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Effective: September 1, 1995

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Indian Lore


The requirements have been completely revised and now read as follows:

  1. Tour your community and list the different building types you see. Try to identify buildings that can be associated with a specific period of history. Make a sketch of the building you most admire.
  2. Arrange to meet with an architect. Ask to see the architect's office and to talk about the following:

    (a) Careers in architecture
    (b) Educational requirements
    (c) Tools an architect uses
    (d) Processes involved in a building project
  3. Arrange to visit a construction project with the project's architect. Ask to see the construction drawings so that you can compare how the project is drawn on paper to how it is actually built. Notice the different building materials. Find out how they are to be used, why they were selected, and what determines how they are being put together.
  4. Interview the owner or occupant of a home or other building (your "client"). Find out what your client's requirements would be for designing a new home or business facility.
  5. Measure your bedroom. Make an accurately scaled drawing of the floor plan indicating walls, doors, windows, and furniture. Neatly label your drawing, including your name and the date. (Drawing scale: 1/4"=1 foot)

Indian Lore

Minor editorial and other changes have been made throughout the requirements. The new requirements are:

  1. Give the history of one American Indian tribe, group, or nation that lives or has lived near you. Visit it, if possible. Tell about dwellings, kind of life, tribal government, religious beliefs, family and clan relationships, language, dress, food preparation, means of getting around,how they played, if they were warlike or peaceful, where descendants of the group now live, and how they live.
  2. Do TWO of the following. Use information about a specific group or tribe to complete the requirements:

    (a) Make an item of clothing worn by a member of the tribe.
    (b) Make and decorate three items approved by your counselor used by the tribe.
    (c) Make an authentic model of a dwelling used by any Indian tribe, group, or nation.
    (d) Visit a museum to see Indian artifacts. Talk about them with your counselor. Identify at least ten artifacts by tribe or nation, their shape, size, and use.
  3. Do ONE of the following:

    (a) Learn three games played by a group or tribe. Teach and lead one game with a Scout group.
    (b) Learn and show how a tribe cooked or prepared food. Make three food items.
    (c) Give a demonstration showing how a specific Indian group hunted, fished, or trapped.
  4. Do ONE of the following:

    (a) Write or briefly describe how life would have been different for the European settlers if there had been no Indians to meet them when they came to this continent.
    (b) Sing two songs in an Indian language. Explain their meaning.
    (c) Learn in an Indian language at least twenty-five common terms and their meanings.
    (d) Show twenty-five signs in Indian sign language. Include those that will help you ask for water, food, and where the path or road leads.
    (e) Learn in English an Indian story of at least three hundred words, or any number of shorter stories adding up to three hundred words. Tell the story or stories at a Scout meeting or campfire.
    (f) Write or tell about eight things adopted by others from the Indians.
    (g) Learn twenty-five Indian place-names. Tell their origins and meanings.
    (h) Name five well-known American Indian leaders, either from the past or people who are alive today. Give their tribes or nations. Describe what they did or do now that makes them notable.
    (i) Learn about the Iroquois Confederacy, including how and why it was formed. Tell about its governing system, and its importance to the framers of our Constitution.


  • 1. Name four branches of oceanography.  Describe at least five reasons why it is important for people to learn about the oceans.
  • 2. Define salinity, temperature, and density, and describe how these important properties of seawater are measured by the physical oceanographer.  Discuss the circulation and currents of the ocean.  Describe the effects of the oceans on weather and climate.
  • 3. Describe the characteristics of ocean waves.  Point out the differences among the storm surge, tsunami, tidal wave, and tidal bore.  Explain the difference between sea, swell, and surf.  Explain how breakers are formed.
  • 4. Draw a cross-section of underwater topography. Show what is meant by:  
    • (a) Continental shelf
    • (b) Continental slope
    • (c) Abyssal plain

    Name and put on your drawing the following: seamount, guyot, rift valley, canyon, trench, and oceanic ridge.  Compare the depths in the oceans with the heights of mountains on land.

  • 5. List the main salts, gases, and foods in sea water.  Describe the importance of these to life in the sea.  What is meant by Dittmar's principle?  Why is it important?
  • 6. Describe some of the biologically important properties of seawater.  Define benthos, nekton, and plankton.  Name some of the plants and animals that make up each of these groups.  Describe the place and importance of phytoplankton in the oceanic food chain.
  • 7. Do ONE of the following:
    • (a)  *Make a plankton net.  Tow the net by a dock, wade with it, hold it in a current, or tow it from a rowboat.  Do this for about 20 minutes.  Save the sample.  Examine it under a microscope or high-power glass.  Identify the three most common types of plankton in the sample.
    • (b) Make a series of models (clay or plaster and wood) of a volcanic island.  Show the growth of an atoll from a fringing reef through a barrier reef.  Describe the Darwinian theory of coral reef formation.
    • (c)  *Measure the water temperature 1 foot below the surface of a body of water four times daily (8 A.M., noon, 4 P.M., and 8 P.M.) for 6 consecutive days.  Measure the air temperature. Note the cloud cover and roughness of the water.  Show your findings on a graph.  Tell how the water temperature changes with air temperature.
    • (d) Make a model showing the inshore sediment movement by littoral currents, tidal movement, and wave action.  Include such things as high and low waterlines, low tide terrace, berm, and coastal cliffs.  Show how the offshore bars are built up and torn down.
    • (e) Make a wave generator. Show reflection and refraction of waves. Show how groins, jetties, and breakwaters affect these patterns.
  • 8. Do ONE of the following:
    • (a) Write a 500-word report on a book about oceanography approved by your counselor.
    • (b) Visit one of the following:
      • (1) an oceanographic research ship, or
      • (2) an oceanographic institute.

