Down and Dirty Cub Scout Nova Award

Down and Dirty Cub Scout Nova Award (Earth Science) Helps and Documents

Cub Scout Nova Emblem

The Cub Scout Down and Dirty Nova award is all about exploring the world of earth science in a practical and engaging way. This module is designed to help young scouts understand how earth science impacts their daily lives.

Cub Scouts can gain valuable knowledge and skills by pursuing the Down and Dirty Nova award. Firstly, they’ll develop a keen sense of curiosity and critical thinking. Watching documentaries, reading about earth science, or conducting experiments will spark their interest and encourage them to ask questions about the world around them. Learning to ask questions and seek answers is a fundamental skill that can serve them well throughout their lives.

Additionally, this award fosters an appreciation for the natural world. Scouts will discover how Earth’s processes, like volcanoes and weather patterns, shape our environment. This understanding can lead to a greater respect for nature and a desire to protect it. They’ll also gain insight into how humans impact the environment, encouraging a sense of responsibility and stewardship.

Hands-on activities, such as building volcano models or creating weather instruments, provide practical skills and promote teamwork. Scouts will learn to follow instructions, work together with their den or family, and practice safety precautions during experiments.

The Cub Scout Down and Dirty Nova award is a practical and educational journey into the world of earth science. It encourages scouts to ask questions, explore various topics, and develop a deeper understanding of our planet’s processes and their impact on our daily lives.

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Answers and Helps

Where Can I Find the Answers for the Down and Dirty Cub Scout Nova Award?

Find specific helps for the Down and Dirty Cub Scout Nova Award requirements listed on this page. Some of these resources will just give example answers. Others will provide background information to help you understand the questions.

Down and Dirty Cub Scout Nova Award Requirement 1: Watch or Read

Choose A or B or C and complete ALL the requirements:

A. Watch an episode or episodes (about one hour total) of a show about Earth, the weather, geology, volcanoes, or oceanography. Then do the following:
Make a list of at least two questions or ideas from what you watched.
Discuss two of the questions or ideas with your counselor.

B. Read (about one hour total) about Earth, the weather, geology, volcanoes, or oceanography. Then do the following:
Make a list of at least two questions or ideas from what you watched.
Discuss two of the questions or ideas with your counselor.

C. Do a combination of reading and watching (about one hour total) about Earth, the weather, geology, volcanoes, or oceanography. Then do the following:
Make a list of at least two questions or ideas from what you read and watched.
Discuss two of the questions or ideas with your counselor.

Down and Dirty Cub Scout Nova Award Requirement 1 Helps and Answers

Down and Dirty Cub Scout Nova Award Requirement 2: Adventure or Activity

Complete ONE adventure from the following list for your current rank or complete option A or B. (If you choose an Adventure, choose one you have not already earned.) Discuss with your counselor what kind of science, technology, engineering, and math was used in the adventure or option.

Digging in the Past (Wolf)
Super Science (Bear)
Earth Rocks! (Webelos)

Option A: Complete two of the following. (a) Explain to your den or an adult what geology means. (b) Collect samples of igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic rocks and explain how each was formed. (c) Collect samples of three minerals. Explain to your family or den what a mineral is and show and tell about the minerals you collected. (d) With your family or den, make a mineral test kit, and test minerals according to the Mohs scale of mineral hardness. Record the results.

Option B: Complete one of the following: (a) Make a fossil cast. (b) Make a dinosaur dig. Be a paleontologist and dig through a dinosaur dig made by another member of your den. Show and explain.

Down and Dirty Cub Scout Nova Award Requirement 2 Helps and Answers

Wolf Digging in the Past Cub Scout Helps and Ideas

Digging in the Past

The Down and Dirty Nova award complements the Digging in the Past requirements for Wolf Cub Scouts in an exciting way. While Digging in the Past focuses on understanding geology and the Earth’s history, the Nova award broadens the horizon by encouraging Scouts to explore various aspects of earth science. By watching documentaries about the Earth’s processes, reading about geology and volcanoes, or even building volcano models, Scouts can gain a deeper appreciation for the Earth’s ancient history and the forces that have shaped it over time. This combination of activities helps Scouts delve deeper into the world of earth science, making their exploration of the past even more engaging and educational.

Bear Super Science Cub Scout Helps and Ideas

Super Science

The Bear Cub Scouts’ Super Science adventure and the Down and Dirty Nova award offer valuable opportunities for young scouts to explore different aspects of science. While Super Science emphasizes hands-on experiments and scientific principles, the Down and Dirty Nova award focuses on earth science topics like geology and volcanoes. Scouts can draw connections between the two by considering how the earth’s geological processes, such as rock formation, tie into broader scientific concepts. Engaging with both adventures provides a well-rounded experience in science education, allowing scouts to connect the dots between fundamental scientific principles and their practical applications in understanding the Earth’s dynamic processes.

