Baloo's Bugle

February 2009 Cub Scout Roundtable Issue

Volume 15, Issue 7
March 2008 Theme

Theme: "When I Grow Up"
Webelos: Athlete and Engineer
Tiger Cub




An athlete is one who keeps his body physically fit, strong, graceful and agile - a desire of practically every boy.  Tell your Webelos Scouts about the athlete and what it takes to become one.  Impress them with the fact that the body is a priceless gift and only a few minutes of exercise each day are required to keep it physically fit.

By adequate exercise, getting the proper food each day and taking care of himself, a boy can become an athlete.  The activities for this badge can help the Webelos Scout measure up to the standards of strength, agility, endurance, and coordination necessary for good active Scouting activities in later life.

Many Webelos leaders use this badge to introduce a new Webelos Scout to the program.  This begins their Webelos year with an appealing badge to inspire them onward.  By laying out a permanent accurately measured 50 yard dash and 600 yard run near your meeting place, you can easily test your new Webelos Scouts in less than half an hour.  Use a stopwatch when timing these sprint and distance runs.

Make up a permanent Fitness Progress Chart and retest the boys at different times throughout the year and chart their progress.  They will be interested in bettering their records.

The boys can make their own physical fitness equipment.  A barbell can be made using a 3 foot dowel or broomstick with 3/4" pipe caps on the ends.  The latter are then embedded in 46 oz. cans filled with cement.  Allow cement to set overnight.  Dumbbells can be made similarly by using foot long dowels and No. 2 size cans filled with cement and placed on the ends of dowels.  Plastic quart containers filled with sand may be used instead of the cans.  A broomstick suspended at both ends in a garage, basement, or backyard makes an excellent chinning bar.  A deflated bicycle inner tube makes a good exerciser.

Clean & Strong

Circle T for True or F for False.

T       F       Our bodies "repair" themselves while we sleep.

T       F       Clean clothes aren't necessary after a bath or shower - they are just in the morning.

T       F       Use proper lighting for all activities including reading, TV viewing, and playing.

T       F       Fitness is never just physical - it involves both the mind and body together.

T       F       Stand tall, and walk tall with shoulders back and stomach in.

T       F       It's OK to share drinking cups, washcloths and towels.

T       F       Different foods provide different nutrients, and no one food can sustain us.

T       F       Rushing meals or skipping meals can be harmful to your body.

ANSWER: 1 - T, 2 - F, 3 - T, 4 - T, 5 - T, 6 - F, 7 - T, 8 – T

Den  Activities

  • Make your own physical fitness equipment (see above)
  • Watch a high school track meet.
  • Have a Physical Education instructor talk to your den concerning fitness.
  • Invite a professional weight lifter to talk to your den and demonstrate.
  • Attend a gymnastics exhibition or meet.
  • Plan a physical fitness demonstration for pack meeting.

Being Healthy
Good Health Habits Quiz

Circle the correct answer(s).

1.    Bathe/shower (everyday OR once per week) and especially after exercise.

2.    Wash your hair (1/month OR 2+ times/week).

3.    Wash hands (before eating OR after using the restroom) and when they're dirty.

4.    Eat right - (3 OR 4 OR 6) regular meals each day at regular times!

5.    Eat (just some OR a variety of) food from each of the 4 food groups.

6.    The average 10 year old should get at least (6 OR 9 OR 12) hours of sleep each night.

ANSWERS: 1. Everyday, 2. 2+ times, before eating and after using restroom, 3. 3 meals, 4. Variety, 9 hours

Barbell Slide

Materials:  2 small 1" styrene balls, 1/2 of a black pipe cleaner, black paint, white paint, paint marker, or vinyl stick-on letters

Directions: Paint the two balls black.  Cut the pipe cleaner into 2 equal pieces.  Push the pieces into the ball about 1/4" apart.  Pull the pieces apart slightly, curving them outward.  With the white paint put the lbs. on the two balls.  You can use 5 lbs., the Pack number, or some outrageous amount of weight.

Volleyball Serve it Underhand

The underhand serve is the easiest to master for volleyball. In a game you must put the ball into play from a 10 foot wide area behind the end line. Always practice with a line in front of you so you will learn not to cross it until you have released the ball.

