EVALUATING BOY SCOUT EDUCATIONAL RESOURCES, A PILOT STUDY
The purposes of this study were to determine the amount of geology content knowledge engendered in adolescent males through the use of the Geology Merit Badge Handbook published by the Boy Scouts of America; to determine if single sex, activity oriented, free-choice learning programs can be effective in promoting knowledge development in young males; and to determine if boys participating in the Scouting program believed their participation helped them succeed in school.
Members of a local Boy Scout Troop between the ages of 11 and 18 were invited to participate in a Geology Merit Badge program. Boys who did not already possess the badge were allowed to self-select participation. The boys' content knowledge of geology, rocks, and minerals was pre- and post-tested. Boys were interviewed about their school and Scouting experiences; whether they believed their Scouting experiences and work in Merit Badges contributed to their success in school.
Contributing educational theories included single-sex education, informal education with free-choice learning, learning styles, hands-on activities, and the social cognitive theory concept of self-efficacy.
Boys who completed this study seemed to possess a greater knowledge of geology than they obtained in school. If boys who complete the Boy Scout Geology Merit Badge receive additional geological training, their field experiences and knowledge acquired through this learning experience will be beneficial, and a basis for continued scaffolding of geologic knowledge.