February 22, 2003 PSU ANS President and Boy Scout Chair:
Kaydee Kohlhepp PSU ANS Boy Scout Counselor:
Thank You Without the help of the following people and organizations this program would not have been possible. Their participation, dedication and commitment to this program has lead to an overwhelming success in the Atomic Merit Badge Program and Penn State ANS thanks them.
Radiation Science and Engineering Center
PSU ANS Volunteers
Dr Edwards – PSU ANS Faculty adviser
Tom Fonda – Boy Scout Chairman of the Nittany Mountain District
Dr Edwards – PSU ANS Faculty adviser
All the participating Boy Scouts Troops
ANS volunteers take a break between sessions
Public perception of nuclear technology is often riddled with fear and
misconception. As the nuclear accidents like Three Mile Island and Chernobyl
slip into the past and we move toward a more technologically oriented future, the door to change the public's perception of nuclear technology is opening. One way to help alleviate this perception barrier is through outreach programs that focus on public education. Education before the development of misconceptions is more effective than trying to combat fallacy and myth later.
The scouting program presents the ANS with the perfect opportunity to reach out to the youth of today and the future of tomorrow. The Penn State Student ANS first sponsored an Atomic Energy Merit Badge Workshop for the Boy Scouts in October of 1995. The first Nuclear Science and Technology Patch Workshop for Girl Scouts followed in March 1996. Both workshop programs were highly successful and offered annually until spring of 1999. Despite the success of the programs, the annual workshops stopped for a few years. 
This successful outreach program has been reestablished by the Penn State Student ANS and a workshop was given in March of 2001. Since then the program has been run once per year during the spring semester.
This year, due to the overwhelming response of applications received in the first weeks of registration, PSU ANS decided to offer this program twice in the month of February.
Boy Scouts use a Geiger counter to determine which plate is covering a radioactive source.
Attendance: On February 8, 2003, 5 Troops, totaling 47 scouts earned their atomic merit badge. Twenty-three PSU students volunteered for 8 hours to run this program. A total of 70 people participated in this day. The name of each scout who earned their badge is given below.
Troop 31 from State College Scouts: Andy Colwell
On February 22, 2003, 4 Troops, totaling 30 scouts earned their atomic merit badge. Fourteen PSU students volunteered for 8 hours to run this program. A total of 50 people participated in this day. The names of Troops scouts are given below.
The following PSU ANS Volunteers participated in the February 22 Session
Scouts studying People In Atomic Energy Pre-Workshop Activities:
Prior to the workshop dates PSU ANS members attended a Boys Scout Council meeting to announce the opening of registration for this year's workshop. A letter and registration packet was distributed to interested troop leaders. Following this meeting troops emailed or mailed in registration forms to PSU ANS. Within the first week of registration PSU ANS had reached their limit. A second session was announced to accommodate the larger number of interested scouts. This session quickly filled. In total about 120 scouts applied for the program, however due to the size of the facility and time constraints PSU ANS could only accept the first 9 troops, totaling 78 scouts.
Beginning in January, Kaydee Kohlhepp and Craig Mattos met weekly to discuss the schedule of events. In addition to the merit badge requirements PSU ANS came up with a few additional activities to enforce some important concepts being presented.
One week prior to the workshop volunteers met to discuss final plans. At this meeting duties were assigned and packets of information were made for each scout attending.
9:00-9:45 Intro Speech; Definition of Terms and People
Cloud Chambers/Building Atom Models
12:45-1:15 Lunch 1 Group 1
Intro to Tour Speech Group 1
1:15-1:45 Lunch 2 Group 2
Intro to Tour Speech Group 2
1:45-2:30 Tour Group 1
Fission/Chain Reaction Diagrams
2:30-3:15 Tour Group 2
Fission/Chain Reaction Diagrams
3:15-3:30 ATOMS (BINGO) Sign Blue Cards/ ANS members clean up
3:30-4:00 PSU clean up
Atomic Merit Badge Requirements:
The requirements for a scout to earn their Atomic Merit Badge are set by the Boys Scouts of America National Council and are listed below. PSU ANS volunteers facilitated discussions and activities so that all badge requirements were met during a single day.
The first five actives are required for all scouts to complete.
1. Tell the meaning of the following: alpha particle, atom, background radiation, beta particle, curie, fallout, half-life, ionization, isotope, neutron, neutron activation, nuclear reactor, particle accelerator, radiation, radioactivity, roentgen, and x-ray.
2. Make three-dimensional models of the atoms of the three isotopes of hydrogen. Show neutrons, protons, and electrons. Use these models to explain the difference between atomic weight and number.
3. Make a drawing showing how nuclear fission happens. Label all details. Draw a second picture showing how a chain reaction could be started. Also show how it could be stopped. Show what is meant by a "critical mass."
4. Tell who five of the following people were: explain what each of the five discovered in the field of atomic energy: Henri Becquerel, Niels Bohr, Marie Curie, Albert Einstein, Enrico Fermi, Otto Hahn, Ernest Lawrence, Lise Meitner, Wilhelm Roentgen, and Sir Ernest Rutherford. Explain how any one person's discovery was related to one other person's work.