Webelos AOL Earth Rocks adventure Cub Scout Helps and Ideas

Earth Rocks!

The Webelos Earth Rocks! adventure and the Down and Dirty Nova award share a common thread of exploring geology and earth science. Earth Rocks! delves into the world of rocks and minerals, teaching Scouts to identify and understand the formation of various types of rocks. This directly aligns with the Down and Dirty Nova award’s objectives to explore topics like geology. Scouts can draw parallels between the two by using their knowledge gained from Earth Rocks! to fulfill requirements within the Down and Dirty Nova award, especially in understanding the processes that shape our planet, like volcanoes and the rock cycle. These adventures together offer a comprehensive exploration of earth science, enhancing Scouts’ understanding of the Earth’s geological wonders.

About Geology and Minerals for Down and Dirty Requirement 2A

What is geology?

Geology is like being a detective for the Earth. It’s all about studying rocks, dirt, and the ground to figure out how they were made and how they change over time. Geologists explore mountains, caves, and even look at the soil in our gardens. They try to understand the story of the Earth’s surface, like how mountains were formed or why some rocks are smooth while others are bumpy. It’s like reading a book about the Earth’s history, but instead of pages, they use rocks and dirt to learn about the amazing story of our planet. So, geology is like being a super Earth detective!

What is a mineral?

A mineral is like a tiny, special rock. It’s a natural thing that comes from the Earth, and it’s made up of just one kind of material. Imagine you have a box of colorful crayons, and you pick out one crayon, like a red one. That crayon is like a mineral because it’s made of only red crayon stuff.

Minerals can be all sorts of colors, shapes, and sizes. Some are shiny like gold, while others are dull like regular rocks. People like to find minerals because they’re pretty and sometimes useful, like when we use them to make jewelry or even in our everyday things like phones and computers. So, minerals are like Earth’s special treasures that we can find and enjoy!

Mineral Testing for Down and Dirty Requirement 2A

Making and using a mineral test kit for the Mohs scale for Down and Dirty can be fun and helpful! Here’s how you can do it in simple terms:

Step 1: Gather Your Materials
To make your mineral test kit, you’ll need some things:

  • A few common minerals like a nail (for hardness 2.5), a penny (for hardness 3), a paperclip (for hardness 5.5), and a piece of glass (for hardness 6.5).
  • A soft surface, like an old tile or a piece of unglazed ceramic tile.
  • A piece of white porcelain, like a tile or a plate.

Step 2: Start Testing
Now that you have your materials ready, it’s time to test the hardness of minerals.

  1. Take the mineral you want to test. Let’s say it’s a rock.
  2. Start with the softest object, which is the nail. Gently scratch the rock’s surface with the nail. Does it leave a mark?
  3. If the nail doesn’t scratch it, try the penny. Does that make a mark?
  4. Keep going with the paperclip and then the glass.
  5. Each time, check if the mineral gets scratched. If it does, that tells you its hardness on the Mohs scale.

Step 3: Record Your Findings
Remember to write down what you discover. For example, if the rock gets scratched by the nail but not by the penny, you know it’s harder than 2.5 but not as hard as 3 on the Mohs scale.

By doing these tests with different objects, you can figure out how hard or soft a mineral is compared to the items in your test kit.

This helps scientists and rock enthusiasts identify minerals and understand their properties. It’s like solving a mystery about rocks and minerals!

Make a Fossil Cast for Down and Dirty Requirement 2B

Making a fossil cast for Down and Dirty can be exciting and fun! Here’s how you can do it in simple terms:

Step 1: Find Something to Make a Fossil Of
Start by picking something you want to make a fossil of. It could be a small toy dinosaur, a seashell, or even a leaf.

Step 2: Make a Shape in Playdough or Clay
Next, take some playdough or clay and flatten it out on a plate or a tray. Press your toy or object into the playdough gently to make a shape, like a footprint or the outline of your object.

Step 3: Remove the Object
Carefully take your toy or object out of the playdough. Now, you’ll see a space that looks like a fossil!

Step 4: Mix Plaster
Ask a grown-up to help you mix some plaster. Plaster is like a powdery material that turns hard when it dries. Follow the instructions on the plaster package.

Step 5: Pour the Plaster
Pour the plaster into the space you made in the playdough. Make sure it fills the space nicely.

