Baloo's Bugle

December 2007 Cub Scout Roundtable Issue

Volume 14, Issue 5
January 2008 Theme

Theme: Cub Scout Car Show
Webelos: Fitness & Scientist
Tiger Cub Requirement 3


Turning Your Webelos Into Boy Scouts
Baltimore Area Council

  • Start early with your program for the first year boys to get all of them to Arrow of Light (A.O.L.).
  • Do not wait for September to start new Webelos den into active program.
  • Get together during the summer months to do some special activities. The Aquanaut can be completed right away.
  • Pull the den together during the summer by doing small and simple service projects for school, church, or community.
  • While doing regular programs with boys add those requirements for 'joining Boy Scouts'. Get boys into the outdoors as soon as they start the Webelos Program.
  • Do as many activity pins outside as possible. Plan around a patio, yard, Garage, Park, Pool, a business or any other place.
  • Have special Visitors over for den meetings to talk about specific skill activities.
  • Spend sufficient time with each activity pin. Not one week, but two to four weeks.
  • Try to get all the boys in the den to the Webelos badge at the same time. Make it special for them at their recognition pack meeting.
  • Attend the monthly Roundtable meetings and 'Cub Leader Pow-Wow' to get activity pin ideas and help.
  • Once into the program start planning ahead, up to six months, those activities you want to do. Work your program into your schedule, the seasons, the weather, the Boy Scout Troop and sudden changes. Always have a back-up plan.
  • If a leader feels uncomfortable about doing an activity with the boys, get help: do not pass up the opportunity to learn
  • Give boys a sample of the skills, activities, requirements that the Boy Scouts do.
  • Start early to get boys ready for camping. Have a backyard Day Camp or overnighter.
  • Look for Troops in your area that the boys may go to and visit. Go Camping with them. Have skills demonstrations with them.
  • Take boys on meaningful tours and trips (more special than their earlier Cub outings).
  • Now is the time to take boys out for hikes - in neighborhood, park, construction site, open fields.
  • Know what your boys want and give them all they can take. Every Activity Pin if they so desire.
  • Realize that the second year for Webelos is a short one. Know when to graduate them ahead of time.
  • Plan well ahead for the Arrow of Light and get an O.A. (Order of the Arrow) ceremony or other special ceremony scheduled. Contact Troops for help.
  • Be sure to fulfill all the requirements for Arrow of Light and those to get the boys started into Boy Scouts.
  • Get parents involved, even more than before, so they will help carry boys into Boy Scouts.
  • Visit more than one Troop in your area - early. Have parents go along. Also to get a better understanding of the Boy Scout Program.
  • Having a Boy Scout Handbook to work from, refer to, show boys, get ideas from and get them prepared with is a great training aid.
  • Be aware that boys are lost from the Boy Scout Program during the first year if not properly prepared.
  • It is very important that boys experience camping before they join the Boy Scouts to make it more comfortable for them.
  • Remember that a parent must be with a boy on campouts as Webelos, but let the boys live the experience themselves.
  • Having and using a trained 'Den Chief' will add to the program and help leaders, too. The Webelos will enjoy having an older boy there.
  • Use as many assistant leaders and parents as possible to help with any and all hands-on skills activities. A good safety factor, too.
  • Get outside experienced help to give boys the 'Whittling Chit' Requirements and Demonstrations.
  • Boys should start working towards proper uniforming for the Boy Scouts. A proper insignia placement is important.
  • Having a den doodle for the boys is a good tracking and incentive tool to get them all into Boy Scouts.
  • Work with the Webelos at the beginning of their second year, a little at a time, so that they know the Boy Scout Joining Requirements.
  • Have them start working towards the Boy Scout Tenderfoot physical fitness requirements. This is the hardest requirement to fulfill.
  • Get boys started in making out duty rosters and menus for campouts soon. They will have to do these on their own as Boy Scouts.
  • Get all of your boys to Webelos Summer Camp after their first year. This will be their best Outdoor experience as a Webelos den.
  • Games, Skits, Songs, Stories, Competition with each other and a den flag are very important parts of the Webelos Program.
  • Letting the boys pick a patrol name, with a patch, instead of a den number will bring the boys closer to the Boy Scout Program.
  • The most important part of the Webelos Program is having well trained leaders to pass on all those new skills to the

Keys to Cub Scouts continuing in Boy Scouts
Baltimore Area Council

  • Visit troop before moving up from cub scouts
  • Having friends in the Boy Scout troop
  • Going to summer camp the first summer as a boy scout



Baltimore Area Council

Your body is a wonderful machine.  It is much more complicated than the fanciest car or fastest computer.  But your body needs the same kind of care that experts give to machines.  What does that mean?  It means that you must give your body the right fuels in a balanced diet.  You must avoid putting harmful substances into it.  Your body needs rest and exercise, just as a car needs maintenance.  As you earn the Fitness activity badge, you will learn how to take care of the world's most wonderful machine - your own body.

