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.


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.

Visit the control tower of an airport.  Learn about the principles of flight. Tour an airplane and look at all the control dials.

Invite a local weatherman to your den meeting to talk about the climate during the year.

Air Flow Experiements


  1. Paper Strip Experiment
    Cut a piece of paper 2" by 6". Hold the narrow end, with the other end hanging down, in front of your mouth and blow across the top. Most people think the paper should go down as you blow across the top but surprisingly the paper rises up.
  2. Ping-Pong Balls Experiment
    You need: 2 Ping-Pong balls, two 12" pieces of string, tape, and a ruler.
    1. Tape one end of the string to the Ping-Pong ball and do the same on the second one.
    2. Tape the other ends of the strings to the ruler so that the Ping-Pong balls are hanging about 1" apart.
    3. Hold the ruler up so that the balls hang freely.
    4. Now, blow between the balls from a distance of about 3". The balls should pull toward each other.
  3. Paper Wing Experiment
    Cut a 4" by a 8 1/2" piece of paper and fold it in half. Tape the narrow edge one inch from opposite edge so that a wing with a flat bottom and curved top is formed. Slip a ruler through the wing loop end opposite the taped end with the curved side up. Now, blow directly at the folded part. The wing should rise up.
  4. The Ball and Funnel Challenge
    Materials: Ping-Pong balls, a few large funnels
    Experiment: Let the scouts know that it is time to have a little contest--you are going to see who can blow a Ping-Pong ball out of a funnel the easiest. All you must do is give a ball and funnel to each participating scout, have them place the ball in the funnel, and then try to blow the ball out as far as they can. The ball won't move! In order to blow the Ping-Pong ball out of the funnel, you must blow across the top of the funnel.
    This activity can also be done by hooking a blower hose to the end of the funnel in order to provide a constant blowing air supply. The funnel can then be held upside down, swung around, etc., and the ball still will not fly out!
  5. Water Up a Straw
    Materials: a tall glass of water, drinking straws
    1. Place one straw into the glass of water, holding it upright and keeping the bottom of the straw just off the bottom of the glass.
    2. Next, blow a short, hard blast of air through the second straw, holding it so that it is perpendicular to the first straw and their ends are touching. Water will come spraying out of the first straw into the air.


Egg in the Bottle

Peel a hard-boiled eggs just before doing the demonstration. .Set a small piece of paper on fire and drop it into the bottle. Place the hard-boiled egg on top or the opening of the bottle, small end first. The egg will be pulled into the bottle after the heated air from the fire has contracted. (As the air was heated, it began to expand. When the fire was extinguished, the air began to cool and contract. The egg seals the bottle. There is less air in the bottle causing unequal pressure to occur between the air in the bottle and the air outside the bottle. The air pressure on the outside pushes the egg into the bottle equalizing the air pressure inside and outside the bottle. Air pushes on all surfaces that it touches. This push is called air pressure.


Science Revelations

Webelos dress as mad scientists (lab coats, wild hair). They can come out and state these "facts" as written by students. Be sure to let your audience know that this is strictly humor, that comes from test papers and essays submitted to science and health teachers by elementary, junior high, high school, and college students and compiled at the NEA Life Sciences Symposium, Kansas City, Kansas.

  1. "The body consists of three parts - the branium, the borax, and the abominable cavity. The branium contains the brain, the borax contains the heart and lungs, and the abominable cavity contains the bowels, of which there are five - a, e, i, o, and u."
  2. "H2O is hot water, and CO2 is cold water."
  3. "To collect fumes of sulphur, hold a deacon over a flame in a test tube."
  4. "Three kinds of blood vessels are arteries, vanes and caterpillars."
  5. "Blood flows down one leg and up the other."
  6. "Respiration is composed of two acts, first inspiration, and then expectoration."
  7. "Dew is formed on leaves when the sun shines down on them and makes them perspire."
  8. "Mushrooms always grow in damp places and so they look like umbrellas."
  9. "The pistol of a flower is its only protections against insects."
  10. "A fossil is an extinct animal. The older it is, the more extinct it is."
  11. "Germinate: To become a naturalized German."
  12. "Liter: A nest of young puppies."
  13. "Momentum: What you give a person when they are going away."
  14. "Rhubarb: A kind of celery gone bloodshot."
  15. "To keep milk from turning sour: Keep it in the cow."



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, and then seal the top of the bottle with clay, taking care that the straw is not bent or crimped.  Have 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!

Place about 1/4 cup baking soda in a coke bottle and 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 expand with C02.

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".
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.

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
Fill a drinking glass to the very top with water. The water should spill over the top a bit.  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 as it will stay on by itself.

The Undrinkable Drinks -- 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?  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.


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.  Attach 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.

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.



Everyone knows whether they are left-handed or right-handed ... but do you know whether you are left eyed or right-eyed? Try this test to find out. Point a finger towards a distant object keeping both eyes open. Then close your right eye. If your finger appears to jump, this means you are right-eyed. If it does not jump, you are left-eyed.

Optical Illusion

Materials: A sheet of paper about 11 inches long.

What to do: Roll the paper into a tube one inch in diameter. Hold the tube to your right eye an place the side of your left hand against the middle of the tube, with your left palm directly toward your left eye.  Keep both eyes open as you look through the tube and you will “see through” your left hand.

Food Science

Invite a dietitian to your den meeting to talk about how and why foods cook.  Why do you add yeast, salt or soda to recipes? What happens if you forget one of the ingredients? How does a microwave oven cook foods? What other ways are there to prepare food?  Do some cooking in your kitchen and then sample the foods. (Microwave cupcakes, hot-air popped popcorn, cookies baked in the oven, grated cheese broiled on bread, steamed pudding ... Yummy!)

Nobel Prize

Look up information about the Nobel Prize. How many categories are there? Who was awarded a prize last year? What did they do or discover?


A Fog-Making Machine

Use a plain glass gallon jug, a stopper to fit it and a bicycle pump.  Put a small amount of water or alcohol (which works even better) in the jug.  Bore a hole through the stopper in the mouth of the jug.  After a few strokes of the pump, remove the stopper quickly.  There will be a loud pop and you will see that a cloud will form in the jug.  To get 'fair weather', all you need to do is replace the parts as they were, and pump air back into the jug.  The reason the cloud was formed is that in pumping air into the jug, the temperature was raised, making it possible for the air to hold more moisture.  When the top was removed, the air expanded and cooled.  This cool air could not hold as much moisture, thereby forming a cloud.

Crystal Clear

You will need:  salt, sugar, Epsom salts, laundry detergent flakes, 4 glass jars, 4 spoons, magnifying glass, thread or thin string, very hot water, pencils, paper clips, food coloring


  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.
  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.
  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.