloo's Bugle


October Cub Scout Roundtable Issue

Volume 10, Issue 3
November Theme

Pilgrims at Plymouth Rock
Webelos Craftsman & Scientist
  Tiger Cub Achivement #3






Technology Group

Circle Ten Council


A crystal is a special kind of rock. Different crystals have different beautiful shapes and colors.











What you'll need

Your magnifying glass

Table salt

Epsom salt

Honey jar

Measuring cups and spoons

Paper cut into circles




1 3/4 cups of sugar

2 or 3 paper clips

A glass jar or drinking glass

Your science journal

What to do

Use your magnifying glass to look for crystals.


The table salt and Epsom salt;

The honey jar (particularly if it’s been open awhile)

The walls of the freezer (if not frost-free).

Draw pictures of what you see in your science journal.

Do all of the crystals look the same?

If not, how are they different?

Try dissolving salt crystals and forming new ones: Dissolve 1 teaspoon of salt in 1 cup of water.

Grown-up alert! - Heat the mixture over a low flame to evaporate the water. What's left?

What shape are these crystals?

Snowflakes are made of ice crystals and are beautiful, but they are hard to see clearly.

You can make paper snowflakes.

Take a circle of paper (use thin paper) and fold it in half. Then fan fold it into thirds.

Make cuts along all the edges. Unfold them.




Grow rock candy crystals from dissolved sugar.

Pour a cup of boiling water into a dish Grown-up alert!

Add 1 3/4 cups of sugar.

Stir until the sugar is completely dissolved.

Prepare a jar or glass as shown.




Wash the paper clips and use clean string.

When the sugar water is cool, pour it into the jar and

Put the jar where no one will move it.

Hang the paperclips in the water (may need weights)

Put the pencil on top of the jar.

Some crystals may form in a few hours. Some may grow to be half an inch on each side. To save them, take them out of the water and keep them dry.

But they may disappear-­they are good to eat.

When certain liquids and gases cool and lose water, crystals are formed. Crystals are made up of molecules that fit neatly together in an orderly package. All crystals of the same material have the same shape, regardless of the size.


Attack Of The Straws

Can a paper straw go through a raw potato?

Here's an easy way to learn about inertia and momentum.

What you'll need

A raw potato

One or more paper straws

Your science journal







What to do

l       Put a potato on the table or kitchen counter and hold it firmly with one hand, making sure the palm of your hand is not underneath the potato.*

2      With a fast, strong push, stab the potato with the straw.

3      What happens? Did the straw bend? The straw should go into the potato. If it didn't, try again with another straw--maybe a little faster or harder.

*If the potato is old, soak it in water for about half an hour before trying this activity. An object remains at rest (the potato, in this case) or keeps moving (the straw, in this case) unless it is acted upon by some external force.


Thirsty Bird

Materials: a plastic pop bottle (about l/2 liter), plastic eyedropper, a bucket of pea gravel small enough to drop into the bottle, water supply. (Hint: glue a string on the eyedropper, near either end, so that it can be retrieved if it falls into the bottle.)

Preparation: Sink the empty bottle, with neck exposed, in a bucket of gravel. Partially fill the bottle with water, but leave the water level just too low to be reached with the eyedropper. Remove the water supply. Read the following:

"A jar (point to the pop bottle) is partly buried in the ground. Rains have partially filled the jar with water. A very thirsty bird has found the jar, but the neck of the jar is so small that only the bird's beak (show the eyedropper) can fit down into it. The jar is stuck too firmly into the ground for the bird to tip it over. Can you show the bird how to get a drink?"

Encourage the boys to discuss the problem, to offer solutions. If the boy's seem to be making no progress after a few minutes, read the following:

Do you think that a bird could pick up a piece of this gravel in its beak? Why does putting gravel into the bottle raise the level of water in the bottle?

Optical Illusions

Is it moving and shimmering?

Look at the spiral illusion for a while and it will appear to be shimmering and moving.

Also: Follow the outermost groove and watch it change from a groove to a hump as you go around the wheel.









Stare at the black light bulb for at least 30 seconds. Then immediately stare at a white area on a sheet of paper. You should see a glowing light bulb!




Heart of America Council


Demonstrate the basic principle of the submarine as follows:

1.       Put a two-hole rubber stopper in the mouth of a small, wide-mouthed bottle. In the first hole, insert one end of a piece of glass tubing bent to serve as a siphon. In the other hole, place a piece of straight glass tubing with a rubber tube attached to the free end.

2.       Place the battle in a large jar or basin filled with water with the free end of the bent tubing in a second jar of water at a higher level. By sucking on the rubber tubing and siphoning water into the bottle, you can make it sink. By blowing water out. you can make it float again.

3.       Explain that the submarine submerges by filling its water tanks and rises by blowing them out with compressed air.

Egg In A Milk Bottle

Putting an egg inside a milk bottle with an opening smaller than the size of the egg is not impossible. To accomplish this trick, place a hard-boiled egg in a jar containing some strong vinegar and allow it to stand for twenty-four hours. If the shell is still hard, place it back in the vinegar for another twenty-four hours. The acetic acid in the vinegar will dissolve the hard portion of the shell so you can force the egg into the milk bottle.

The trick is to get it in and out without touching it. Drop a burning straw or match into the bottle and quickly place an egg on the bottle opening. The egg should drop into bottle as soon as flame uses up oxygen and air pressure outside pushes it in. To get the egg out, blow hard into the bottle, then tip it up so egg will drop into neck. If you blow hard enough, the pressure inside should pop egg out.