Step 6: Wait for It to Dry
Let the plaster sit and dry. It might take a few hours or even a day.

Step 7: Reveal Your Fossil
Once it’s completely dry, carefully peel away the playdough. You’ll see your fossil cast!

Now you have your very own fossil cast. It’s like a snapshot of something from a long time ago. Fossils help scientists learn about creatures that lived on Earth a very, very long time ago. Isn’t that cool? You’ve just become a junior paleontologist!

Make a Dinosaur Dig for Down and Dirty Requirement 2B

Creating a dinosaur dig for Down and Dirty can be a lot of fun! Here’s how to do it in simple terms:

Step 1: Gather Your Supplies
First, you’ll need some things to make your dinosaur dig exciting. Get a big container like a plastic bin or a sandbox. You’ll also need sand or dirt to fill the container.

Step 2: Find Some “Dinosaur Bones”
Now, let’s make your own “dinosaur bones.” You can use old chicken or turkey bones, or even just sticks and twigs. Make sure they’re clean and dry.

Step 3: Bury the “Bones”
Take your “dinosaur bones” and bury them in the sand or dirt in your container. Pretend you’re hiding real dinosaur fossils!

Step 4: Start Digging
With some small shovels or even spoons, have a friend start digging in your container to find the buried “dinosaur bones.” Be gentle, just like real paleontologists. They can also use brushes or paintbrushes to carefully clean the bones as you uncover them.

Step 5: Discover Your Dinosaur
As they find the bones, help your friend put them together like a puzzle to look like an animal skeleton. You and your friend will soon have your very own dinosaur!

This is just pretend, but it’s a great way to learn about how real scientists find and assemble dinosaur fossils. Have fun exploring your dinosaur dig site!

Down and Dirty Cub Scout Nova Award Requirement 3: Investigation

Investigate: Choose A or B or C or D and complete ALL the requirements:

A. Volcanoes erupt
1. How are volcanoes formed?
2. What is the difference between lava and magma?
3. How does a volcano both build and destroy land?
4. Build or draw a volcano model. If you build a working model, make sure you follow all safety precautions including wearing protective glasses for your volcano’s eruption. If you draw a volcano, be sure to draw a cross section and explain the characteristics of different types of volcanoes.
5. Share your model and what you have learned with your counselor.

B. Rock on
1. What minerals are common in your state? Make a collection of three to five common minerals and explain how they are used.
2. Are these minerals found in sedimentary, igneous, or metamorphic rocks?
3. Explain or demonstrate the difference in formation of the three major types of rocks. Which types of rocks are common in your area?
4. Share your collection and what you have learned with your counselor.

C. Weather changes our world
1. Make three weather instruments out of materials around your home. (Examples include a rain gauge, weathervane, barometer, anemometer, and weather journal.) Use these and another method that is readily available (i.e., thermometer, eyes, older person’s joints, etc.) for a total of four methods to monitor and predict the weather for one week. Keep a log of your findings. Which instrument provided the most accurate information?
2. Keep a weather journal for a week. Include your predictions and the predictions of a local meteorologist. Do your predictions match those of the local meteorologist? Do your predictions match the weather that occurred? How can the predictions become more accurate?
3. Discuss your work with your counselor.

D. Animal habitats: Choose TWO of the following animal habitats and complete the activity and questions. At least one habitat should be close to your home (within 50 miles). Visit at least one of the habitats. Once you have completed the activity and questions, discuss the habitats and the activities with your counselor:

D1. Prairie
Draw or model a food web with at least five consumers and two producers that live in the prairie habitat. What is the difference between consumers and producers? Predators and prey? What would happen if one of the animals in the food web disappeared?

D2. Temperate forest
Research the two main categories of trees in the temperate forest (coniferous and deciduous). Why are their leaves different? How are their seeds different? Put a twig from a coniferous tree (cone-bearing tree with needles) in a cup of water and tightly fasten a clear plastic bag around the needles. Put a twig from a deciduous tree (leafy tree that loses its leaves in the fall) in a cup of water and tightly fasten a clear plastic bag around the leaves. Observe what happens and draw pictures of your observations. Think of an explanation for what occurred and discuss your explanation with your counselor.

