Volume 6 Issue 1
August 1999



Circle Ten Council

Suggested Activites

Visit an industrial lab

Visit the Museum of Natural Science

Visit a planetarium

Visit a TV news weather station

Visit a high school or college science lab

Go to a community science fair

Have a magic show with each boy doing an optical illusion

Test Tube Rack Slide

Materials needed:

2 tongue depressors

3/16" acrylic rod (4 pieces 1" long)

transparent model paint (4 colors)

" PVC pipe

Cut two pieces of the tongue depressor 2" long and two pieces 1" long. Drill " holes down the center at every " of one 2" piece (4 holes). After the holes have been cut, epoxy the pieces into a rectangle and let dry completely (use epoxy sparingly). Round one end of the acrylic rods with sandpaper, then dip the rods into the transparent paint, making each one a different color and depth. Epoxy " PVC pipe to the tie slide to thread neckerchief through. Let dry completely. Be careful not to bump the rods until they have set up completely.

Diving Raisins

Materials needed:

raisins club soda clear drinking glass

Cut a raisin into four equal pieces and drop all the pieces into a glass of clear soda. They should sink to the bottom.

After a few minutes of observation, you will note that the raisins will rise to the surface, dive to the bottom, then rise and dive repeatedly.

Why? Look closely at the raisins. What do you see? Tiny gas bubbles have become attached to each piece of raisin. The raisins and their accompanying gas bubbles rise after their combined weight becomes less than the weight of the water they displace. Eventually, when enough gas bubbles break loose and escape, the raisins sink to the bottom of the glass and the process repeats.

Condiment Diver, World’s Simplest Cartesian Diver

Materials needed:

unopened condiment packet (soy sauce, ketchup, etc.) from fast food or take out order

clear plastic bottle with tight fitting lid (water bottle, soda bottle, etc.)

glass or cup of water

First, you have to figure out if your condiment packet is a good Cartesian diver candidate. Fill a glass with water and drop in your packet. The best packets are ones that just barely float. After you have found the proper packet, fill an empty, clear plastic bottle to the top with water. Shove your unopened condiment packet into the bottle and replace the cap. You’re done! Squeeze the bottle to make the diver sink and release to make it rise.

Why? Many sauces are denser than water, but it is the air bubbles at the top of the sauce that determines whether the packet will sink or swim. Squeezing the bottle causes those air bubbles to shrink. These smaller bubbles are less buoyant and the packet sinks.


Materials needed:

1 gallon clear glass or plastic jar with a wide mouth matches

rubber glove (Playtex brand works well) tap water


Barely cover the bottom of the jar with water. Hang the glove inside the jar with the fingers pointing down and stretch the glove’s open end over the mouth of the jar to seal it . Insert your hand into the glove and pull it quickly outward without disturbing the jar’s seal. Nothing will happen. Now remove the glove, drop a lit match into the jar, and replace the glove. Pull outward on the glove once more. Fog forms inside the jar when you pull the glove outward and disappears when the glove snaps back. The fog will form for 5 to 10 minutes before the smoke particles settle and will have to be replenished.

Why? Water molecules are present in the air inside the jar but they are in the form of invisible gas molecules, or vapor, flying around individually and not sticking to one another. When you pull the glove outward, you allow the air in the jar to expand. In expanding, the air must do work, which means that it loses some of its thermal energy, which in turn means that its molecules (including those of the water vapor) slow down slightly. This is a roundabout way of saying that the air becomes cooler! When the water molecules slow down, they can stick to each other more easily so they begin to bunch up in tiny droplets. The particles of smoke in the jar help this process along. The water molecules bunch together more easily when there is a solid particle to act as a nucleus. When you push the glove back in, you warm the air in the jar slightly, which causes the tiny droplets to evaporate and again become invisible.

An Added Treat

Shine a slide projector through the cloud you make in the jar. When the smoke is fresh, the droplets will be large compared to all wavelengths of visible light and the light they scatter will be white. As the smoke dissipates, the water drops will become smaller and the light scattered will created beautiful pastel colors at some viewing angles.

