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Baloo's Bugle


November 2004 Cub Scout Roundtable Issue

Volume 11, Issue 4
December 2004 Theme

Theme: Holiday Food Fare
Webelos: Craftsman & Scientist
  Tiger Cub:
Achievement 2 & Activities




This is the second month for both Craftsman and Scientist so the ideas here are limited.  Go back to last month’s Baloo.  There were a lot of ideas there.  CD



Baltimore Area Council

Ask any boy what a scientist is and he can tell you. A scientist is the guy who sends men to the moon, and who builds space ships that travel to distant planets to send back pictures for them to study. A scientist is a person who builds lasers and atom-smashers, and computers. A scientist makes and designs all kinds of neat inventions.

Ask the same boy what makes the scientist any different from anyone else and he may not be able to answer. Perhaps most people wouldn’t be able to answer. The answer is that as a person the scientist is no different from anyone else, but when he is working he questions everything and makes tests and experiments to make sure things are true. If he can’t explain something, he makes up a hypothesis. If one hypothesis doesn’t work, he looks for another, until he finds one that can be proven over and over again by experiments.

Den Activities

ü       Visit an eye specialist and find out how the eye works.

ü       Have a visiting scientist demonstrate an experiment related to the badge requirements.

ü       Visit an airport and ask an expert to explain flight principles.

ü       Have a slow-motion bicycle-riding contest to demonstrate balancing skills.

ü       Do some of the experiments found in the Webelos Scout book.

ü       Practice balance skills.

ü       Make some optical illusions and show how the eyes converge.

ü       Discuss various branches of science and how they differ.

ü       Study fog and how it is formed.

ü       Invite a weather expert to talk to the Den or visit a weather station to learn about weather and air pressure.

Kitchen Chemistry

Make Crystals You Can Eat

If you’ve ever eaten rock candy or spooned sugar onto your morning cereal, then you’ve come face-to-face with crystals. Ice, table salt, glassware and sugar are just a few of the many substances that make up crystals. The best way for Webelos Scouts to learn how crystals are formed in nature is to perform an experiment to make crystals.

Pour one cup of water into a small pan. Cover and bring it to a boil. Turn off the heat and add two cups of cane sugar. Stir until dissolved. Let cool. Pour sugar solution into a tall glass. Tie a piece of clean white string to a pencil or stick and place the stick across the glass so that the string hangs down into the liquid. Put the glass in a cool place for a few days. In a short time small crystals will form along the sides of the glass. Soon they will begin to cling to the string. After several days, large crystals, hard as a rock, will have formed around the string. Lift the string out of the glass and taste some delicious homemade rock candy.

Unlike living things, crystals grow by adding layer upon layer of their own substance to the exterior surface. In growing, tiny atoms in a crystal naturally arrange themselves in planes or flat surfaces. They eventually form a geometric pattern in space. Some crystals arrange themselves in a six-sided structure; others in ten-sided or twelve-sided formations. It is impossible to see these tiny atoms when you look closely at a crystal, but the sparkling light you do see is caused by reflection from many inner surfaces of the crystal.

Many minerals found in the outdoors are crystals, too. Quartz, mica, gold, silver, and graphite are some of these. If you are hiking in the woods and find a shiny stone embedded in a duller one, then you’ve probably discovered quartz. If the shiny stone peels in layers, then you’ve found mica. Take a good look at all the crystals that you find. Examine them under a magnifying glass, and hold them up to the light. You will have begun the exciting study of crystals.

Vinegar Magic

Vinegar combined with baking soda produces carbon dioxide, a colorless, odorless gas. This is what you breathe out when you exhale. It is also the gas that gives soda pop its fizz. Try these experiments with distilled white vinegar.

Genie of the Bottle

Put a tablespoon of baking soda in a bottle. And vinegar and quickly fit a balloon over the rim of the bottle while the mixture is fizzing. Use a balloon that has been blown up before so that it will stretch easily. The carbon dioxide produced will inflate the balloon.

