Chemistry Merit Badge
Activity Guide for Patrol Leaders
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    Chemistry Merit Badge

    Aids for the Boy-Led Scout Troop

    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.

    Supply Pre-requisites

    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

    Chemistry Merit Badge A) Make Your Plan
    The Trail to Adventure Fun!

      1. Merit Badge Activity Preview

      2. Sample Plan Outline
      Note: This Plan is a Draft - Some dates, events and activities may change after reviewing it with your leaders.

      • Make draft of Event Flyer (See Example Here).
      • Each Participant to be notified that he needs:
      • Event Dates / Places / Dress Code / Supplies / Etc.
      • Pre-requisites (ie worksheet, blue card, research materials)
      • Homework Requirements
      • Other Related Scouting Activities? (See Extra Credit)

      3. Meet the Merit Badge Counselor
      Review your plan with the merit badge counselor. Some activities require his advance approval. The Scoutmaster should be able to recommend a counselor to you.

      4. Patrol Leader Council
      Present Activity Proposal to your fellow patrol leaders and scoutmaster. Make assignments as needed.

      5. Gather Experiments

        See Pre-requisites above. Prepare material for the several experiments needed.

      6. Announce & Start Activity

      • Get final approval from your scoutmaster.
      • Update event flyer (#2) above.
      • Distribute event flyer / Begin Introduction

    B) Introduction
    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.

    Chemistry explores how substances react with each other, how they change, how certain forces connect molecules, and how molecules are made are all parts of chemistry. Stretch your imagination to envision molecules that cannot be seen—but can be proven to exist—and you become a chemist.

    Show on Laptop or portable TV & crank up the sound!

    ChemistryMerit Badge C) Activity Laboratory

    Activity Center
    Scouts know they are in for a cool adventure when they are greated by at a large kitchen facility by a scientist wearing a big white lab coat, safety goggles, huge rubber gloves and a large chemistry kit of beaker, burners, fire extinquisher, safety equipment, etc. This activity may require two activity night sessions to complete all of the experiments.

    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.

      Cartesian Diver Experiment 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.

      ChemistryMerit Badge Req #7: Chem Lab Field Trip
      Note: Option b available if you cannot reach a chem lab (a, c, or d):
      Do ONE of the following:

        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.

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Chemistry Merit Badge

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