For the underhand serve (if right handed), stands with your left foot about 13” in front of the right foot. Bend both knees a little, lift the ball in both hands out in front of your chest, to your right side. Hold the ball in the left hand and start to bring the right hand down. Close the finger of the right hand as if you were making a loose fist.

Keep your eyes on the ball. Bring right hand down, back, and up behind you. Step a quarter step forward on your left foot. Swing your right hand at ball. Just before you hit it, toss the ball up a little and drop your left hand away from it. (The rules say – release your left hand from the ball before hitting it.) Strike ball solidly with the palm side of your fist and follow through. (Of left handed, reverse from right to left.)

Once you master the serve, try using the heel of hand instead of fist. Close hand instead of your fist. Close your hand half-way so fingertips come just below the base of the fingers with thumb-tip beside the first joint of forefingers

The Athlete
Tune: My Bonnie

They gave me a suit and a number
And sent me out on the field
They gave me a ball called the pigskin,
And shoes with some cleats, toe and heel


Muscles, Cramps, wracking my body with pain, with pain
I stand, wondering, if ever I’ll do this again!
Next time they gave me a racquet,
They sent me out on the court
Funny the things you encounter,
While trying to learn a new sport.


The ordeal was finally over,
At least, that’s what I thought,
When they shoved me the soccer equipment
I fainted dead on the spot!



Athlete Den Activities

TOWEL PICKUP - Take off your shoes and socks. Pick up a towel with your toes.

PAPER PICKUP - Pick up a piece of paper from the floor without bending your knees

BOOK CARRY - Walk across the room with a book balanced on your head.

SKIN THE CAT - Clasp your hands in front of you. Try to step through the ring formed by your hands and finish standing upright with them clasped behind you. Return to your original position by stepping backwards through the ring.

TOE WRESTLING - Two wrestlers sit on the floor, facing each other with arms clasped around knees. When they are in this position, place a stick over each person’s elbows and under his bent knees. Their feet should be flat on the ground with the toes of one touching the toes of his opponent. The object is for one wrestler to get his toes under the toes of his opponent and roll him over backwards. If either wrestler breaks the handclasp above his knees, the other wins the contest.

SIDEWALK TENNIS - Played with a tennis ball on two squares of sidewalk or patch of level ground marked off in similar size. Ball is batted with the hands. Use regular tennis rules, except that there is no serving court


Requirement #1

Can be combined with the Fitness Activity Badge and the Sportsman Activity Badge. The subjects of being physically healthy, balanced diets, and bad effects of drugs, alcohol, and tobacco can be combined and signed off all together.

Requirement #2

Takes the longest amount of time to complete and sign off of all the Physical Skills Group. To earn the Physical Fitness Sports Pin, the boy needs to earn 60 points in a 90 day period. They must exercise or be involved in some activity for 30 minutes to earn one point. The boy can earn a maximum of five points in a day. Just remember 30 minutes for one point, 60 points total in a 90 day period.

You can pass off requirements 3 through 9 as part of this pin, use requirement 3 and 4 of the Sportsman badge to meet the requirement.


La Plama (Bolivia) -- The Indians of Bolivia used a bone, but you can use a stick for this game.  Set the stick up on end in a hole in the ground.  Draw a straight line away from the stick.  Measure out a distance of 3' along the line and from the stick.  Drive in a peg.  Repeat until 6 pegs are in the ground along the line and spaced 3' apart.  You will need a supply of tennis balls.  The boys take turns trying to hit the stick from the first peg.  Those who do hit it move on to the next peg.  Those who do not stay at one peg until they hit the stick.  The first boy to complete the six throws from the 6 pegs wins the game.

Crossing the Rice Fields (China)  -- Players line up in teams of two, forming two or more columns as in relay formation.  On the word "rice" the first team in each column forms a wheelbarrow and races across the rice fields to the river (two parallel ropes stretched out on the floor crossed by two 2 x 4's - one for each team).  At the edge of the river, the players break up and walk across the "bridge" being careful not to fall in the river.  On the other bank they turn around and come back across the bridge and then reform their wheelbarrow reversing positions and "roll" home again.  The first team to get all of the pairs across the river and back again wins.

Activity Ideas

Agility Exercises -- Perform these exercises within the designated time limits.  Rest two minutes between each set of exercises.

