Return to Programming Merit Badge Page



Please arrive with ample time prior to the start time of your class for registration.  Remember there will be others checking in as well and depending on the size of the class and the event the class is being held in conjunction with that registration may take a little time.

You should bring a blue card filled out properly for this class. (Scoutmaster Bucky Online participants - you should have forwarded your Blue card to Scoutmaster Bucky prior to the class via email or postal mail Scoutmaster Bucky - 5724 Aldrich Avenue South  Minneapolis, Minnesota  55419.) If you are not familiar with how to fill out a blue card, you should familiarize yourself with Scoutmaster Bucky's "How To Fill Out A Blue Card" document. Click here for Scoutmaster Bucky's "How To Fill Out A Blue Card".  Remember it is a Scout's responsibility to take care of their own blue card from beginning to end.

Your Scout Uniform is required to be worn for attending this Merit Badge session.†† If you have any additional questions, please feel free to contact Brian Reiners; Scoutmaster Bucky via email or on the phone at 612-483-0665.

Reviewing the merit badge pamphlet PRIOR to attending and doing preparation work will insure that Scouts get the most out of these class opportunities. The merit badge pamphlet is a wealth of information that can make earning a merit badge a lot easier. It contains many of the answers and solutions needed or can at least provide directions as to where one can find the answers.  It is NOT acceptable to come unprepared to a Scoutmaster Bucky event.

You can (and should) use the Scoutmaster Bucky Programming Merit Badge Workbook to help get a head start and organize your preparation work. You can download the Scoutmaster Bucky Programming Merit Badge Workbook by clicking here.  If this link is not working please check the internet for other merit badge workbook options.

It should be noted that this merit badge class is not meant for those who just want to come and see what they can get done. It is possible to complete this merit badge by being properly prepared and having done the preparation work prior to the class. Preparation is a MUST.





Things to remember to bring for this Merit Badge Class:

1. Merit Badge Blue Card properly filled out and signed off by your Scoutmaster

2. Programming Merit Badge Pamphlet

3. A laptop computer to do programming on

4. Scout Uniform

5. Supporting documentation or project work pertinent to this merit badge which may also include a Merit Badge Workbook for reference with notes

6.†A positive Scouting focus and attitude

Following is an outline of the class to help you prepare.  Note that Scouts will be signed off only on those requirements that the Merit Badge Counselor determines meets the requirements; no more no less  This Merit Badge should not be expected to be earned without preparation and work


1. Safety. Do the following:

a. Show your counselor your current, up-to-date Cyber Chip

Scouts should make every effort to complete this requirement component prior to the class.  There are two different levels (grades 6 through 8 and grades 9 through 12) and it will be difficult to cover all requirements for class participants.  One requirement in earning the Cyber Chip for both levels is:

Write and sign a personalized contract with your parent or guardian that outlines rules for using the computer and mobile devices, including what you can download, what you can post, and consequences for inappropriate use

This requirement can NOT be done in the class and must be done prior to the class.  Scouts needing to complete the Cyber Chip MUST bring this document to the class for review by the merit badge counselor.  Failing to do so will result in not being able to receive your Cyber Chip. 

It should also be noted that Scouts not having done some or most of the Cyber Chip requirements, and able to show to the satisfaction of the counselor, will not be able to complete this part of requirement 1.  While it is not required to have the Cyber Chip completed or earned to work on other requirements for this merit badge, you will not be able to complete the merit badge without satisfactory completion of earning your Cyber Chip.

As noted, time will be allotted if needed to help fulfill requirement for the Cyber Chip, but will ony be offered to the extent of time allotted for the class and working on the other requirements for the merit badge.