5. Draw and color the radiation hazard symbol. Explain where it should be used and not used. Tell why and how people must use radiation or radioactive materials carefully.
6. Do any three of the following:
(Items marked with an * were completed the day of the workshop)
a. Build an electroscope. Show how it works. Put a radiation source inside it. Explain any difference seen.
b. Make a simple Geiger counter. Tell the parts. Tell which types of radiation the counter can spot. Tell how many counts per minute of what radiation you have found in your home.
c. Build a model of a reactor. Show the fuel, the control rods, the shielding, the moderator, and any cooling material. Explain how a reactor could be used to change nuclear energy into electrical energy or make things radioactive.
* d. Use a Geiger counter and a radiation source. Show how the counts per minute change as the source gets closer. Put three different kinds of material between the source and the detector. Explain any differences in the counts per minute. Tell which is the best way to
shield people from radiation and why.
e. Use fast-speed film and a radiation source. Show the principles of autoradiography and radiography. Explain what happened to the films. Tell how someone could use this in medicine, research, or industry.
* f. Using a Geiger counter (that you have built or borrowed), find a radiation source that has been hidden under a covering. Find it in at least three other places under the cover. Explain how someone could use this in medicine, research, agriculture, or industry.
g. Visit a place where X ray is used. Draw a floor plan of the room in which it is used. Show where the unit, the person who runs it, and the patient would be when it is used. Describe the radiation dangers from X ray.
* h. Make a cloud chamber. Show how it can be used to see the tracks
caused by radiation. Explain what is happening. 
How each requirement was met: Requirement 1: Tell the meaning of the following: alpha particle, atom, background radiation, beta particle, curie, fallout, half-life, ionization, isotope, neutron, neutron activation, nuclear reactor, particle accelerator, radiation, radioactivity, roentgen, and x-ray.
This was the first requirement met for the day. A power point presentation was made by PSU ANS members defining each term. The ANS members did a 45 minute discussion about the terms and then verbally asked each scouts to define the terms. This activity served as a good introduction to the day. During this introduction speech members also introduced scouts to many applications of nuclear technology.
Requirement 2: Make three-dimensional models of the atoms of the three isotopes of hydrogen. Show neutrons, protons, and electrons. Use these models to explain the difference between atomic weight and number.
Large marshmallows were used to model protons and neutrons and small marshmallows were used to model electrons. Each scouts built models of hydrogen, deuterium, and tritium using marshmallows and toothpicks. The scouts enjoyed using the marshmallows and eating them afterwards. During the February 22 session there were not enough marshmallows so donuts hole from breakfast were used to model neutrons and protons.
ANS members Bill Harding and Melisa Marcy lead the scouts in building models of hydrogen isotopes Requirement 3 and 5 : Make a drawing showing how nuclear fission happens. Label all details. Draw a second picture showing how a chain reaction could be started. Also show how it could be stopped. Show what is meant by a "critical mass."
Draw and color the radiation hazard symbol. Explain where it should be used and not used. Tell why and how people must use radiation or radioactive materials carefully.
A PowerPoint presentation was made about fission and chain reactions. After the presentations, large paper was passed around to scouts and each individual scouts was asked to draw a fission diagram, chain reaction diagram, and the radiation symbol. There was also additional time for scouts to draw the food irradiation symbol. At the end of the day, T-Shirts were given as prizes for the best drawings.
Requirement 4: Tell who five of the following people were and explain what each of the five discovered in the field of atomic energy: Henri Becquerel, Niels Bohr, Marie Curie, Albert Einstein, Enrico Fermi, Otto Hahn, Ernest Lawrence, Lise Meitner, Wilhelm Roentgen, and Sir Ernest Rutherford. Explain how any one person's discovery was related to one other person's work.
This activity took place over the course of the day. During the introduction speech, scouts were broken into groups of 2-3 and each group was given a short biography about a single scientist. Then each group gave a 1 minute presentation about the person they researched to the other scouts. The scouts were asked to take notes on each person using a provided handout. Throughout the day, scouts learned about people that were relevant to the activity they were working on. At the end of the day, ANS members individually asked each scout to name who the five of the scientist were and their discoveries.
Scalar Activity Badge Requirement: Use a Geiger counter and a radiation source. Show how the counts per minute change as the source gets closer. Put three different kinds of material between the source and the detector. Explain any differences in the counts per minute. Tell which is the best way to shield people from radiation and why .
This requirement could be easily accomplished using Geiger counters; however, PSU ANS chose to use the scalars (counters using a Geiger-Mueller tube detector that give digital numerical readings of counts instead of audible readings). Three small experiments were carried out with the scalar equipment:
Background Radiation A measurement of background radiation was taken to illustrate the existence of background radiation and the random nature of radioactive decay. See Attachment 1.
Effect of Distance The effects of distance of the source from the detector were investigated. Timed counts were taken as each source was moved a specified distance from the detector tube. See Attachment 2.