Den Activities

  • Invite the grade school gym teacher to your meeting.  Get to know them on a personal basis.  Why did they become a teacher?  What kind of background do they have?  What sports are they currently active in?  What do they like about teaching kids?
  • Invite a nurse, doctor or dentist to your den to answer questions about health.  Have boys write the questions on cards so they are anonymous.
  • Have your den write a skit depicting ways to say  eNO' to drugs & smoking.
  • Have the den make a poster designed to encourage people to say "NO" to drugs & Smoking.
  • Have a police officer involved with drug prevention attend a den meeting.
  • Have the boys interview him and ask questions concerning drugs and alcohol.
  • Have the boys find out what the policies are in their school about drugs and what would happen to students with drugs in their lockers, etc.
  • Collect newspaper and magazine articles about accidents and crimes that are drug or alcohol related.
  •   Find out what some organizations are doing to stop use and availability of drugs, especially to, children.
  • Check with the BSA council for a video, "Drugs: A Deadly Game."

Speakers |

  • YMCA director
  • heath class teacher
  • personal trainer or coach,
  • CPR instructor,
  • marathon or race director,
  • little league coach,
  • gym instructor

Field Trips:

  • Visit the local YMCA.
  • Visit a local fitness club.

Test Your Heartbeat

Did you know that you can't actually hear a heartbeat?  The heartbeat itself is just a contraction of muscle and is perfectly quiet.  What you can hear is the sound of heart valves snapping shut.

Here's how to check your heartbeat:

1.   Press the first two fingers of one hand over the radial artery in the wrist of your other hand.  That's the artery in the depression just below the base of your wrist.  Move your fingers until you can feel the pulse of your blood.

2.   Use a watch with a second hand, and count the number of beats in 10 seconds.

3.   Multiply by 6.  Now you know the number of beats per minute.

4.   Run or exercise for 10 minutes or so.  Take your pulse again, and see how much faster your heart is pumping.

Your resting heart rate can tell something about your overall health and fitness. 

Physically fit people often have low resting heart rates.

Southern NJ Council

The material for this badge is organized somewhat differently.

Facts On Cigarette Smoking

  • Cigarette smoking is addictive. It fulfills these three criteria:
    • Smokers develop a tolerance to nicotine (they need to smoke more and more for an effect.)
    • Smokers become dependent on it (they need it to feel comfortable.)
    • Smokers suffer withdrawal symptoms (physical and psychological discomfort) when they try to stop smoking.
  • There are hundreds of chemicals in cigarette smoke. Three of the most damaging ones are:
    • Tars - damage delicate lung tissue and are considered the main cancer causing agent in cigarette smoke.
    • Nicotine - a poison found only in tobacco leaves. One drop of pure nicotine can be fatal to humans. It is a powerful stimulant to the brain and central nervous system that "hits" the brain within four seconds. But then it has a depressant effect on the cardiovascular system. It narrows the blood vessels cutting down the flow of blood and oxygen throughout your body. The heart has to pump harder, thus increasing the chance of heart disease. It raises the blood pressure and narrows air passages in the lungs, depriving the body of some oxygen.
    • Carbon Monoxide - replaces needed oxygen in your red blood cells. Even after one stops smoking, carbon monoxide stays in the bloodstream for days depriving the body of oxygen until the oxygen level in the blood returns to normal. Carbon monoxide is a product of cigarette smoking and also of gasoline engines.
  • Some of the diseases caused by cigarette smoking are:
    • Chronic Bronchitis - an inflammation of the bronchi which are the breathing tubes in the lungs.
    • Laryngitis - an inflammation of the throat
    • Emphysema - a degenerative lung disease that destroys breathing capacity.
    • It is a contributing factor in cancer of the lungs, mouth and esophagus.

