Chemistry Merit Badge
Activity Guide for Patrol Leaders
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Chemistry Merit Badge gives scouts an opportunity for some fun experiments that you only wish they did in the public schools.
Sample Activity Plan
This Merit Badge makes for a good two-hour laboratory activity. Consider splitting into two activity night sessions.
A. Make Your Plan - What will you do?
B. Plan Presentation - Tell Your Patrol
C. Activity Laboratory -
This is a STEM Merit Badge. Prepare for fun Experiments! Your merit badge counselor can assist you in gathering these supplies.
Copper Sulfate and iron nail (Req #2a)
Cartesian Diver - water bottle and bobber (Req #3)
Onions a)Raw, b) Pre-cooked, c) Carmelized (Req #4a)
Toothpaste and abrasive cleanser (Req #4b)
Oil, Water & Container (Req #4c)
Lab Coat and safety goggles for Merit Badge Counselor
Periodic Table of the Elements - Gotta have that giant chemistry chart
A) Make Your Plan
The Trail to Adventure Fun!
1. Merit Badge Activity Preview
2. Sample Plan Outline
3. Meet the Merit Badge Counselor
4. Patrol Leader Council
See Pre-requisites above. Prepare material for the several experiments needed.
Present the plan to your patrol or troop (Either at your first activity meeting or sometime earlier.)
Here are some ideas to show why this activity will be both fun and important.
C) Activity Laboratory
While some scouts may be adept at self-study, others may do better in a small group setting and taking notes on worksheets. You can facilitate discussion by asking them why each of the principles intruduced here would be relevant.
Req #1: Safety Requirements:
a. Describe three examples of safety equipment used in a chemistry laboratory and the reason each one is used.
b. Describe what a material safety data sheet (MSDS) is and tell why it is used.
c. Obtain an SDS for both a paint and an insecticide. Compare and discuss the toxicity, disposal, and safe-handling sections for these two common household products.
d. Discuss the safe storage of chemicals. How does the safe storage of chemicals apply to your home, your school, your community, and the environment?
Sample SDS #1 - Kelly Moore Paints - Flat 14 Frost
Sample SDS #2 - ArborJet Insecticide - AzaSol.
Req #2a: Copper Sulphate Experiment
Predict what would happen if you placed an iron nail in a copper sulfate solution. Then, put an iron nail in a copper sulfate solution. Describe your observations and make a conclusion based on your observations. Compare your prediction and original conclusion with what actually happened. Write the formula for the reaction that you described.
Req #2b: Separating Elements
Describe how you would separate sand from water, table salt from water, oil from water, and gasoline from motor oil. Name the practical processes that require these kinds of separations.
Req #2c: Chemical Reactions
Describe the difference between a chemical reaction and a physical change.
Req #3: Cartesian Diver
Construct a Cartesian diver. Describe its function in terms of how gases in general behave under different pressures and different temperatures. Describe how the behavior of gases affects a backpacker at high altitudes and a scuba diver underwater.
WikiHow - How to build a Cartesian Diver in 9 easy steps.
Req #4A: Carmelized Onion Test
a. Cut a round onion into small chunks. Separate the onion chunks into three equal portions. Leave the first portion raw. Cook the second portion of onion chunks until the pieces are translucent. Cook the third portion until the onions are caramelized, or brown in color. Taste each type of onion. Describe the taste of raw onion versus partially cooked onion versus caramelized onion. Explain what happens to molecules in the onion during the cooking process.
Req #4B: Toothpaste Cleaner Test
b. Describe the chemical similarities and differences between toothpaste and an abrasive household cleanser. Explain how the end use or purpose of a product affects its chemical formulation.
Req #4C: Oil/Water Mix Test
c. In a clear container, mix a half-cup of water with a tablespoon of oil. Explain why the oil and water do not mix. Find a substance that will help the two combine, and add it to the mixture. Describe what happened, and explain how that substance worked to combine the oil and water.
Req #5: The Four Divisions of Chemistry
List the four classical divisions of chemistry. Briefly describe each one, and tell how it applies to your everyday life.
Five Branches of Chemistry -
Req #6: Chemical Pollution
a. Name two government agencies that are responsible for tracking the use of chemicals for commercial or industrial use. Pick one agency and briefly describe its responsibilities to the public and the environment.
b. Define pollution. Explain the chemical effects of ozone, global warming, and acid rain. Pick a current environmental problem as an example. Briefly describe what people are doing to resolve this hazard and to increase understanding of the problem.
c. Using reasons from chemistry, describe the effect on the environment of ONE of the following: 1. The production of aluminum cans or plastic milk cartons 2. Sulfur from burning coal 3. Used motor oil 4. Newspaper
d. Briefly describe the purpose of phosphates in fertilizer and in laundry detergent. Explain how the use of phosphates in fertilizers affects the environment. Also, explain why phosphates have been removed from laundry detergents.
Req #7: Chem Lab Field Trip
a. Visit a laboratory and talk to a practicing chemist. Ask what the chemist does and what training and education are needed to work as a chemist.
b. Using resources found at the library and in periodicals, books, and the Internet (with your parent’s permission), learn about two different kinds of work done by chemists, chemical engineers, chemical technicians, or industrial chemists. For each of the four positions, find out the education and training requirements.
c. Visit an industrial plant that makes chemical products or uses chemical processes and describe the processes used. What, if any, pollutants are produced and how are they handled?
d. Visit a county farm agency or similar governmental agency and learn how chemistry is used to meet the needs of agriculture in your county.
H) Extra Credit
Never add to or take away from the stated merit badge requirements. The material presented below is intended only to add fun for the patrol by way of either activity or community service.
The Chemistry merit badge was one of the original 57 merit badges issued by the Boy Scouts of America in 1911.
MainTour Chemistry Merit Badge
MainTour.com is not affiliated with
Boy Scouts of America
or any other scouting organization.
Life is a long lesson in humility. - James M. Barrie (1860 - 1937)
Life is a long lesson in humility. - James M. Barrie (1860 - 1937)