Down and Dirty

This module is designed to help you explore how earth science affects your life each day.

Hello Cubs and Families, we have an exciting lesson planned, full of interesting information about the Earth, Rocks and Volcanoes. In order to complete this NOVA award in one evening you need to complete several pre-work items. Our evening will be filled with information, discussion, flying around the Earth, and experiments.


General Information about this activity:

  • When?: 04/07 at 03:30pm

  • Instructor: Jeffrey Brewer and James Cascione

  • E-Mail address: and

  • Pre-req submissions: google form

  • Zoom link for activity:

  • Bio-sketches: James Cascione is a Consultant and Environmental Scientist. His work supports the development and management of numerous air pollution control systems at manufacturing facilities for compliance with federal and state regulations. James received his M.A. in Secondary Science Education, M.S. and B.S. in Geology from Lehigh University in Bethlehem, PA. While earning his graduate degrees he worked for the US Army Corps of Engineers as a field researcher at the Matanuska Glacier near Sutton, AK. As a Boy Scout James earned the rank of Eagle and was a member of the Order of the Arrow, and was a staff member at Yawgoog Scout Reservation. Mr. Cascione is currently the Asst. Cubmaster for Pack 1232 in Glenmont, NY.

    Jeffrey Brewer is a Doctor of Pharmacy and Associate Professor of Pharmacy at the Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences. He has worked in private physician offices for the last 22 years and likes nothing better than digging around in the dirt in his garden. He is an Eagle Scout and has been involved in scouting at various levels since 1983.


What is a pre-requisite? It is an activity you should complete before the meeting! Here is a list of pre-requisites you should do to complete this Award. If you do not have time to complete it before the day of the activity, do not despair! You can always send your work later to your instructor at the address listed above!

  1. Complete ALL the requirements.

WATCH the PBS NOVA episode Making North America: Origins. In it, host Kirk Johnson (Director of Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History) introduces you to the geology of North America. There are two other 1 hour shows in the series that are just as cool, but not required. If you or your parents would rather read or watch another show please keep to the Earth Science topic of Volcanoes or Plate Tectonics for a duration of one hour.

Once you are done watching, enter at least two questions or ideas from what you watch on the Google form referenced below.

  1. Your second task is to COMPLETE one of the following options described in the second requirement. You can choose a new adventure for your Cub Rank that you have not yet completed, please talk with your den leader, OR you can explain what geology means. The Adventure options are listed below. Please document your choice in the Google Form below.

    • Wolf Scouts: Collections and Hobbies, or Digging in the Past, or Grow Something

    • Bear Scouts: Super Science

    • Webelos Scouts: Adventure in Science, Earth Rocks!


Pre-req submissions

Finally, have your cub scouts ENTER their pre work in this form before April 5th to allow us to create a truly interactive and personalized learning experience. If you are late that is OK, please still fill it out up to our April 7th 3:30 class.

What will we do during the meeting?


Supplies Needed for the Meeting

  1. Lava lamp convection current experiment:

    • Tall clear jar, glass, or bottle

    • 1qt light vegetable oil (the lighter the color the better)

    • Food coloring

    • 1/2 cup white vinegar

    • 2 tablespoons baking soda mixed with small amount of water to form a paste

    • Plastic tablecloth or tray to catch the “lava” overflow

  2. Drawing a volcano cross-section

    • Large bland page of light colored (white) paper

    • Colored pencils, crayons or markers

  1. PowerPoint, Google Earth Tour, and Hands On Experiments

    1. We’ll Learn About How Volcanoes are Formed: Investigate the structure of the earth How heat generates Convection Cells Create a model of a Convection Cell by conducting the “LAVA LAMP EXPERIMENT” (as explained in this video:

    2. We’ll Learn the Difference Between Lava and Magma

    3. We’ll Learn about how a Volcano can form both when land is being created at a Divergent Plate Boundary and when land is being destroyed at a Convergent Plate Boundary. We’ll use Google Earth to fly to locations on the earth and investigate these topics (See box at the bottom of this page). We will use this video: Volcano Odyssey: Birth of an Island.

    4. We’ll Draw a Cross Section of Volcano While we learn about the cycles of eruption and dormancy, we’ll draw our model volcano, and watch video clips of Eruptions and Lava Flows and learn about Igneous rocks that cool from lava, including a demonstration of the amazing properties of volcanic Pumice and Granite

    5. We’ll share our drawings with other scouts and discuss the difference between Stratovolcanoes and Shield Volcanoes

  2. Google Earth Tour: We’ll take a Virtual Tour of a Copper Mine in Mexico and discuss how geologic resources are concentrated in locations where volcanoes form. We’ll talk about why scientists study earth science and we’ll watch a video of scientist studying an active volcano and discuss what information they can learn. We will watch this video on Volcano Diver.

  3. Finally, we’ll discuss how earth science affects everyday life and show for example how geology determines where skyscrapers are built in New York City using Google Earth.


A Google Earth Tour is available with a complete tour for the NOVA Down and Dirty Award presented on March 21st, 2021, available here. It is the Intellectual Property of Dr. Brewer and is available for use for any scouting family who is completing the NOVA Down and Dirty award this weekend and at any point in the future. If you are not in scouting, please contact me at for approval.






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