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ERIC Number: ED513200
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 352
Abstractor: As Provided
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-1092-8026-5
Science Education in the Boy Scouts of America
Hintz, Rachel Sterneman
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, The Ohio State University
This study of science education in the Boy Scouts of America focused on males with Boy Scout experience. The mixed-methods study topics included: merit badge standards compared with National Science Education Standards, Scout responses to open-ended survey questions, the learning styles of Scouts, a quantitative assessment of science content knowledge acquisition using the "Geology" merit badge, and a qualitative analysis of interview responses of Scouts, Scout leaders, and scientists who were Scouts. The merit badge requirements of the 121 current merit badges were mapped onto the National Science Education Standards: 103 badges (85.12%) had at least one requirement meeting the National Science Education Standards. In 2007, Scouts earned 1,628,500 merit badges with at least one science requirement, including 72,279 "Environmental Science" merit badges. "Camping" was the "favorite thing about Scouts" for 54.4% of the boys who completed the survey. When combined with other outdoor activities, what 72.5% of the boys liked best about Boy Scouts involved outdoor activity. The learning styles of Scouts tend to include tactile and/or visual elements. Scouts were more global and integrated than analytical in their thinking patterns; they also had a significant intake element in their learning style. Earning a "Geology" merit badge at any location resulted in a significant gain of content knowledge; the combined treatment groups for all location types had a 9.13% gain in content knowledge. The amount of content knowledge acquired through the merit badge program varied with location; boys earning the "Geology" merit badge at summer camp or working as a troop with a merit badge counselor tended to acquire more geology content knowledge than boys earning the merit badge at a one-day event. Boys retained the content knowledge learned while earning the merit badge. Scientists, Scout leaders, and Scouts felt that Scouts learned science through participation in the Boy Scout program, both in the merit badge program and also through activities, trips, outdoors, in meetings, and through rank advancement. On an open-ended questionnaire, 75.2% of Scouts reported that doing merit badges helped them do better in school. Scout leaders indicated that the overall Scouting environment introduced boys to science. Scout scientists credited Boy Scouts with providing experiences that interested and/or helped them in their scientific careers. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Tel: 800-521-0600; Web site:
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A