Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Air of the Wolf

This is a great summertime adventure!  

Den Meeting #1
We started with choosing Air Experiments- (Comparing variations in the shape of wings through the air, and Variations in the Volume of Air)
A. Make a paper airplane and fly it five times. Try to make it fly farther by altering its shape. Fly it at least five more times to see if your changes were effective.  This makes a great gathering activity.  We had fun comparing completely different shapes of airplanes.  I would recommend having airplanes all folded that the boys can color and write their names on.  Then they can really focus on the adjusting the shape of the plane rather than getting burnt out on the folding part.  Finally, hope a windstorm doesn't kick up at exactly the time you want to test the planes like happened to us!  If it does, you'll have to fly the planes indoors and that is a bit chaotic!

B. Make a balloon-powered sled- I bought balloons for sleds, but then realized with my special needs den they wouldn't be able to blow up the balloons, so we improvised and used stomp rockets to accomplish the same experiment.  Instead of varying the size of the balloon, we varied the size of the bottle on the stomp rocket.  I'm not sure this variation counts so we did C as well just to be sure.  The rockets took too long to make.  A den leader in another pack told me she always has the rockets/sleds pre-made and the boys just decorate.  I think that is a good idea since the focus here is experimenting with air volume.
My boys building the launcher with pipe found in our garage and bottles from the recycling bin
we used 16oz, 2 liter, and 3 liter bottle attachments
the rocket is just over the roof in this picture, with the 3-liter bottle
the rockets might go so high you lose them, so do that one last.
pretty good air for just a little bottle!
C. Bounce a basketball that doesn’t have enough air in it. Then bounce one that has the right amount of air in it. Do each one 10 times. Describe how the ball bounces differently when the amount of air changes.  I had the balls sitting inside my house as the boys arrived and they just automatically started bouncing them when they walked in.  This experiement is easy to do with boys.  I had one flat one and one filled up, so the boys didn't lose interest while I took time to let air out.  

Bonus: For treats we made popcorn using a hot air popper.
Den Meeting #2
1 More Air Experiment and Races Using Air Power
For the gathering we launched rockets leftover from last week a few more times and  bounced balls.  Repeating requirements is good in the summer because someone is gone every den meeting and it helps more boys earn the badge.

C. With an adult, conduct an investigation on how speed can affect sound.
I made a simple bull roars with string taped to a wide craft stick and then let the boys swing them.  Adult supervision is needed for safety. 

E. With your den, participate in a rain gutter regatta. Explain how air helps the vehicle move.
 Tin Foil River From "Miss Mae's Days" Blog
Tin Foil Rain Gutter

We made boats with pool noodles, shish kabob sticks, and foam sails.  At first we tried using straws for the mast instead of shish kabob sticks and that did not work well.  We did our boat races fairly quickly and then played in the water the rest of the den meeting.  I warned the boys before den meeting that there would be water and they might get wet.  You can tape two rain gutters made with tin foil on a table outside for the races or on flat ground.  Since you have foil and water out, you can also put a tin foil river on a hill and let the boys play with floating small objects down stream.  You can also fill a plastic bin with water and let the boys try sinking things.  

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Wolf Running With The Pack

For several of the boys in my den, physical activities are a challenge.  Therefore, I wanted to disguise the activities in such a way that they wouldn't realize they were doing the fitness badge.  However, by contrast, when I taught this badge last year, the boys asked me why none of the requirements for the "Running" badge were running!  Good question, eh?  I had them run some foot races and they loved it.  What a great lesson in adapting to the den you have.

Requirement #1

Play catch with someone in your den or family who is standing 10 steps away from you. Play until you can throw and catch successfully at this distance. Take a step back, and see if you can improve your throwing and catching ability.

For this one we did a teddy bear toss as a gathering activity to work on the catching ability.  One of my boys who had never really caught anything in his life was very successful, I told him to catch the bear in a hug and he never missed a catch for the whole time we played, it was awesome!

