The Cub Scout Nova award Swing! is a great STEM activity for kids. Learn about requirement 2, and find links to all the other requirements.
The second requirement for the Cub Scout Nova award, Swing!, gives the Scouts three options to pick from.
This can be a little confusing because it's requirement 2 with 3 options, and the last two are A and B.
Nova Swing! Requirement 2. Complete ONE adventure from the following list for your current rank or complete option A or B. (If you choose an Adventure, choose one you have not already earned.) Discuss with your counselor what kind of science, technology, engineering, and math was used in the adventure or option.
Option A: With your parent’s permission, take an old or broken household or mechanical item, break it down into its component pieces, and identify the purpose of five parts. Suggested items include a keyboard, floppy disk, telephone, VCR, tape deck, bicycle, people counter, printer or similar item. Make sure to use appropriate safety precautions.
Option B: Participate in two sports, either as an individual or part of a team, and identify the levers used in each sport.
For each rank, the kids have a choice of two adventures they may complete. The counselor's edition of the Swing! requirements explains why these particular adventures were chosen.
Motor Away: Application of scientific principles to create a better boat or plane design
Paws of Skill: Levers are used in many sports, including baseball, golf, and tennis.
Baloo the Builder: Using a lever (crowbars, pliers, screwdrivers, hammer, etc.)
A Bear Goes Fishing: Using a lever (a fishing rod)
Webelos and Arrow of Light Scouts
Adventures in Science: Rockets, motion on playground, and creating circuits are all part of engineering.
Engineer: Entire adventure deals with engineering.
These adventures will help our Cub Scouts understand more about how engineering and simple machines like levers impact our every day lives.
Option A – Take Apart a Household or Mechanical Item
Taking an item apart can be super fun. It's interesting to look at all the parts and talk about what they do.
But there's an even bigger reason why we should encourage kids to do this. The National Inventors Hall of Fame had this to say:
“Why do we feel the freedom to reverse engineer is important? Research of our world’s greatest innovators showed a commonality that as children, they all took apart household items, re-imagining them into new prototype concepts!”National Inventors Hall of Fame
Where to Get Old Appliances for Cub Scouts
- Ask your family and neighbors.
- Facebook groups. I asked in our community Facebook group, and someone replied almost immediately.
- Goodwill or other thrift shop. We have a Goodwill outlet store close to me where you can purchase items by the pound. They always have a great selection of old appliances. 🙂
- Garage sales.
How to Safely Take Apart Old Appliances
We want to keep our Cub Scouts safe while they're doing this activity. Here are some things to remember.
- Use safety glasses! You never know what might go flying toward a kid's eyes as they are prying things apart.
- Familiarize yourself with the item. Determine if it has glass or sharp objects. If it does, remove those parts yourself.
- Remove and discard batteries, or cut electrical cord. We don't want Cub Scouts trying to turn on something that has been disassembled.
- Consider younger children. Make sure that the Cub Scouts aren't doing this activity while their younger siblings are around. All those little pieces and parts will be too tempting for the younger children. It's just too much of a choking risk.
Here are some suggestions for tools that you might need.
- Must Haves:
- Nice to Haves:
- Last Resort:
Learning About the Parts
For this requirement, the Cub Scouts need to identify the purpose of five parts. If you're like me, you won't have any idea what those parts are for!
One great resource is the product's instruction manual. Many of these can be found online. Simply google the brand name and model number of your appliance. Even if you can't find the exact manual, a similar one should be useful.
What to Do with Appliance Parts
So, after your Cub Scout has examined their item, what do you do with all those parts? Here are a few suggestions.
- Try to put it back together.
- Use the parts to create a new invention.
- Use the parts in an art project. The Webelos and Arrow of Light adventure, Art Explosion, has a requirement to make a freestanding sculpture or mobile.
- Recycle what you can.
- Discard the rest appropriately.
Participate in Two Individual or Team Sports and Identify the Levers Used
Almost every sport uses levers–even those that don't use equipment!
This presentation about simple machines in sports will give your Cub Scout a good overview. The first 19 slides are about levers.
Your Scouts might also like the book, Simple Machines in Sports, which is described this way:
Kids know that hockey sticks, water bottles with screw-on lids, and cleats are all used in sports. It may, however, be a surprise to them to learn that they're all machines. This book teaches sports enthusiasts how to spot the simple machines they've never noticed and to analyze their favorite games as never before. Labeled diagrams explain concepts such as mechanical advantage, and examples of each kind of simple machine abound.
Here are a few examples of sports that use levers.
- Table Tennis
Have your Cub Scout pick out a couple of sports that he or she likes and play them this week. We'll finish up the requirement next week by identifying the levers they used while they were participating in their chosen sports.
Remember, your Cub Scout only has to do one of these–an adventure, a take apart activity, or two sports–for this requirement. But if they're enjoying learning about levers, they can do all three if they want.
Links to Other Swing! Requirements
- General Guidelines for How to Earn the Nova Swing! Award
- Requirement 1 – Reading or Watching Shows About Motion or Machines
- Requirement 2 – Complete an Adventure, Tear Something Apart, or Play Two Sports
- Requirement 3 – Learn About Levers
- Requirement 4 – Visit a Place that Uses Levers
- Requirement 5 – Have a Discussion with your Counselor