Scout Patches

I’ve recently been watching a comedy TV series that features a group of girls that are a part of an organization called The Fireside Girls, a spoof on Girl Scouts. Throughout the show, they earn patches (merit badges) for various accomplishments as they aid the main characters in their projects. (Read more about actual merit badges here.) Some of these patches are reasonable, like the Sewing Patch or the Tent-Pitching Patch, but as the show goes on, we see more absurd patches like the Ice Cream Juggling Patch or the Wrestling an Alligator in a Sewer Patch, or oddly specific patches that aren’t terribly impressive, like the I Just Saw a Cute Boy Patch or the Not Talking for 24 Hours Patch.

For this project, your class will create their own set of patches. If it makes sense for your class, separate the boys from the girls, then have each group come up with a name for their own Scouts club. If they are unfamiliar with Scouts, you may want explain this first (see here or here). Then they should proceed to creating 25 badges.

The Challenge

Students need to think of the name an accomplishment for each patch. That’s the fun part! Then they should write down the description and requirements of each. How would someone qualify for this patch? Students should answer what? as well as to what extent? What types of activities qualify for the Aeronautics patch? How many cows do they need to milk, or how many liters should they acquire, to get a milking patch?

The Design

Patches – or badges – are typically sewn onto a sash that’s worn specifically for displaying patches, and most patches are circular, perhaps the size of a quarter. They display no words, only graphics. Your students need to create a visual for each badge. This can be left up to any visual artists in the group, or students can search online for some suitable icons.

Demonstration

Finally, student should demonstrate to the rest of the class how someone might hypothetically acquire some of their patches (for the sake of time, you might want to choose only five patches from each group). A representative could tell a brief story, or they could act out the accomplishment.

Bonus

  • To make it competitive between the boys and the girls, you could present the patches to another class and have them vote on their top five favorites, and the group with the most favorites wins.

  • Encourage your students to actually accomplish some of their patches throughout the semester. This could be rewarding for them, or it could make them think twice about creating a patch that’s too unpleasant.

  • If your class is doing the Character Journey year-long project, students can work some of these patches into their hero’s story.

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