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Computers requires prior counselor approval for requirements #6e, #7c, 7d.

Computers merit badge
Status: Elective
Created: 1967
Discontinued: no
BSA Advancement ID: 036
Requirements revision: 2006
Latest pamphlet revision: 2005


This is the Boy Scout Computers Merit Badge
Cub Scouts and Webelos Scouts can earn the Cub Scout Computers Belt Loop & Pin

Computers requirements

  1. Discuss with your counselor the tips for online safety.
  2. Give a short history of the computer. Explain how the invention of the computer has affected society, science, and technology.
  3. Do the following:
    a. Describe four uses of computers outside the home.
    b. Describe three ways you and your family could use a personal computer other than for games and entertainment.
  4. Explain the following to your counselor:
    a. The five major parts of a computer.
    b. How text, sound, pictures, and video files are stored in a computer's memory.
    c. How file compression works and how compression affects the quality of the file.
    d. Describe two computer chip-based devices, and describe how they are "smarter" because of the chip and its program.
  5. Do the following:
    a. Explain what a program or software application is and how it is developed.
    b. Name three programming languages, and describe their uses.
    c. Name four software packages you or your family could use, and explain how you would use them.
    d. Discuss ways you can help protect a computer from viruses and how to protect the information stored on a computer.
    e. Describe how computers are linked to generate and access the Internet and the World Wide Web.
  6. Do THREE of the following:
    a. Using a spreadsheet program, develop a food budget for a patrol weekend campout.
    b. Using a word processor, write a letter to the parents of your troop's Scouts inviting them to a court of honor.
    c. Using a computer graphics program, design and draw a campsite plan for your troop.
    d. Using a computer graphics program, create a flier for an upcoming troop event, incorporating both text and some type of visual such as a photograph or illustration.
    e. Using an Internet search engine (with your parent's permission), find ideas about how to conduct a troop court of honor or campfire program. Print out a copy of the ideas from at least three different Web sites. Share what you found with your counselor, and explain how you used the search engine to find this information.
    f. Using a presentation software program of your choice, develop a report about a topic that has been approved by your counselor. For your presentation, create at least 10 slides.
    g. Using a digital camera, take a picture of a troop activity. Transfer the picture file to a computer and use photographic software to make it small enough to send easily as an e-mail attachment. Then, using a computer connected to the Internet (with your parent's permission), send an e-mail to someone you know. In your message, include the photograph as an attachment. Verify that the person received your e-mail and was able to view the attachment.
    h. Using a database manager, create a troop roster that includes the name, rank, patrol, and telephone number of each Scout. Show your counselor that you can sort the register by each of the following categories: rank, patrol, and alphabetically by name.
  7. Do ONE of the following:
    a. Using a database program of your choice, create a troop roster that includes the name, rank, patrol, and telephone number of each Scout. Create a form within the database manager to access each Scout's information individually. Show your counselor how the form works.
    b. Using a software package of your choice for computer aided design (CAD), create an engineering-style drawing of a simple object. Include the top, bottom, and at least one side view and the dimensions.
    c. Create a blog and use it as an online journal of your Scouting activities, including group discussions and meetings, campouts, and other events. Your blog should have at least five entries and two photographs or illustrations. You need not post the blog to the Internet, but you will need to share it with your counselor. If you decide to go live with your blog, you must first share it with your parents AND counselor and get their approval.
    d. Create a Web page for your troop, patrol, school, or place of worship. Include at least three articles and two photographs or illustrations. Your Web page should have at least one link to a Web site that would be of interest to your audience. You need not post the page to the Internet. However, if you decide to do so, you must first share it with your parents AND counselor and get their approval.
    e. Visit a business or an industrial plant that uses computers. Observe what tasks the computers accomplish, and be prepared to discuss what you have learned.
  8. Explain the following to your counselor:
    a. Why copyright laws exist
    b. Why it is not permissible to accept a paid, copyrighted computer game or program from a friend unless the game or program is considered freeware or shareware. Explain the concepts of freeware and shareware.
    c. The restrictions and limitations of downloading music from the Internet
  9. Find out about three career opportunities in the computer industry. Pick one and find out the education, training, and experience required for this profession. Discuss this with your counselor, and explain why this profession might interest you. Report what you learn to your counselor.

The official source for the information shown in this article or section is:
Boy Scout Requirements, 2018 Edition (BSA Supply SKU #641568)

View the change list (history) of these requirements. The text of these requirements may be locked. In that case, they can only be edited
by an administrator.
Please note any errors found in the above requirements on this article's Talk Page.


Worksheet A FREE workbook for Computers is available here! Adobe Acrobat PDF
with the maps, charts, links, diagrams, and checklists you need!
Or click here to print just the Computers requirements. has PDF and DOC versions of
Boy Scout merit badge workbooks, Webelos workbooks,
Cub Scout workbooks, and Nova Award workbooks.

Requirement resources

Free/Open Source Software

Many of the requirements can be satisfied using Free (often called "Freeware") and Open Source software programs. These programs are free to download and use under Free/Open Source software licenses. Such licenses remove many of the restrictions on sharing software imposed by proprietary software licenses.

4 a
4 b
5 b
5 e
  • is an open source suite that includes word processing, spreadsheet, presentation and database programs. It is also capable of opening and saving documents in Microsoft format allowing users to work with and save to Word, Excel, Access, and PowerPoint files.
  • Google Docs contains basic spreadsheet, word processor and presentation software. Imports Microsoft Word, Excel and Powerpoint formatted files. Requires only a web browser and a (free) Google account.
6 a
6 b
6 e
6 g
  • Irfanview is free (no cost) to download and use (though not Open Source).
  • is a free, open source image editing and photo manipulation software designed to be used on Windows PCs. It supports layers, unlimited undo, special effects, and a wide variety of useful and powerful tools.
  • Picasa is free photo organization and editing tool from Google that can help you make web pages, slide shows and share your photos. A similar application for the Macintosh is iPhoto.
  • For those looking for more advanced photo editing software (or those using Linux) there's The G.I.M.P.. It is a good choice for those who can't use or afford Adobe Photoshop.
7 b
  • Sketchup is a "3D modeling software tool that’s easy to learn, simple to use, and lets you place your models in Google Earth".
  • QCad A free trial copy of QCad is available for downloading. The trial copy does have certain limitations (such as terminating after 10 minutes of use) but should suffice for this requirement and give a scout the chance to try a CAD program. (The Community edition of QCad is open source (with fewer limitations than the Professional trial), but only useful if you know how to compile source code.)
7 d
  • NVU - an open source html editor with WYSIWYG capability for building web pages. Also, Linux users can use Quanta Plus (which is also open source, and similar to NVU.)
  • Notepad++ - A more stable free HTML editor also with WYSIWYG and a spacebar HTML tag entry
9 b
  • DRM Information on music copyright protection.

Related awards

6 a
6 b
6 e

See also

Boy Scout portal
Venturing portal
Sea Scout portal
General Merit Badge information

External links

Personal tools