The preliminary requirements for Inventing Merit Badge are starting to float around to various Councils. The Inventing Merit Badge is set to debut sometime in 2010. These requirements should not be used to start the Inventing Merit Badge but rather to provide an idea of what the merit badge will entail, prior to its release, to drum up support and excitement.
1. In your own words, define inventing. Then do the following:
A. Explain to your merit badge councilor the role of inventors and their inventions in the economic development of the United States.
B. List three inventions and how they have helped humankind.
2. Do ONE of the following:
A. Identify and interview with a buddy (and with your parent’s permission and merit badge counselor’s approval) an individual in your community who has invented a useful item. Report what you learned to your counselor.
B. Read about three inventors. Select the one you find most interesting and tell your counselor what you learned.
3. Do EACH of the following:
A. Define the term intellectual property. Explain which government agency oversees the protection of intellectual property, the types of intellectual property that can be protected, how such property is protected, and why protection is necessary.
B. Explain the components of a patent and the different types of patents available.
C. Examine your Scouting gear and find a patent number on a camp item you have used. With your parent’s permission, use the Internet to find out more about that patent. Compare the finished item with the claims and drawings in the patent. Report what you learned to your counselor.
D. Explain the term patent infringement.
4. Discuss with your counselor the types of inventions that are appropriate to share with others without protecting and explain why. Tell your counselor about one nonpatented or noncopyrighted invention and its impact on society.
5. Choose a commercially available product that you have used on an overnight camping trip with your troop. Make recommendations for improving the product, make a sketch that shows your recommendations, and discuss your recommendations with your counselor.
6. Think of an item you would like to invent that would solve a problem for your family, troop, chartered organization, community, or a special-interest group. Then do EACH of the following, while keeping a notebook to record your progress:
A. Talk to potential users of your invention and determine their needs. Then, based on what you have learned, write a proposal about the invention and how it would help solve a problem. This proposal should include a detailed sketch of the invention.
B. Create a model of the item using clay, cardboard, or any other readily available material. List the materials necessary to build a prototype of the item.
C. Share the idea and model with your counselor and potential users of your invention. Record their feedback in your notebook.
7. Build a working prototype of the item you invented for requirement 6*, then test and evaluate the invention. Among the aspects to consider in your evaluation are cost, usefulness, marketability, appearance, and function. Describe how your initial vision and expectations for your idea and the final product are similar or dissimilar. Have your counselor evaluate and critique your prototype.
*Before you begin building the prototype, you must share your design and building plans with your counselor and have your counselor’s approval. [[The health and safety aspects can be discussed in a note to the counselor and in the text.]]
8. Do ONE of the following:
A. Participate in an invention, science, engineering, or robotics club or team that builds a useful item. Share your experience with your counselor.
B. Visit a museum or exhibit dedicated to an inventor or invention, and create a presentation of your visit to share with a group such as your troop or patrol.
9. Discuss with your counselor the diverse skills, education, training, and experience it takes to be an inventor. Discuss how you can prepare yourself to be creative and inventive to solve problems at home, in school, and in your community. Discuss three career fields that might utilize the skills of an inventor.
Remember these are not the final requirements, and Scouts can not start working on the new Inventing Merit Badge until the merit badge pamphlet is released by National.