The next week for gathering we did water bombing.  I let the boys throw these water bombs three times each and see if they could get farther each time.  The boys that would normally go hide when it was time to play catch were begging for more turns!  It was really a personal challenge because the water bombs left wet splotches marking how far they had thrown and it encouraged them to try again and see if they could beat themselves.  The ability levels varied so much that the boys focused on beating themselves.

bucket of water and homemade sponge water bombs
the Yoga ball made an irrestible "balance" activity and the red circle in the sky is a water bomb sailing across the street.
Most of the boys and I could only throw to the end of the driveway.

Requirement #2

Practice balancing as you walk forward, backward, and sideways.

Requirement #3
Practice flexibility and balance by doing a front roll, a back roll, and a frog stand.

Requirement #4
Play a sport or game with your den or family, and show good sportsmanship.

One of the boys in our den hosted a whole den meeting where we played ping pong.  It worked well, we started just trying to hit the ball and work up to trying to return the ball and then to taking turns with a partner.  
I don't have any pictures, but this one from Croation Martyrs Parish Youth Group looks a lot like us:)
A few of our boys missed the ping pong activity, but they had a great activity to show good sportsmanship with this jousting game at day camp!  
  Requirement #5
Do at least two of the following: frog leap, inchworm walk, kangaroo hop, or crab walk.

This activity was several days before Mother's Day, so we played "Mother May I".  I made this game with two paper plates and an improvised brad made out of a twist tie.  You secretly spin it each turn so the boys don't know how many steps each animal will earn.  I divided the boys into two teams and each team's turn the boys would say, "Mother May I... crab walk, (or inchworm walk, frog leap,or kangaroo hop)?"  Then I would reveal how many steps they got.  

The week we did this badge I did my own bit of "Running with the Pack": Ragnar Cape Cod (12 person, 200 mile relay, funnest thing ever!)  This is the finish line at the Cape Cod Ragnar.  I didn't even think of them as being related until I downloaded the pictures and they were all labeled as one event by my computer.  

Requirement #6

Demonstrate what it means to eat a balanced diet by helping to plan a healthy menu for a meal for your family. Make a shopping list of the food used to prepare the meal.

I take exception to the meal planning guide, since it seems to be designed by lobbyists.  Also since the government of each country has a different plan--how can you say which country is right?  So, I just came up with a basic meal planner based on scriptures, which seems pretty safe and untrendy.

Fruit and Veggies: I explained that the reason the vegetable part of the plate was the biggest is that vegetables take a lot of room (think a dinner salad, a pile of broccoli, or corn on the cob).  We usually don't have fruit with dinner at my house, but if you had a slice of watermelon with dinner, that also takes up a lot of space on the plate.

Water: I explained that all healthy eating should include plenty of water and NOT fruit juice and soda.  I explained that if they like to have milk with their dinner that is a protein and to put that in the protein section of their meal plan.  Fruit juice is fine to have, but since it is all sugar, it really goes in the dessert category!  

Protein:  The boys got to learn this word as they were unfamiliar.  I talked about how dinner doesn't always have to be meat, for example cheese, beans, seeds, and nuts can all count for the protein.  For example, Cheese pizza, bean burritoes, chilli with beans, hummus, or peanutbutter all have some protein.  

Grains:  The boys also didn't know what this was, but it was great to learn.  I am gluten free, so I use a huge variety of grains in my diet and I think potatoes fit well on this part of the plate even though obviously not a grain.

Instructions: Draw or write your Healthy Meal Plan on this plate!

The boys did a great job on this.  Then we planned and made another healthy meal of sorts.  They got to choose the fruit assortment to go in three smoothies.  I put a handful of spinach and carrots in one to make it a super healthy green smoothie meal! One had a lot of bananas and blueberries and turned out purple it was our brain food smoothie.  The last one had a lot of pineapple and strawberry and mango and it turned out orange, great for vitamins!  We served up all-you-can-eat samples in dixie cups.  Most of the boys tried the green smoothie and were surprised to find that it was nearly as sweet and yummy as the fruit smoothies.  We had tons of smoothie left over, so smoothie is what my family actually did get for dinner that night!  No pictures, but here is one from my archives.  Kid's love smoothies, even green ones.