Visit an industrial lab
Museum of Natural Science
Visit a planetarium
Visit a TV news
Visit a high school or college science lab
Go to a
community science fair
Have a magic show with each boy doing an optical
Test Tube Rack Slide
3/16" acrylic rod (4 pieces 1½" long)
paint (4 colors)
½" PVC pipe
Cut two pieces of the tongue depressor 2" long and two pieces 1"
long. Drill ¼" holes down the center at every ½" 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 ½" 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.
raisins club soda clear
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
World’s Simplest Cartesian Diver
unopened condiment packet (soy
sauce, ketchup, etc.) from fast food or take out order
bottle with tight fitting lid (water bottle, soda bottle, etc.)
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
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
1 gallon clear glass or plastic jar with a wide mouth
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
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
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.
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.
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
Lab technician, nurse, zoologist, nuclear physicist,
weather forecaster, X-ray technician, science teacher,
Visit an eye specialist and learn how the eyes
Visit the control tower of the Metropolitan Airport or visit a
Municipal Airport. Learn about the principles of fight.
airplane and look at all the control dials.
- 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.
- Astronomers are far-sighted. (Glasses with big
- Chemists really, stir things up! (Beaker with bubbling
- 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.
- Talk about the various branches of science and how they
- 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
- Have a slow-motion bicycle riding contest to illustrate
- Plan a scientific experiment to be demonstrated at the
"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
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
"Inertia is the tendency of a thing at rest to remain at
rest and a thing in motion to continue the same straight
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
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.
The Upside-Down Glass That Won't
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
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.
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
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
||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.|
|4 glass jars
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
|very hot water
|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
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.
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
(Make copies of this quiz for all the Webelos to
- Electric current was discovered in Italy in 1781.
(True, by Luigi Galvani.)
- Vulcanized rubber was an accidental discovery by
Charles Goodyear. (True, in 1839.)
- 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,)
- Mark Twain was the first author to submit a typewritten
manuscript to a publisher. (True, Life on. the Mississippi in
5. "Disks for the Eyes" was the original name for
contact lenses. (False, the name for eyeglasses that were made in Italy
A Real Attention
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.
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
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.