Computers Merit Badge Requirements and Worksheet

Computers Merit Badge

Computers Merit Badge

January, 2010

This merit badge has been replaced with the Digital Technology merit badge.

Requirements for the Computers merit badge:

  1. Discuss with your counselor the tips for online safety.
  2. Give a short history of the computer. Explain how the invention of the computer has affected society, science, and technology.
  3. Do the following:
    1. Describe four uses of computers outside the home.
    2. Describe three ways you and your family could use a personal computer other than for games and entertainment.
  4. Explain the following to your counselor:
    1. The five major parts of a computer
    2. How text, sound, pictures, and video files are stored in a computer's memory
    3. How file compression works and how compression affects the quality of the file.
    4. Describe two computer chip-based devices, and describe how they are "smarter" because of the chip and its program.
  5. Do the following:
    1. Explain what a program or software application is and how it is developed.
    2. Name three programming languages, and describe their uses.
    3. Name four software packages you or your family could use, and explain how you would use them.
    4. Discuss ways you can help protect a computer from viruses and how to protect the information on a computer.
    5. Describe how computers are linked to generate and access the Internet and the World Wide Web.
  6. Do THREE of the following:
    1. Using a spreadsheet program, develop a food budget for a patrol weekend campout.
    2. Using a word processor, write a letter to the parents of your troop's Scouts inviting them to a court of honor.
    3. Using a computer graphics program, design and draw a campsite plan for your troop.
    4. Using a computer graphics program, create a flier for an upcoming troop event, incorporating both text and some type of visual such as a photograph or illustration.
    5. Using an Internet search engine (with your parent's permission), find ideas about how to conduct a troop court of honor or campfire program. Print out a copy of the ideas from at least three different Web sites. Share what you found with your counselor, and explain how you used the search engine to find this information.
    6. Using a presentation software program of your choice, develop a report about a topic that has been approved by your counselor. For your presentation, create at least 10 slides.
    7. Using a digital camera, take a picture of a troop activity. Transfer the picture file to a computer and use photographic software to make it small enough to send easily as an e-mail attachment. Then, using a computer connected to the Internet (with your parent's permission), send an e-mail to someone you know. In your message, include the photograph as an attachment. Verify that the person received your e-mail and was able to view the attachment.
    8. Using a database manager, create a troop roster that includes the name, rank, patrol, and telephone number of each Scout. Show your counselor that you can sort the register by each of the following categories: rank, patrol, and alphabetically by name.
  7. Do ONE of the following:
    1. Using a database program of your choice, create a troop roster that includes the name, rank, patrol, and telephone number of each Scout. Create a form within the database manager to access each Scout's information individually. Show your counselor how the form works.
    2. Using a software package of your choice for computer aided design (CAD), create an engineering-style drawing of a simple object. Include the top, bottom, and at least one side view and the dimensions.
    3. Create a blog and use it as an online journal of your Scouting activities, including group discussions and meetings, campouts, and other events. Your blog should have at least five entries and two photographs or illustrations. You need not post the blog to the Internet, but you will need to share it with your counselor. If you decide to go live with your blog, you must first share it with your parents AND counselor and get their approval.
    4. Create a Web page for your troop, patrol, school, or place of worship. Include at least three articles and two photographs or illustrations. Your Web page should have at least one link to a Web site that would be of interest to your audience. You need not post the page to the Internet. However, if you decide to do so, you must first share it with your parents AND counselor and get their approval.
    5. Visit a business or an industrial plant that uses computers. Observe what tasks the computers accomplish, and be prepared to discuss what you have learned.
  8. Explain the following to your counselor:
    1. Why copyright laws exist
    2. Why it is not permissible to accept a paid, copyrighted computer game or program from a friend unless the game or program is considered freeware or shareware. Explain the concepts of freeware and shareware.
    3. The restrictions and limitations of downloading music from the Internet
  9. Find out about three career opportunities in the computer industry. Pick one and find out the education, training, and experience required for this profession. Discuss this with your counselor, and explain why this profession might interest you. Report what you learn to your counselor.

Computers Worksheet

 May 27, 2014 - Gary Sparks
In the requirements - #4 "b.How text, sound, pictures, and video files are stored in a computer's memory". These items are not 'stored' in memory. They are stored in storage - either removable (cd, dvd, flash, etc) or on a non-removable harddrive. Memory in volatile - everything goes away with power removed.
You may not be able to do anything about this error. It is probably in the book that way, and should be cleaned up by National. But I just wanted to let you know.
Jun 24, 2014 - Daryl McMurrin
Gary, you are being inappropriately critical.  As an electronic engineer and having used personal computers for over 35 years, during at least most of this time memory within a computer has been described as either volatile or non-volatile, and any "drive" or other non-volatile storage can fairly be referred to as memory. The first computers widely used in industry only had non-volatile magnet core memory, but very expensive memory.  Then they were replaced with much cheaper electronic chip volatile memory, but but both called memory.  (The only way to start up after power was off with only volatile memory was to manually punch in binary instructions, the bootstrap loader, which would then enable the loading of more instructions sometimes on paper tape, the bootstrap!)  Sometimes the meaning of technical terms change with time (such as hacker or cloud) but I have never heard of such a specific difference in meaning between "memory" and "storage", so no need to change the manual.
Jul 07, 2014 - Allan Tolman
Despite Daryl's history of computing.  Gary is correct and a distinction must be made between memory and storage space.
All one needs to do is check the specifications of modern day personal computers in the Sunday paper.  It will clearly state the amount of memory that is installed as well as the amount of storage found on the hard drive.  Two different specifications.  Never will they be listed together. Nor will disk storage be listed as memory.  

If that were done the consumer would expect a computer with a one terabyte hard drive, to have one terabyte of memory.
Aug 13, 2014 - Mike Votilla
I understand the COMPUTERS badge is being phased out and being replaced - what is the LAST possible date that a scout can complete requirements and earn the COMPUTERS badge?
Oct 07, 2014 - Jon H.
Mike - Computers merit badge will be discontinued as of Dec. 31, 2014, and replaced by Digital Technology merit badge, which debuts in mid-April 2014.

Oct 08, 2014 - Joe
At this point they are getting hard to find, there are only 2,000 Computer Merit Badges left in the country.

Digital Technology is already out and in stores

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