Bouncing Buttons

Stir a teaspoon of soda in a glass of water. Drop in some buttons and pour in vinegar to make the buttons bounce to the top. Bubbles of carbon dioxide that have formed are lighter than water and these bubbles lift the buttons. They will bounce up and down for quite a while. Add more vinegar when they slow down.

Atmospheric Pressure

Boiling Water with Ice

To show that the boiling point of a liquid depends on the atmospheric pressure. try this experiment. Use a heatproof glass container (like a Pyrex coffee maker) with a stopper Boil a half inch of water and when some of the steam has escaped, stopper the container and turn it upside down. Now put an ice cube on top of the inverted container. Presto! The water begins boiling again. Why? Because the cold of the ice cube has lowered the air pressure by condensing the water vapor left in the container. As the air pressure is reduced, the boiling point of the still hot water drops and the water boils.


To make a geyser, fill a shallow pan nearly full of water. Put an inverted glass funnel in the water, with a nail under one side to raise it. Heat the water. As the steam is generated, air bubbles force water out of the neck because the water pressure becomes higher than the atmospheric pressure.

Welding Glasses

Use two matching drinking glasses. Light a candle in the bottom glass and place it over a piece of thick, damp paper. Put the other glass on top. When the candle flame goes out for the lack of oxygen, the glasses will be “welded” together. The heat from the candle drives out enough air so that atmospheric pressure holds the glasses together.

Bernoulli’s Principle

Tent Flattening Trick: Fold a 5” x 8” piece of paper into a pup tent shape and place it on a table. Now blow through the tent. Does it blow away? No? Why not? The moving air stream through the tent brings down the air pressure. The greater pressure above the tent pushes it down and prevents any horizontal movement.

Swinging Ping-Pong Ball

Materials needed:

A ping-pong ball,  Adhesive tape,

1 foot of thread or string, Faucet

Fix the string to the ping-pong ball with tape. Turn on the water to form a steady stream. While holding the string, flip the ball into the water from a few inches away. Not only will the ball stay with the string at an angle, but you can draw the ball up the stream almost to the faucet.

What happens: The water, streaming around one side of the ball, exerts less pressure than the air which surrounds the other side. Even though you can feel the resistance of the water as you draw the ball upward, the air pressure is still stronger, as the experiment proves.

Pascal’s Law

Materials needed:

Two straws, Pop bottle, Clay

When you drink something with a straw, do you suck up the liquid? No! To prove this, fill a pop bottle with water, put a straw into the bottle, the 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 one straw into the bottle of water and the other on the outside. Again, he’ll have no luck in sucking the water out of the bottle.

What happens: In the first experiment, the air pressure inside the straw is reduced, so that the air outside the straw forces the liquid up the straw. In the second experiment, the second straw equalizes the air pressure in your mouth.


Air Cannon Hockey: This game will demonstrate air pressure. Use round cardboard oatmeal boxes. Cut a hole the size of a penny in the tops. Fasten the lid back to the box tightly. Use a table for the field, with a goal at either end. Have a boy sit at each end of the “field” with a cannon (box) and put a ping-pong ball in the middle of the table. By tapping the back of the box and aiming it at the ball, try to score by putting the ball through your opponent’s goal. The Webelos leader can demonstrate the effectiveness of his oatmeal box cannon by using it to put out a candle. Fill cannon with smoke, then aim at candle, tap back of box, and flame will be put out. These cannons are effective up to about six feet.

Hot Air Balloon Power: Divide Cub Scouts into two or more teams. Each player is given a balloon, which he blows up and holds by the neck until his turn. A raceway is defined for each team and a ping-pong ball is placed at the beginning of each raceway. Team players take turns letting air escape from their balloons, blowing the their team’s ball down the raceway. The winner is the team that blows the ping-pong ball the furthest down the raceway.


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