      Write a 500-word report about your visit.

    • (c) Explain to your troop in a 5 minute prepared speech "Why Oceanography Is Important" or describe "Jobs in Oceanography." (Before making your speech, show your speech outline to your counselor for approval.)
  • * May be done in lakes or streams.

This merit badge change was not  listed on the Inside Front Cover of the 1995-97 book. 


The requirements have been rewritten as follows:

  1. Explain what radio is. Include in your explanation: the differences between broadcast radio and hobby radio, and the differences between broadcasting and two-way communicating. Also discuss broadcast radio and amateur radio call signs and using phonetics.
  2. Sketch a diagram showing how radio waves travel locally and around the world. How do the broadcast radio stations, WWV and WWVH, help determine what you will hear when you listen to a radio?
  3. Do the following:

    (a) Draw a chart of the electromagnetic spectrum covering 100 kilohertz (kHz) to 1000 megahertz (MHz).
    (b) Label the LF, MF, HF, VHF, UHF, and microwave portions of the spectrum on your diagram.
    (c) Locate on your chart at least eight radio services such as AM and FM commercial broadcast, CB, television, amateur radio (at least four ham radio bands), and police.
    (d) Discuss why some radio stations are called DX and others are called local. Explain who the FCC and the ITU are.
  4. Explain how radio waves carry information. Include in your explanation: transceiver, transmitter, amplifier, and antenna.
  5. Learn the safety precautions for working with radio gear, particularly Dc and Rf grounding.
  6. Do the following:

    (a) Explain the differences between a block diagram and a schematic diagram.
    (b) Draw a block diagram that includes a transceiver, amplifier, microphone, antenna, and feedline.
    (c) Explain the differences between an open circuit, a closed circuit, and a short circuit.
    (d) Draw ten schematic symbols. Explain what three of the represented parts do. Find three electrical components to match to three of these symbols.
  7. Do ONE of the following (a, b, or c):

(a) Amateur radio

(1) Describe some of the activities that amateur radio operators can do on the air, once they have earned an amateur radio license.

(2) Carry on a 10-minute real or simulated ham radio contact using voice or Morse code; use proper call signs, Q signals, and abbreviations. (Licensed ham radio operators may substitute five QSL cards as evidence of contacts with amateur radio operators from at least three different call districts.)

(3) With the help of a local amateur radio operator, talk to and properly log at least two Morse code radio contacts. Record signal reports. Explain how often amateur radio operators must give their call signs during a radio contact.

(4) Explain at least five Q signals or amateur radio terms you hear while listening.

(5) Explain some differences between the Novice Class license and the Technician Class license requirements and privileges. Explain who gives amateur radio exams.

(6) Explain how you would make an emergency call on voice or Morse code. Tell why the FCC has an amateur radio service.

(7) Explain handheld transceiver versus home "base" stations. Explain about mobile amateur radios and amateur radio repeaters.

(b) Broadcast radio

(1) Prepare a program schedule for radio station "KBSA" of exactly one-half hour, including music, news, commercials, and proper station identification. Record your program on audio tape using proper techniques.

(2) Listen to and properly log fifteen broadcast stations; determine for five of these their transmitting power and general areas served.

(3) Explain at least eight terms used in commercial broadcasting such as segue, cut, and fade.

(4) Discuss the educational and licensing requirements and career opportunities in broadcast radio.

(c) Short-wave listening

(1) Listen across several short-wave bands for two four-hour periods, one in the early morning, the other in the early evening. Log the stations properly and locate them geographically on a globe.

(2) For several major foreign stations (BBC in Great Britain or HCJB in Ecuador, for example), list several frequency bands used by each.

(3) Compare your morning and evening logs, noting the frequencies on which your selected stations were loudest during each session. Explain the differences in signal strength from one period to the next.

(4) Discuss the purpose of and careers in short-wave communications.

  1. Visit a radio installation approved in advance by your counselor (ham radio station, broadcast station, or public service communications center, for example). Discuss what types of equipment you saw in use, how it was used, what types of licenses required to operate and maintain the equipment, and the purpose of the station.

This analysis was originally prepared as a service to Scouts and Scouters nationwide by:
Bruce E. Cobern
Advancement Chairman
Founders District
Queens Council
Greater New York Councils
Boy Scouts of America

The information was edited, rearranged, and converted to HTML by:
Paul S. Wolf
Advancement Committee
Winding Rivers District
Greater Cleveland Council
Boy Scouts of America

Copies may be freely distributed, so long as the author and editor are acknowledged.

Page updated on: November 28, 2017

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