Activities That Will Help The Boys Understand The Harmful Effects Of Cigarette Smoking

  • Define epollution." ("Pol-lu-tion: to make unclean, impure, or corrupt; desecrate; defile; contaminate; dirty." Webster's New World Dictionary of the American. Language)
  • Discuss pollutants in the air in the outside environment. Use pictures from magazines or newspapers. Include: factory smoke, car exhausts, rocket launches, smoke from someone else's burning cigarette and so on.
  • Explain how all living things need air to breathe.
    • Put a plant under an airtight container. What begins to happen?
    • Put ants or other insects in an airtight jar. Give them everything else the need to survive. What happens? Why? (When the ants' activity begins to decrease, open the jar and set them free.)
  • Talk about the fact that smoking cigarettes is harmful to our health and how it "pollutes" the internal environment of our body (the lungs).
    • Blow smoke from a cigarette through a tissue. What did you observe? Wouldn't that also make your lungs "dirty?"
    • Hold your breath and have someone check the time. Did you have to breathe very soon after you started holding your breath?

Demonstrate the effects of sick or injured lungs:

  • Light a candle. Ask a boy to stand a reasonable distance from the candle. Instruct the boy to take a deep breath, and then blow out the candle.
  • Relight the candle. Ask the boy to stand at the same distance from the candle. Instruct him to take a deep breath and blow out at least half of the breath before attempting to blow out the candle. With the breath that is left, ask the boy to blow out the candle. What happened?

Prescription Drugs

Ask the boys to define "drugs - (any substance, liquid, powder, or solid taken by mouth, inhaled, injected, or rubbed into the skin, that affects the way the body or the mind naturally works.)

Define "prescription drugs" - (medicines that, legally, can be purchased only on the order of a doctor or a dentist, a) for specific reasons, b) for a specific person, and c) prepared by a specially trained person called a pharmacist.)

Have the boys talk about the last time they went to the doctor or dentist and were given medicine. What was the problem? What medicine was given? Did it make them feel better?

Bring in empty, clean bottles that once contained prescription medicines.  Choose something appropriate, e.g. an antibiotic from a recent illness, prescription vitamins or fluoride tablets


  • œ the label,
  • œ the name of the one particular person,
  • œ the name of the medicine,
  • œ the amount and the time to be given,
  • œ the name of the doctor, the date
  • œ the prescription number,
  • œ the number of refills, if needed, and
  • œ the pharmacy name, address and phone number.

Discuss some of the considerations the doctor must make before he can order your medication:

  • age,
  • weight,
  • general health of the person, and
  • severity of the condition.

A drug may affect different people in die different ways! Have the boys make reports on the discovery of drugs/medicines that have helped mankind. (Ex. measles vaccine, polio vaccine, penicillin, and so forth.)

Stress that medicine may be taken only under the supervision of a parent, physician, nurse, or specifically designated adult.

Have the boys list safety rules to be followed when taking medicine. Put these on a large poster to be displayed at the Pack Meeting.

Be sure they include the following rules:

  • Take medicine as directed. -
  • Finish the entire prescription.
  • Discard any unused medicines.
  • Never share your medicines with anyone else.
  • Keep medicine in a safe place, out of the reach of children.
  • Keep medicines in their original container.
  • Do not take several medicines at the same time unless the doctor is aware of all of them.
  • Mixing drugs and alcohol can be fatal.
  • Never describe medicine as "candy."
  • Never give medicines in the dark.
  • Never give medicine from an unlabeled container. When in doubt - throw it out.

Non-prescription drugs

Define the term "non-prescription drug" (Medicines that do not require a doctor's order or the assistance of a pharmacist. They can be found on open shelves in a drug store or supermarket.)

Take the boys to the local supermarket and have the boys make a survey of the drugs they find there. Ask them to read the labels and list:

  • The name of the product.
  • The condition for which it is to be used.
  • Is it a liquid, tablet, capsule, cream, or spray.
  • Any warnings or cautions listed on the container.

Was there more than one product that could be used for the same condition?

Locate and list 3 substances which are socially acceptable, contain a drug and can be bought in supermarkets.

  • Cigarettes (tobacco contains nicotine)
  • Coffee, tea, cocoa, cola (all contain caffeine)
  • Beer, wine, whiskey (all contain alcohol)

Have the boys report on two TV commercials dealing with non-prescription medication (aspirin, cold preparations, etc.) In the report answer the following questions:

  • Does the medicine always seem to make the people better and happier?
  • Can that be true always?
  • Why would the manufacturer want people to believe that?
  • Are they always completely honest?
  • Compare ads for brands of aspirin.
  • Can they all be the best?