D3. Aquatic ecosystem
With a parent’s permission and guidance, visit an aquatic habitat near your home. Examples include a stream, river, lake, pond, ocean, and wetland (a marsh or swamp). Draw or photograph the area. What are the most common types of plants growing there? What animals did you see? Did you see, hear, or smell any evidence of other animals? (Your evidence might include things like bird calls, splashes of fish or frogs jumping, tracks, feathers, or bones.) How do aquatic ecosystems affect your life? How have humans affected the ecosystem? (Look for signs of humans such as trash and bridges or walkways.) How do you think humans have affected the ecosystem in ways you cannot see? (Think about fertilizer and pesticides washing off your lawn and flowing into a stream. How would this affect creatures that live in the water?) What can you do to improve the quality of the ecosystem?

D4. Temperate or subtropical rain forest
Describe the three main levels of the rain forest (canopy, understory, and forest floor). Make a drawing or model showing examples of animals and plants that live at each level. Choose an animal or plant from each level and explain how it is adapted to its particular place in the rain forest.

D5. Desert
Choose a desert animal or plant. Make a model of it, draw it, or describe it. Explain how it is particularly well adapted to survive in a place where there is very little water. How would the desert be different if this plant or animal were not there?

D6. Polar ice
Research an animal that can be found in the polar ice habitat. Draw or make a model of the animal and name three characteristics that make it well adapted for life in the very cold and snowy environment.

D7. Tide pools
Explain how a tide pool is formed and describe several animals that are found in tide pools. Make a model or draw a diagram of a tide pool at a high intertidal zone and a low intertidal zone. Include animals found in tide pools and explain how they adapt to their constantly changing environment.

Down and Dirty Cub Scout Nova Award Requirement 3 Helps and Answers

About Volcanoes for Down and Dirty Requirement 3A

How are Volcanoes Formed? Volcanoes are like nature’s pressure cookers. Deep inside the Earth, there’s something called magma, which is super hot melted rock. When this magma pushes up through the Earth’s crust, it can’t always find an easy way out. So, it starts to build up pressure. Eventually, this pressure gets so strong that it forces its way out through a crack or a hole in the Earth’s surface, and that’s when we see a volcano! It’s like a mountain that can spit out hot rocks, ash, and even lava.

What is the Difference Between Lava and Magma? Lava and magma are kinda like twins, but one is inside the Earth, and the other is outside. Magma is the melted rock inside the Earth. When it comes out and flows on the Earth’s surface, we call it lava. So, magma is the name for the hot stuff below, and lava is what it’s called when it comes out and makes fiery rivers down a volcano.

How Does a Volcano Both Build and Destroy Land? Volcanoes are amazing because they can do two things at once. First, they build land. When lava flows out of a volcano and cools down, it turns into solid rock. Over time, this rock can pile up and create new land, like islands. But here’s the twist: volcanoes can also destroy land. When they erupt, they can shoot out hot ash, rocks, and lava, which can damage or bury everything in their path. So, volcanoes are like nature’s builders and bulldozers, shaping the Earth in their own way.

Making a Volcano Model for Down and Dirty Requirement 3A

Here are some tips for building or drawing a volcano model for Down and Dirty requirement 3a:

Building a Volcano Model:

  1. Materials: Gather materials like clay, paper mache, or even a toy volcano kit from a store. You’ll also need paints or markers to decorate it.
  2. Safety: If you build a working model, like one that erupts, be sure to ask a grown-up for help. Wear safety glasses to protect your eyes.
  3. Shape: Mold your material into the shape of a volcano. Volcanoes can look different, but they often have a cone shape with a crater at the top.
  4. Paint or Decorate: Use paints or markers to make your volcano look like a real one. You can make it brown, gray, or even colorful if you like.
  5. Eruption: If you want to make it erupt, ask a grown-up for help with this part. You can use baking soda and vinegar to create a lava eruption. Put some baking soda inside the volcano, then pour vinegar in, and watch it bubble up like lava!

Drawing a Volcano Model:

  1. Materials: Get a piece of paper, colored pencils, or crayons.
  2. Cross Section: Draw a volcano, but make sure to draw it in a way that we can see inside. Imagine cutting it in half, so we can see the layers inside.
  3. Characteristics: In your drawing, explain the different parts of a volcano. You can show the magma chamber inside, the crater at the top, and the layers of rock.
  4. Label: If you like, add labels to your drawing to show the parts of the volcano, like the ash cloud, lava flow, and the top where the eruption happens.

Remember, whether you build or draw your volcano, have fun and learn about how these amazing natural wonders work!

Rock On for Down and Dirty Requirement 3B

Here are some tips for Down and Dirty requirement 3b:

Finding Common Minerals:

  • Ask Grown-Ups: Talk to adults or do some research to find out which minerals are common in your state. They might know or can help you look it up.
  • Collect Minerals: Once you know the common minerals, try to find them. You can look in your yard, at parks, or even visit a science museum to see if they have examples.
  • Explain Uses: For each mineral you collect, think about how it’s used. Some minerals are in things like jewelry, pencils, or even in the ground for plants to grow better. Write down what you find.

