The Composite Materials Merit Badge was published by BSA in 2006. Since then, almost every year it has ranked in the bottom ten of merit badges earned in BSA. Specifically, in 2021, Composite Materials ranked 131 out of 137 merit badges according to Bryan on Scouting.
If you look at the requirements of the Composite Materials merit badge, you’ll notice that it is demanding in terms of hands-on materials.
On April 23 and May 21, 2022, NCAC’s STEM Committee partnered with an Alexandria, VA based organization to offer the Composite Materials Merit Badge class to nearly 175 scouts.
The organization, Building Momentum, offers military training as well as community education thru dynamic programs. Often, their programs involve Arduinos, drones, welding, CAD, laser engraving, etc. The NCAC STEM Committee is working with Building Momentum’s Senior Education Associate, Cecily, to map Building Momentum’s incredible capabilities with scouting events.
Last week, we wrote about the incredible Welding merit badge workshop the Cecily and her team put forth for scouts. https://weownadventure.com/scouts-weld-nameplates-on-their-way-to-earning-new-awards/
Well, that wasn’t the only workshop! Building Momentum also led workshops for scouts to earn Composite Materials merit badges. Scouts learned about polymers, resins, their physical and chemical properties, toxicity, strength, softness, availability and cost effectiveness. A particularly interesting discussion ensued regarding cost – scouts noted that the cost comparison of materials was different from when the Composite Materials pamphlet was last updated in 2012. Now, in 2022, with the current supply chain challenges, lumber was more expensive than most metals.
For their projects, scouts made knife sheaths with fiberglass and acrylic boxes affixed with epoxies.