Facts on alcohol

  • Alcohol is a drug that affects the way the body naturally functions. It is a depressant that slows the body processes.
  • It is the oldest and most abused drug in the world.
  • There are predictable, though varying physical effects upon everyone who drinks alcohol. (This is why the law has set a specific blood alcohol level for defining drunkenness while driving.) The brain is the control center of the body.
  • The brain is the organ most affected by the presence of alcohol.
  • Alcohol is a drug that depresses the central nervous system, thus reducing the activity of the brain.
  • Alcohol arrives in the brain almost as soon as it is consumed.
  • The bloodstream carries alcohol to the brain.
  • It keeps circulating through the brain until the liver has had time to change all of the alcohol into carbon dioxide and water for release from the body.
  • It affects the higher functions of the brain judgment, learning, and behavioral control. It then affects vision, coordination, and speech.

Too much alcohol in the bloodstream kills by depressing the breathing center. This means that a person who drinks too much alcohol in one day can die. This is called "acute alcohol poisoning."

Related Activities

  • œ Have a dietitian come talk to the den.
  • œ Visit a dentist office.

Gathering Activity:

  • As the Scouts arrive, ask them to complete the table,
  • Filling in the names of the foods they ate that day.
  • Scout with most balanced chart wins (an ice cream sundae???)
  • Last column doesn't count.

Physical Activities

Trees in the Wind: Gather the den around you in a circle, three feet or more between individuals. Scout stands looking at the back of the Scout next to him. They then run slowly around the circle, bending left, right, forward, and back as though swaying in the breeze. One the command, "reverse", they turn around and run in the opposite direction.

Russian Hop: Scouts squatting, ready to move around the circle, feet together, hands folded around chest. Move around circle, leaping upward and forward off both feet. As hop is complete, Scout returns to squat position with arms folded across chest.

Tortoise and Hare: Scouts stand at attention, then they start jogging slowly in place. When you say "Hare", the tempo doubles, knees lifting high, arms pumping vigorously. When you say "Tortoise", the tempo slows to an easy jog. Vary the commands for some fun.

Inchworm: Scouts assume push-up position, body extended, face down, arms extended fully, hands on floor, fingers spread, pointed forward. Hold hands stationary and walk feet up as close to hands as possible. Then feet stationary, walk hands forward to starting position. Repeat the sequence.

Gorilla Walk: Scouts' feet are spread apart, same width as their shoulders. Bend at the waist, grasp ankles, legs straight. Walk forward holding firmly to ankles. Keep legs straight. Conduct a race for speed.

Sawing Wood: Scouts pair off facing each other. Grasp hands at shoulder height, fingers interlaced. With a vigorous action, Scouts pump arms alternatively as though sawing wood.




This is the second month for Scientist.  Last month I published a week by week schedule for this badge.  So if you want some more ideas and helps go back to the December theme issue.  CD

Timucua District, North Florida Council

Remember the Scientist Activity Badge is a "doing" badge, not a "watching" badge.
For best results, follow this procedure:

  • Demonstrate the experiment.
  • Explain the experiment.
  • Ask questions to test understanding.
  • Allow Webelos to do tile experiment.
  • Have each boy log the experiment.
  • Have each boy explain tile experiment.
  • Ask again for questions

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 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.
  • Scientists take nothing for granted.
  • They may be sure an idea is true, but they always test it, if possible, to make certain they are right.

Scientists And Engineers

Aren't they the same thing? Not quite.  Though they use many of the same ideas and methods, scientists and engineers are somewhat different.

What do scientists want?  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.

What about engineers?  Engineers 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?  Quite a few things, actually. Scientists and engineers both use the facts and methods of science, and both often use  MATH and COMPUTERS in their work.


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.  Observe 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.
Principle demonstrated: 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.


"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 that can expand in all directions with pressure, will do so as the gas is pressured into it.
For this next experiment you will need: A medicine dropper, a tall jar, well filled with water; a sheet of rubber that 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.


Fill a 12 ounce glass three fourths full of water. Add a tablespoon of baking soda and stir until clear. Drop raisins 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.


This is the classic way I did it when I was a wee lad. 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 to grow.


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


two Ping-Pong balls,
two feet of thread,
some mending tape and
a drinking straw.

PROCEDURE: 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. Have 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.

EXPLANATION: 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 from the straw will determine how close the balls will come


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 fire extinguishers.