The effect of different types of shielding materials on radiation reaching the detector was investigated. Radiation counts were obtained while using different material for shielding. The shielding materials included paper, plastic, lead, aluminum, and tin foil. At the end of the activity a worksheet was completed to reinforce important concepts.
Radiation Hunt Activity Badge Requirement: Using a Geiger counter (that you have built or borrowed), find a radiation source that has been hidden under a covering. Find it in at least three other places under the cover. Explain how someone could use this in medicine, research, agriculture, or industry .
This requirement was supplemented by other activities to fill the hour time period.
Applications of radiation in medicine Scouts used a Geiger counter to find radioactive sources embedded in foam board and covered by a paper. A word or phase was written on the covering and as the scouts located the sources they put the words together to form a sentence about nuclear medicine.
Irradiated Versus Radioactive This section involved the scouts taking Geiger counter measurements of radioactive items (e.g. Old thorium-containing Coleman lantern mantle, salt substitute, smoke detector, rocks containing uranium compounds, orange Fiesta Ware™) and irradiated items (e.g. surgical gloves, irradiated sponges, and other colors of Fiesta Ware). These items were used to demonstrate the difference between irradiated and radioactive.
Finding Hidden Radiation Sources The actual badge requirement was met when each Scout used a Geiger counter to determine which of 5 paper plates had radioactive sources under them. Obviously, only beta and gamma sources could be used here, and Scouts had to figure out why. Scouts discussed with a volunteer the applications of this concept and listed them on a worksheet.
Cloud Chamber Activity
Requirement: Make a cloud chamber. Show how it can be used to see
the tracks caused by radiation. Explain what is happening .
The Radiation Science and Engineering Center provided pre-made cloud chamber kits. The scouts placed a small amount of alcohol around the felt on pietre dishes that had small radioactive items such as rocks and thorium Colman mantel lanterns in them. They then placed the cloud chambers on the dry ice to cool. The scouts then watched the radiation tracks that the radioactive materials were producing. Following the observation, the scouts filled out a worksheet reinforcing what they had learned.
After lunch volunteers gave an introduction to the tour speech. This 45 minute presentation consisted of a discussion of the nuclear fuel cycle, how a nuclear power plant works, radioactive waste and fusion.
Following the pre-tour discussion the scouts had an opportunity to tour the Radiation Science and Engineering Center. They had the opportunity to see a SCRAM of the 1 Mega Watt TRIGA Reactor and go in the control room. The scouts also had the opportunity to try the mechanical manipulators in the hot cells.
Additional Activities Rutherford Scattering – To supplement the cloud chamber activity a demonstration of Rutherford Scattering was done. Rutherford, shot alpha particles at the nucleus of atoms to determine the size and shape. The students rolled marbles under a piece of cardboard to determine the shape of an unknown object.
ATOMS- The volunteers invented a game which they describe as a nuclear version of BINGO tm . Each scout created their own “bingo board” by placing nuclear words on the board in any space they chose. They were given a list of terms that were used in requirement 1. A volunteer then gave the definitions of words but not the word itself. As the definitions were given the scouts crossed out the word on their board. The first scout to get ATOMS by crossing out the words won a prize. This game was played until every scout got ATOMS. This activity worked well as a closing activity because it re-enforced all the terms that the scouts had learned throughout the day.
A T O M S
Future Scouting Programs Since 1999 Craig Matos has been the PSU ANS atomic merit badge councilor. Craig will be graduating in May 2003 and leaving Penn State. Bret Rickert has been named as the new Atomic Merit Badge Councilor.
This year significant changes were made to the program such as removing all pre-requirements. In the past, PSU had asked the scouts to complete the first 5 requirements prior to attending the workshop. After this year's program PSU ANS feels that having the scouts complete 5 requirements beforehand is ideal. This way the scouts all have some background prior to the event. These were removed at the request of troop leaders who said they did not have the technical background to assist the scouts with the pre-requirements. A suggestion for future workshops would be to have volunteers meet with troop prior to the workshop and assist in these requirements. This would give the scouts individual attention which is not always available during the workshops.
Another improvement made this year was the use of PowerPoint. Almost every activity had a PowerPoint presentation as a supplement. This worked well for the volunteers and helps convey the information to visual learners. It is also a good way to turn over the running of the program. This will be used again next year and improved upon.
It is hoped that this program will continue to be successful and that the future PSU ANS members will continue to improve upon this excellent program.
References: 1. Shedlock, Daniel, Mary Lou Gougar. “You Can Make the Difference:
2. Atomic Energy Merit Badge booklet, Boy Scouts of America, available through your local BSA Council, bookstore, or library.
Handouts and Materials Used In BSA Program
Atomic Energy Scientists
Each of the following scientists contributed to the study of atomic energy. Throughout the day, we will be talking about each persons contribution. In the blanks below take note about what each scientists contribution was. At the end of the day, each scout will be asked to verbally explain to a PSU ANS member who 5 of the scientists were and their contribution. You will also be asked to explains how any one scientist contribution lead to another's work.