Set 1. (8 minutes)

1.   Fish Flops: Lie flat on your stomach, arms and legs extended and off the ground.  Rock back and forth. (2 min.)

2.   Grass Drill: Run in place.  Drop to ground and bounce up again. (2 min.)

3.   Quick Foot-Knee Touch: Drop quickly to one knee and bounce up again.  Alternate knees. (2 min.)

4.   Root Drill: You need a partner for this one.  Square off on all fours, locking right shoulder to right shoulder.  Try to rock your opponent back off his feet. (2 min.)

Rest Two Minutes

Set 2. (6 minutes)

1.    Crab Mirror: Two players on all fours.  One moves at random to the left, right, back or forward and the other mirrors his moves.  Switch leaders and repeat. (2 min.)

2.    Bear Hug Take-Down: Two players, one standing behind the other. Player in rear grasps other player around arms and chest and tries to pull him down.  Reverse positions and repeat. (3 min.)

3.    Sit-ups: Lie on back, feet together, hands clasped behind head. Raise up and touch elbows to knees.  Do as many as possible. (1 min.)

Rest Two Minutes

Flexibility Exercises

1.     Fingers:  Extend arms to the side, palms down.  Quickly flex fingers by alternating between fist and open-hand position. (30 sec.)

2.     Palms:  Extend arms to the front, palms down, wrists locked.  Turn palms inward and outward in quick, short movements. (30 sec.)

3.     Wrists:  Same position as palms (above).  Rotate wrists clockwise, then counter-clockwise.(30 sec.)

4.     Forearm Twist:  Arms extended sideward and parallel to ground.  Flex at elbow bringing tips of fingers to shoulders.  Return to starting position.  Perform both palms up and palms down. (1 min.).

Shoulder Stretches:  3-part exercise. (a) Rotate one arm over your head and down slowly.  Repeat with other arm. (b) Shrug your shoulders slowly in complete circle starting the movement by moving up and back. (c) lock your hands behind head and pull back slowly from shoulders. (2 min.)



Boys have a natural interest in how things work. The Engineer Activity Badge gives an introduction to how the big things in our lives work.

One of the purposes of Cub Scouting is "fostering a sense of personal achievement by developing new interests and skills" in boys.  This activity badge probably does this more than any of the other badges. 

Engineering is one of the most exacting of the professions and the badge includes projects that will give a boy an insight into some types of engineering.

One of the purposes of Cub Scouting is “fostering a sense of personal achievement by developing new interests and skills” in boys.  This activity badge probably does this more than any of the other badges.  Engineering is all about applied science, and it is one of the most exacting of the professions.  This badge includes projects that give boys an understanding of this profession.

There are many types of engineers; chemical, electrical, civil, petroleum, mechanical and industrial are just a few.  It usually takes a creative mind and attention to detail to be a good engineer.  Through work on the Engineer Activity Badge, your Webelos Scouts will get an appreciation for engineering and what it takes to accomplish engineering feats.

Types of Engineers

·       Aeronautical Engineering:  Deals with the whole field of design, manufacture, maintenance, testing, and the use of aircraft both for civilian and military purposes.

·       Astronautical EngineeringClosely related to aeronautics, but is concerned with the flight of vehicles in space, beyond the earth's atmosphere, and includes the study and development of rocket engines, artificial satellites, and spacecraft for the exploration of outer space.

·       Chemical Engineering:  Concerned with the design, construction, and management of factories in which the essential processes consist of chemical reactions.

·       Civil Engineering:  Perhaps the broadest of the engineering fields; deals with the creation, improvement, and protection of the communal environment; providing facilities for living, industry, and transportation, including large buildings, roads, bridges, canals, railroad lines, airports, harbors, and other constructions.

·       Electrical Engineering/Computer ScienceDivided broadly into the engineering of electrical power distribution systems, electrical machinery, and communication, information, and control systems.

·       Industrial or Management EngineeringPertains to the efficient use of machinery, labor, and raw materials in industrial production.

·       Geological & Mining EngineeringIncludes activities related to the discovery and exploration of mineral deposits and the financing, construction, development, operation, recovery, processing, purification, and marketing of crude minerals and mineral products.

·       Mechanical EngineeringCovers the design and operation of all types of machinery and small structures.

·       Safety EngineeringConcerned with the prevention of accidents.

