Volume 6 Issue 5
December 1999


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Build the "First Computer"

York Adams Council/Baloo's Bugle

The grandfather of all computer machines is the abacus. Have the boys build their own abacus and learn how to use it. A set of simple instructions for making an abacus is at the following URL http://usscouts.org/bbugle/bb9902/bbpuz.html To find out how to use an abacus, consult the internet or encyclopedia.

Crystal Garden
Mt. Diablo Silverado Council

An old-fashioned project that always provides wonder and excitement is a crystal garden. Gather several small stones, or use barbeque briquettes. Either will work just fine.


  • 6-7 Charcoal briquettes, or stones
  • Shallow bowl
  • 6 tablespoons salt
  • 6 tablespoons laundry bluing
  • 6 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon ammonia
  • Food coloring

Procedure: Place the briquettes or stones in the bowl. Mix all the other ingredients together, except the food coloring. Pour the mixture over the stones with a spoon. You may have extra; just store it in a covered container and add to the garden over the next few days to keep it growing.

Drop food coloring over the coated stones.

Crystals will begin to form in about twenty minutes. Pour more soluttion and add more coloring every day, and the garden will contiue to change and grow.

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

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