Frosted Glass

Add Epsom Salts to a saucepan half full of boiling water until no more will dissolve. Pour in a few drops of liquid glue. Next apply the hot liquid to the glass you wish to frost using a small brush. The liquid will begin evaporating almost immediately and form crystals which give the glass a frosted appearance.

The Obedient Egg

Use two quart-size fruit jars for this trick. Fill one three-fourths full of water. Fill the other jar with a strong salt solution made by dissolving as much salt as possible in 1 1/2 pints of water.

Place an egg in the plain water and you will see it sink. Put it in the salt solution and it will float. By placing the egg in the correct solution you can make it obey your commands of "float" or "sink".

Air Currents

1.       Hang two apples about 1 1/2" apart. Blow between them - as hard as possible - you will discover that the force of breath alone won't blow them apart.  Instead it will cause the apples to bump together.

2.       Take a small wad of paper (should be a little over 1# square) and Put it about 1" inside me neck of an empty soda bottle. Now lay the soda bottle on its side and blow into the bottle. You would think that the paper would be blown into the bottle. but it will come flying out.

3.       Get an ordinary kitchen funnel and blow into it while holding a lighted match opposite me corner of the funnel. Your breath will blow the flame toward the funnel instead of blowing it out or away from you.

4.       Line up three glasses. Hold your mouth about 2" in front of the first glass and a lighted match behind the last glass (about 2" from it). When you blow you will be able to blow the match out.

5.       How does an airplane lift? Take strip of paper 2" wide and about 5" long. Fold it an inch from one end. Hold the paper with your forefinger and thumb so that the fold is about an inch or two from your mouth. Blow as hard as you can over top of the paper. You reduce the pressure on the paper, allowing it to rise.

6.       Sink a ship below the water line without getting it wet... make a ship by putting a sail on a cork. Float the cork in deep pan of water. Turn a glass upside down and push it down. The ship will go to the -bottom of the glass but the sail will be dry.

7.       Fill a glass with water and place a coin behind it. Now try to look at the coin through me top of me glass so that you can see the coin through the water and the other side of the glass. You won't be able to see it.

8.       Blow up a balloon and tie it tightly. Hang it in a window. When the air gets cooler the balloon will shrink; when the air gets warmer the balloon will get larger. Warm air takes up more space that cold.

9.       Put a deflated balloon over the neck of a soda bottle. Set the bottle in a pan of very hot water. The balloon will inflate and stand straight up.

10.    Stuff a dry handkerchief in the bottom of a glass (snugly). Fill a large bowl with water. Plunge the glass straight down (open end down), below the surface of the water. The handkerchief will remain dry.

11.    If you have a can with a screw on top you can do an exciting experiment. You will need a clean salad oil can of the rectangular type. Remove the cap and pour in a glass of water. Heat the can until steam pours from the opening. Using pot holders quickly place the can in the sink and quickly screw on the top tightly. Run cold water over the can. The can will buckle and collapse.

Making Secret Inks

The juice from an onion or lemon makes good invisible ink. Using a clean pen and me ink. Write on a piece of blank paper. Make sure your lines are clear and heavy. When me paper dries, it will be blank. However, if you heat the paper carefully over a light bulb, me writing will appear in distinct brown lines that will not fade.

A Foaming Fountain

Place two teaspoonfuls of baking soda in me bottom of a quart milk bottle. Drop a burning match into me bottle. It will continue to burn. Next, pour four teaspoonfuls of vinegar on top of me baking soda and 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 a lighted candle. What happens? The heavy gas can even be poured so flame flutters and may go out. What common objects in most schools use this scientific principle? Fire extinguishers are a good example.

Float A Needle

Water has a skin. Put a needle across the lines of dry fork and lower it slowly to the surface but not touching. Gently let the needle roll off the fork onto the skin of the water. A drop of soapy water on the surface will break the skin of the water and the needle will sink.


Fill a glass to the very brim with water. Start dropping in a variety of small metal objects. The water will not overflow but will raise above the glass. You will be amazed at the number of objects you can put in the water.


Make a magnet by rubbing a large needle or small nail along the pole of a magnet, being sure to go in one direction only. The needle is now a magnet. If you strike the needle sharply or heat it you then distribute the molecules in a different pattern and it will no longer be magnetized.


Hang a nail suspended on black thread inside a bottle. With a magnifying glass focus rays of sunshine onto the black thread holding the nail. The thread will bum and the nail will drop. Now try it with white thread - it won't work.


Place a rubber band against your lips. Then hooking index fingers through both ends of the rubber band, pull ends apart quickly. It feels warm but when you relax the rubber band again, it feels noticeably cooler to your lips.

Static Electricity

Charge a plastic comb by rubbing it with wool, nylon or fur. Dip it into some Rice Krispies. They will be attracted to the comb. But watch closely - one by one the bits will shoot off. They will start to fly off as though shot from a gun.

The Fog Machine

Use a plain glass gallon jug, a stopper to fit it and a bicycle pump. Put a small amount of water or alcohol (which works better) in the jug. Bore a hole through the stopper in the mouth of the jug. After a few strokes of the pump, remove the stopper quickly. There will be a loud pop and you will see that a cloud will form in the jug. To get "fair weather", all you need to do is replace the parts as they were, and pump air back into the jug. The reason the cloud was formed is that in pumping air into the jug, the temperature was raised, making it possible for the air to hold more moisture. When the top was removed, the air expanded and cooled. This cool air could not hold as much moisture, thereby forming a cloud.







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