Scouts are encouraged to to go online (with your parent's approval) and utilize the Cyber Chip Resources provide by the BSA to help prepare for and complete the necessary requirements.  Bring your work and proof there of, to class to receive your Cyber Chip card.  Here is a link to help you get all the resources necessary for completing your Cyber Chip:  http://www.scouting.org/cyberchip.aspx

b. Discuss first aid and prevention for the types of injuries or illnesses that could occur during programming activities, including repetitive stress injuries and eyestrain

Scouts should review this requirement and its components and be prepared to discuss, demonstrate, explain, and show as necessary their first aid knowledge and proficiency as it applies to this merit badge as well as the ability to identify hazards likely to be encountered in programming activities.


2. History. Do the following:

a. Give a brief history of programming, including at least three milestones related to the advancement or development of programming

b. Describe the evolution of programming methods and how they have improved over time

Scouts will find the use of the merit badge pamphlet to be extremely helpful in preparing for the components of this requirement.  It is strongly recommended that Scouts utilize a merit badge workbook to help organize their notes and findings for reference during class discussion on this requirement and it's components.  Active participation in the class discussion is necessary for consideration in being signed off on this requirement.


3. General knowledge. Do the following:

a. Create a list of 10 popular programming languages in use today and describe which industry or industries they are primarily used in and why

b. Describe three different programmed devices you rely on every day

Scouts should prepare notes as they compile their lists and findings as they ready themselves for review of this requirement during the class.  Only Scouts that can show they have put effort into preparing for this requirement will be considered for sign off on this requirement.  It is not acceptable to attend the class and be fed this information and expect to be signed off.  If it is evident that an attending Scout has not prepared a list and/or is unable to clearly describe some different programmed devices will find it difficult to compete this requirement during the class.


4. Intellectual property. Do the following:

a. Explain how software patents and copyrights protect a programmer

b. Describe the difference between licensing and owning software

c. Describe the differences between freeware, open source, and commercial software, and why it is important to respect the terms of use of each

Scouts need to review the merit badge pamphlet for requirement 4. All information needed to complete these parts of Requirement 4 can be found in the merit badge pamphlet. It is recommended to make notes on your findings for referencing when sharing your knowledge during the class.  Only Scouts who actively participate in the class discussion on these requirement components AND can satisfy the counselor of their understanding on each of these, will be signed off on this requirement or any of it's components.


5. Projects. Do the following:

a. With your counselorís approval, choose a sample program. Then, as a minimum, modify the code or add a function or subprogram to it. Debug and demonstrate the modified program to your counselor

b. With your counselorís approval, choose a second programming language and development environment, different from those used for requirement 5a and in a different industry from 5a. Then write, debug, and demonstrate a functioning program to your counselor, using that language and environment

c. With your counselorís approval, choose a third programming language and development environment, different from those used for requirements 5a and 5b and in a different industry from 5a or 5b. Then write, debug, and demonstrate a functioning program to your counselor, using that language and environment

d. Explain how the programs you wrote for requirements 5a, 5b, and 5c process inputs, how they make decisions based on those inputs, and how they provide outputs based on the decision making

Scouts should do as much work on requirement 5 as possible.  To ensure acceptance of the counselor approved programming options, it is recommended to start with the resources provided by the BSA at the following link:

The Programming merit badge website, http://www.boyslife.org/programming, has a number of sample programs that you could use for requirement 5a. However, you have the option of finding a program on your own. It's a good idea to seek your merit badge counselor's guidance.

Time will be allotted during the class to work on this requirement, however there is no guarantee that a Scouts will or will not be able to complete this requirement in the time allotted.  This requirement is a skill based requirement and requires a comprehension level that not all Scouts may be able to achieve in order to complete the components of this requirement.  The highest success rate will come to those that have been able to do preparation work prior to the class.


6. Careers. Find out about three career opportunities in programming. Pick one and find out the education, training, and experience required. Discuss this with your counselor and explain why this career might be of interest to you

Scouts should review this requirement and its components and be prepared to discuss.  It is strongly recommended that Scouts bring any notes or supporting documents they may have to help show the counselor that they have prepared for completion of this requirement.


this page last reviewed and updated - February 2016