·       Sanitary Engineering:  A branch of civil engineering that has acquired the importance of a specialized field due to its great importance for a healthy environment, especially in dense urban population areas.

Make Electricity with a Lemon Battery

Materials: Lemon, steel wool, copper nail, zinc nail.

  • . Scrub a copper nail and a zinc nail with a piece of wool until they are clean and shiny.
  • Rinse the nails under the water faucet.
  • Poke the pointed ends of the nails into the center of a fresh lemon. Spaces the two nails about 1” apart and leave 1/2” of each nail protruding.
  • Take a small LED (light emitting diode) and touch the leads to the two nails.  You should see a glow.

When I was a Cub Scout, we stuck out our tongue and touched the tops of the two nails and felt a tingle.

What Happened? You have just made a simple chemical battery and the glow you saw or the tingle you felt on your tongue was electricity! Because the lemon contains acid and water, which reacts with the metals, zinc and copper, a slight electrical current was formed and it passed over your tongue from one nail to the other.

Unusual Catapult

Materials: Thin cardboard, colored pencils, long rubber band, scissors


1.     Draw two separate five sided shapes, tracing the pattern as shown.

2.     Cut out. Lightly fold back along dotted lines.

3.     Color each of the six separate sections a different color.

4.     Overlap the two shapes and loop the rubber band over every other corner to hold the two pieces of cardboard together.  The rubber band should be stretched slightly but not too tight.

5.     When you let go of the cards, which should be laying flat on the table, the slightly stretched rubber band will contract which will cause your contraption to “leap” into a solid shape.

Why does this happen and is this really a Catapult?
The energy in the stretched rubber band pulls the cardboard contraption into the shape. This illustrates what makes a catapult spring in the simplest way imaginable.

Explain to your Scouts that some substances, such as elastic or rubber, stretch when you pull them, but spring back into their original shape when released

Although most catapults “fling” or  “throw” something away from them, this one uses the spring or force of the catapult to “throw its flat shape “up” into a ball or solid shape. Even though it is very different from a standard catapult, it nevertheless operates on the same principles, only in reverse.


1.     Have the boys find pictures of different bridges and put together a poster for the pack meeting.

2.     Visit a college engineering or architecture department.

3.     Invite an engineer or architect to visit the patrol meeting to talk about their job.

4.     Measure the dimensions of your meeting place and include the locations of doors and windows.  Show how to sketch a simple floor plan with these measurements.

5.     Make a block and tackle and demonstrate its use.

6.     Make catapults and have a contest. 

7.     Compare design and Construction of various kinds of bridges and make a model of one or more.

8.     Visit a construction site with a contractor.  Ask him to explain the use of blue prints and the order of construction.

9.     Visit a power generation plant.

10.  Work on the Academics belt loop and pin for mathematics.

National S1-743-1790 312 3 CATAPULTS ARE DANGEROUS

Be forewarned that like most machines, all catapults have the opportunity to be dangerous, even small ones.  Catapults were originally invented with the intent to hurt people, so leaders need to be very safety conscious with boys around catapults.  Be safe, so that mistakes won’t lead to injuries.


Using wood scraps and an old ruler.  Lay the ruler flat onto a larger board and nail another board over and inch of the end of the ruler.  Then wedge a small board under the ruler to form the leaf spring catapult.


The spring and lever action of a mousetrap can be harnessed for many kinds of fun machines.  Give the boys mousetraps, string, tinker toys or K-nex and have a contest to build and see how far their mousetrap contraption could throw a small object like a dry bean.   Below is an example with the mousetrap pulling a lever that then throws the bean.


Catapult Experiment:  Use ruler and rubber eraser or other soft projectile.  Have boy strike the short end of the ruler balanced on a dowel.  How far did the eraser go?  Now have him try it with half the ruler over the edge of a table and hit it with the same force.  Why is there a difference in the distance that the eraser flies?




Hand the Webelos each one sheet of 8½ x 11 paper, two foam cups, 4” of tape and a matchbox-sized car.  Tell them to build a bridge that will support the toy car as it rolls across the bridge.  They can cut or fold the paper into any shapes that they want.  They may use small pieces of tape to help hold the paper in desired shapes but not to tape to the cups.  This can be a group effort, team play or on an individual project.  You can do something similar as a tower-building contest.