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
 fresh lemon
 paper clip.


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.


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.
Hanging Water - 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 the glass.

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.

Copy the scale on a large sheet of cardboard and hang it in your den meeting place.


Title           Effect of Wind
Calm                  Smoke rises vertically
 Light                       Air Smoke drifts 
Light                     Breeze Leaves rustle
Gentle                         Breeze Flags fly
Moderate Breeze          Dust, loose paper raised 
Fresh Breeze               Small trees sway
Strong Breeze  Difficult to use umbrellas
Moderate Gale            Difficult to walk 
Fresh Gale             Twigs break off trees
Strong Gale        Slight damage to roofs
Whole Gale                    Trees uprooted
Storm                    Widespread damage
Hurricane                          Devastation 

< 1
1 - 3
4 - 7
8 - 12
13 - 18
19 - 24
25 - 31
32 - 38
39 - 46
47 - 54
55 - 63
64 - 75
Above 75

Bottle Racer
Alice, Golden Empire Council

LEAD Technologies Inc. V1.01


  • Small plastic bottle
  • Rubber band
  • Pony Bead
  • Straw
  • Square of stiff paper, 1"x 1"
  • 1-1/4" long section of a coffee stirrer straw
  • Paper clip, unbent to form a hook
  • Nail or drill to make a hole in the plastic bottle
  • A strip of paper to cover the bottle (optional)
  • Markers to decorate the paper (optional)


  • If using a nail, a roofing nail is thick enough to make a 1/8" hole in the center of the bottom of the bottle.  If using a drill, use a 3/16" drill bit (about a 1/4" hole)  Hole needs to be large enough to insert and pull out the rubber band.
  • Fold the square of paper in half on the diagonal, making a triangular shape.  Insert the 1-1/4" straw piece into the fold and put aside for step #6.

LEAD Technologies Inc. V1.01

  • Insert the rubber band into the pony bead and pull out a small loop.  Put the straw into the loop till the rubber band is about an inch from the end of the straw.  Then slide the bead along the rubber band till it is flush against the straw.

LEAD Technologies Inc. V1.01

If you want to reduce the friction of the bead, you could add a spacer made of a 1/2" square of stiff paper or plastic.  You could also try the racer with and without the spacer to see which bottle will roll smoother and/or farther.

  • For a 1/8" hole: Insert the rubber band and keep feeding it into the hole.  Use a partly unbent paperclip with a hooked end.

For a 1/4" hole, hook a partly unbent paperclip over the rubber band and then insert the straightened end of the paperclip into the hole.  The straightened end can then be pulled out from the inside, along with the rubber band loop.

LEAD Technologies Inc. V1.01

  • 5.  Put the stiff paper triangle with a straw section from step #2 into the loop of the rubber band that you pulled out of the bottle.  The triangle should have its right angle corner pointing into the mouth of the bottle.  Jam the triangle into the mouth of the bottle, holding the rubber band in place.

LEAD Technologies Inc. V1.01

  • If you want to decorate your racers, use the thin piece of paper and markers.  Tape or glue the paper to the side of the bottle.
  • Wind the bottle racer by holding the bottle and spinning the straw around the pivot point with your finger.  Set the racer on the table or floor, then let go.

Experiment with winding the racer tighter or looser, or adding spacers to see how the racer changes the way it spins.

You could also set up a finish line and have races.  Did you notice that one bottle racer has a bent straw and one a straight straw?  See what happens with both designs.  You could also try to hit a target, travel a curved path, or go a minimum distance.

Want to make a real racer?  Use a pair of CD's as wheels attached to the side of your bottle racer.  A CD wheeled bottle racer can cover distances over 100 feet on a smooth, level surface!

How it works:

Turning the straw, which acts like a lever, winds up the rubber band and stores potential energy.  The energy is the result of the mechanical work done by the moving finger as it applies force over a certain distance.  When the rubber band is allowed to unwind, the stored potential energy is turned into the energy of motion, kinetic energy and a small amount of heat that is generated by the friction of the bottle with the surface it touches | as well as the air it moves through.  If the rubber band is wound too tightly, the bottle will spin with enough force to lift it from the floor or table.  This reduces the friction between the bottle and the surface and the bottle will rotate rapidly, often moving around in a circle instead of moving in a straight direction.

Materials found in Baloo's Bugle may be used by Scouters for Scouting activities provided that Baloo's Bugle and the original contributors are cited as the source of the material.

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