Cheshire Cat

Materials needed:

hand held mirror, approximately 4 to 6 inches on a side white wall or other white surface (white poster board works well)


Sit so that the white surface or wall is on your right. Hold the bottom of the mirror with your left hand and put the mirror edge against your nose so that the reflecting surface of the mirror faces sideways, toward the white surface. While keeping the mirror edge against your nose, rotate the mirror so that your right eye sees just the reflection of the white wall, while your left eye looks forward at the face of a friend who is sitting a couple of feet away (see top view diagram). Move your hand in front of the white surface as if passing a blackboard eraser over the surface. Watch as parts of your friend’s face disappear. It will help if your friend is sitting very still against a plain, light colored background. You should also try to keep your own head as still as possible. If you have troubles seeing your friend's face disappear, one of your eyes might be stronger than the other. Try the experiment again, but this time switch the eye you use to look at the person and the eye you use to look at the wall. Individuals vary greatly in their ability to perceive this effect; a few people may never succeed in observing it. You may have to try several times, so don’t give up too soon. Give yourself time to see the effect.

Why? Normally, your two eyes see very slightly different pictures of the world around you. Your brain analyzes these two pictures and then combines them to create a single, three-dimensional image. In this illusion, one eye looks straight ahead at another person, while the other eye looks at the white wall or screen and your moving hand. Your brain tries to put together a picture that makes sense by selecting bits and pieces from both views. Your brain is very sensitive to changes and motion. Since the other person is sitting very still, your brain emphasizes the information coming from the moving hand, and parts of the person’s face disappear. No one knows how or why parts of the face sometimes remain, but the eyes and the mouth seem to be the last features to disappear.

Viking Council

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.


Lab technician, nurse, zoologist, nuclear physicist, weather forecaster, X-ray technician, science teacher, researcher.


Field Trips

Visit an eye specialist and learn how the eyes work.

Visit the control tower of the Metropolitan Airport or visit a Municipal Airport. Learn about the principles of fight.

Tour an airplane and look at all the control dials.

Pack Meeting

  • Honor your pack leaders by making up some "Scientific Awards." Cut them out of poster board.
  • Gravity is a heavy subject. (Shape of the Earth)
  • Stars are night lights that don't run up bills. (Stars)
  • Astronomers are far-sighted. (Glasses with big eyeballs)
  • Chemists really, stir things up! (Beaker with bubbling mix.)
  • Science Fair: Set up and hold a science fair during your pack meeting. Show some of the simple experiments you have been doing in your den meetings. Display items that you have made.


Den Activities:

  • Talk about the various branches of science and how they differ.
  • Do the atmospheric pressure tests or balance tests in the Webelos Book.
  • Make Fog.
  • Make Crystals.
  • Do the inertia experiments in the Webelos Book.
  • Visit an eye specialist and learn how the eyes converge and find out what the various eye tests measure
  • Invite a local weatherman to your den meeting to talk about the climate during the year. How is weather different in the Southern Hemisphere?
  • 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, 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.

3. 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 which can expand in all directions with pressure, will do so as the gas is pressured into it.

4. 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".

1. 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.

2. 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

1. Fill a drinking glass to the very top with water. The water should spill over the top a bit.

2. 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. It will stay on by itself.


The Undrinkable Drinks

1. Using a can opener make a small hole in a can of juice. Try to drink the juice. What happens when you punch another hole in the can?

2. Open a bottle of juice. Add enough water to fill the bottle to the very top. Put in a straw. Use clay to completely block the opening of the bottle around the straw. Try to drink the juice.

What is happening: There is no air in the glass of water to punch down on the cardboard. The air pressure pushing up on the cardboard is greater that the weight of the water. And the juice won't come out of the hole unless air can get in to push down on it; you need a second hole to let air in. Juice won't go tip the straw because no air is getting in to push down on the juice.


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 a 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.

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. Superimpose 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. This way there can be a check between your barometer and the actual air pressure as given in the newspaper each day. Remember that as the air pressure increases, the straw will point higher on the scale.




You will need:

Salt, sugar, Epsom salts 1. Fill a jar half full of very hot water. Stir in a cup or more of salt, a little at a time, until no more will dissolve.
laundry detergent flakes  
4 glass jars

4 spoons

magnifying glass

thread or thin string

2. Rub some salt onto a piece of string. Tie it around a pencil, tie a paper clip to the other end, and drop into the water. Lay the pencil across the jar.
very hot water  

paper clips

food coloring

3. Put the glass in a cool place where it won't be disturbed. Do not touch the jar or the pencil. Watch for a few days.
  4. Repeat the process with Epsom salts, sugar, and laundry detergent flakes. Try adding a little food coloring to one of the solutions.


What is happening: The salt dissolves in the hot water. But cold water can't hold as much salt in a dissolved form. So as the water cools, the salt forms again on the string.


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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