Strong Bridge Ideas:

1.    Cut a strip and roll it up.  Use this as a center support.

2.    Fold two long edges of the card.

3.    Cut a strip and curve it under the bridge as a support.

4.    Cut three strips and sandwich one folded in a zig-zag.


You will need:  Lots of mini-marshmallows, toothpicks, various weight objects.

1.     Give teams of boys an equal number of marshmallows and toothpicks.

2.     Between two equal-height objects (like tables) show them the distance that they must span with their bridge.  Tell them that the contest will be to see how much weight their bridge can hold in the very center of the bridge


3.     The bridge must be at least one toothpick wide and you suggest that they use the marshmallows to connect the toothpicks.

4.     Tell them that the strongest shape is a triangle, so build a truss bridge that has lots of triangles in it.


There are five kinds of basic machines that were discovered in ancient times.  All complex machines are built out of some or all of these basic machines: wheel (with axle), pulley, wedge, screw and lever.  This exercise will show the magic of how pulleys, and blocks and tackles can make lifting something heavy possible by exerting very little effort.

tackle A pulley is a special kind of axle and wheel, where the axle is connected to some object, and a rope goes around the wheel.  A block and tackle is formed by two pulleys that may each have several wheels, and a rope goes around both pulleys.  Ropes and pulleys can be connected in many assorted ways to create different degrees of how easy it is to pull.

A simple “Come-along” can be made by tying a rope to a fixed object (like a tree), running the rope behind the object that you want to move, and pull on the rope while standing near the tree.  You will only have to pull half as hard to make the object move, as if you tried to pull it directly, because the tree actually helps you pull.  You can also achieve the same result by attaching a single-wheel pulley to the object that you want to move.

By using two pulleys, you may form a block and tackle.  With pulleys that have enough wheels and enough rope, it would be possible for a Webelos Scout to move just about any heavy object that the rope and pulleys can support.  The illustrations below show how to move more than what you normally are capable of pulling directly with a rope.  The Mother Earth News website also has some excellent illustrations of blocks and tackles.


All matter has electrons and when electrons move we see the effects of electricity.  Metal and water are both good conductors of electricity.  Metals like copper and aluminum are most often used to safely move electricity in appliances.  Our bodies are also fairly good electrical conductors, because our bodies have a lot of water, which is why people have to be very careful around electricity.

Insulators are things that do not conduct electricity very well.  Wood and plastic are two good examples of electrical insulators. 



  • Ten feet of 22-gauge coated copper wire Current flowing through a wire produces a magnetic field (M) around the wire. The field is oriented according to the .
  • 6-volt lantern battery
  • 6 inch iron nail
  • Steel paperclips
  • Wire stripper and needle-nose pliers
  • Gloves

Electromagnets take advantage of a phenomenon where electricity moving in a wire causes a magnetic field around the wire (shown left). 

A single straight wire, with electricity flowing through it, however, has a very small magnetic field.  But when you wrap that wire round and round about 50 times in a long neat coil, the magnetic fields from all of the wraps add together to form a strong magnetic field.  You can also multiply the strength of the coiled magnetic field, and make the coils much neater, by wrapping the coil around a long piece of iron or steel (like a nail).  The more tight and neat the wraps are, the better it will work.

Wire wrapped around a nail to make an electromagnet.

To make current flow through the wire, we need to make an electrical circuit.  Strip a half inch of insulating plastic off of each loose end of the wire, and with the pliers curl the ends of the bare wires into U shapes.  Scatter the paper clips on a table nearby.  Put on a pair of dry, cloth gloves, because the wires may get hot when the current is flowing.  Hook one bare wire onto one of the springs on the lantern battery.  Now hook the other bare wire to the other spring connection on the battery and voila you now have an electromagnet that can pick up the paper clips and any other small ferrous objects.  The electromagnet will work until the battery is drained or the circuit is broken.

Did you notice a spark when the second wire was connected to the battery?  Notice how warm the wires get as the electrical current flows through them.  Disconnect the wires while the electromagnet is holding paperclips and watch it drop them.  Connect the circuit, pick-up paper clips in one place and move the electromagnet over a box, then disconnect a wire and drop the paperclips in the box.  Continue this until all paperclips have been moved.