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, such as things that we take for granted in our houses and our communities. Engineer is in the Technology group. One of the great things about being a Webelos den leader is the opportunity to learn many things right along with the boys. Unless you are an engineer, there may be some knowledge to pick up with this activity badge to pass along to your boys. If one of the Webelos Scout’s parents is an engineer, recruit their help for this badge.
One of the purposes of Cub Scouting is “fostering a sense of personal achievement by developing new interest and skills” in boys. The Engineer Activity badge probably does this more than any of the other activity areas. Engineering is one of the most exacting of the professions and the badge includes projects, which will give a boy an insight into some types of engineering. Keep in mind that an engineer’s job is to apply the laws of physics and chemistry to the solutions of problems in construction, industry, and other areas.
- To introduce Webelos to a variety of engineering careers.
- To give the Webelos some insight into the kinds of problems engineers solve. Keep in mind that an engineer’s job is to apply the laws of physics and chemistry to solve a variety of problems in construction, manufacturing, and other areas.
Where To Go And What To Do
- Measure the dimensions of your meeting place and include the location of doors and windows. Show how to sketch a simple floor plan with these measurements.
- Make a block and tackle and demonstrate its use.
- Make catapults and have a contest. Demonstrate for the pack meeting.
- Have a resource person demonstrate the use of drafting tools.
- Invite an engineer (of whatever kind) to a den meeting to tell about his job.
- Invite a surveyor to tell about his job and tools.
- Visit a construction site with a contractor. Ask him to explain the use of blue prints and the order of construction.
- Have someone explain how to read topographic maps.
- Find pictures of different bridges and discuss the differences in their construction.
Block and Tackle Experiment
This simple apparatus shows how block and tackle increases power. You need two lengths of broomstick and a length of clothesline. Fasten one end of the line to one of the sticks. Wrap line loosely around both sticks as shown. Have two of your biggest den members grasp the sticks and try to keep them apart while the smallest den member pulls on the line. He should be able to pull the sticks together no matter how the others try to keep them apart.
Use a ruler and an eraser or other soft projectile. Have a boy strike the short end of the ruler. How far did the projectile go? Now have him try it with half the ruler over the edge and hit it with the same force. Is there a difference in the distance? Why?
Do-it Yourself Flashlight
This flashlight can be assembled easily and provide a fun project for the boys. And better yet, it actually works!
- Flashlight battery
- Plastic pill bottle with a flexible lid
- Insulated wire
- The pill bottle should be large enough for the battery 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 some tape.
- Crumple small pieces of paper. Place enough of this in the 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 the lid up. This light creates a dim glow. If you want a larger light, use two batteries in a larger container.
The Ringer is a successful flying machine even though it is without wings, a tail or stabilizer. Construct and test this unique flying structure.
- 1 straw
- 1 sheet of paper
- Transparent tape
- Cut two paper strips: 5 in x 1/2 in and 7 in x 3/4 in.
- Tape the ends of the paper to form two loops.
- Tape the loops to the ends of the straw.
- Conduct test flights of the aircraft.
- Make a variety of alterations to the aircraft, such as changing the size of the loop, the length of the straw, etc.
- Record the length of flight, direction of flight, etc. for each design variation.
- Determine the best design for accurate, long distance flight.
Build A Rocket Engine From A Chicken Egg
This engine works by the same principle as the engines of future starships. Its jet of steam allows it to propel a simple boat.
- An uncracked raw chicken’s egg
- A fine knitting needle
- A basin
- All purpose glue
- A metal foil food container (such as TV dinners come in)
- A paper clip
- A few inches of stiff wire
- A candle
- Wash the outside of the egg and pierce a tiny hole through it from end to end, using the knitting needle.
- Hold the egg over a basin and blow through one of the holes. The yolk and white of the egg will come out of the hole at the other end of the shell and fall into the basin.
- Hold the eggshell under water and remove it when it is about half full. Put your fingers over the holes and shake it to clean the inside. Blow out the contents, then rinse the eggshell again in the same way.
- Now dry the outside of the shell and seal one of the holes with a blob of thick glue, leave the glue to set.
- Make the boat from the metal food container. Trim the sides with scissors and bend one end to form the boat’s curved bow. Clip a small flap of scrap foil to the stern of the boat to act as a rudder.
- Bend the piece of wire to form a cradle for the eggshell.
- Cut a small piece from the top of the candle and place it in the boat under the wire cradle.
- Hold the shell under water so that a little water enters. Do not let too much in as it will take a long time to boil. Using hot water will speed things up.
- Light the candle with an adult’s help and place the egg in the cradle above it.
- After a few minutes the boat will move forward, driven by the thrust of the eggshell rocket.
Measure The Property Line Where You Meet
Do this in small groups. Have someone write it down. Compare the results when all of the groups have finished. Discuss why the results were the same of different. Ask the Scouts why people have and measure property lines. Ask the Scouts if there is a way that they could measure the property line and be sure of the results and what might happen if the line were measured wrong.
Measure Your Meeting Room
Measure the dimensions of the room you meet in using a ruler, yardstick, and a tape measure in small groups. Compare results and discuss measuring experiences and problems. Equate their experiences with what an engineer might do as a part of his work.