Types of Rocks:

  • Sedimentary Rocks: Imagine layers of stuff, like sand, mud, and tiny rocks, piling up on top of each other over a very long time, like a stack of pancakes. These layers press down and stick together. So, sedimentary rocks are like those stacked pancakes made from all the stuff that got squished and stuck together over the years.
  • Igneous Rocks: Think about super-hot melted rock deep underground. When it cools down, it becomes hard rock. It’s like making ice cubes out of hot water. So, igneous rocks are like frozen lava or melted rock that cooled and turned into hard rock.
  • Metamorphic Rocks: Picture rocks deep in the Earth’s crust getting squished and heated up a lot. It’s like a rock makeover! They change and become new rocks with different patterns and colors. So, metamorphic rocks are like rocks that went through a big makeover in the Earth’s kitchen.

By following these tips, you can discover the common minerals in your state, understand how they’re used, and learn about the types of rocks they’re found in. It’s like becoming a mini geologist!

Making Weather Instruments for Down and Dirty Requirement 3C

Making weather instruments from stuff at home can be a fun science project! Here’s how to do it:

Rain Gauge:

  1. Find an empty, clear bottle or a jar.
  2. Make a ruler using a strip of paper or a ruler itself. Tape it to the bottle so you can measure the rain.
  3. Put the bottle outside where it won’t get knocked over. When it rains, the water will go inside, and you can measure how much.


  1. Find a straw, a pencil, or a stick.
  2. Attach a small piece of paper or a cut-out shape like an arrow at one end.
  3. Stick the other end into the ground or a base, like clay or playdough. Make sure it can spin freely.
  4. When the wind blows, your weathervane will point in the direction the wind is coming from.


  1. Take a clear glass or a plastic bottle and fill it about a third full with water.
  2. Stretch a balloon over the top and secure it with a rubber band.
  3. Draw a scale with numbers on a piece of paper and tape it near the bottle.
  4. When the air pressure changes, the balloon will expand or shrink, showing you if the weather is changing.


  1. Find four small cups or paper cups.
  2. Attach the cups to the ends of sticks or straws, like a pinwheel.
  3. Stick the other ends into a small cardboard or plastic plate.
  4. When the wind blows, your anemometer will spin, and you can count how fast it goes to measure wind speed.

Remember, these instruments help you learn about the weather, and it’s like becoming a mini weather scientist right at home!

Monitoring the Weather for Down and Dirty Requirement 3C

Keeping a weather journal and comparing it to a meteorologist’s predictions and the actual weather can be fun and educational.

Tips for Keeping a Weather Journal:

  • Get a notebook or some paper to write on.
  • Every day, write down what the weather is like. Is it sunny, cloudy, rainy, or windy?
  • Measure the temperature using a thermometer if you have one. Write down how warm or cool it is.
  • Observe the sky. Is it clear or filled with clouds? Draw what you see.
  • Note if you feel any rain or snow and how much.
  • Write down any special things you notice, like a rainbow or a really strong wind.

Comparing with Meteorologist’s Predictions:

  • Listen to the weather forecast on TV or the radio or check it online.
  • Write down what the meteorologist predicts for the day. Do they say it will be sunny, rainy, or something else?
  • Compare their prediction to what you observe. See if it matches or if it’s a bit different.

Comparing with Actual Weather:

  • After a week, look back at your weather journal.
  • Compare what you wrote to what the meteorologist predicted.
  • Ask yourself: Was the meteorologist right, or did they make a mistake?

Determining Accuracy:

  • To find out which was most accurate, look at your journal and see if it matches the meteorologist’s prediction or the actual weather.
  • If your journal matches the actual weather more often, then you were the most accurate weather forecaster!

Remember, keeping a weather journal is a cool way to learn about the weather, and you can become a mini meteorologist by making your predictions!

Prairie Food Web for Down and Dirty Requirement 3D

Creating a prairie food web is a cool way to understand how animals depend on each other for food. Let’s do it step by step:

1. Draw or Model the Prairie Food Web:

  • Start with two producers. These are plants, like grass and wildflowers, that make their food from sunlight.
  • Next, add at least five consumers. These are animals that eat plants or other animals. In the prairie, you might have rabbits, deer, prairie dogs, hawks, and snakes.
  • Draw arrows to show who eats whom. For example, the hawk eats the snake, the snake eats the prairie dog, and so on.

2. Understanding the Terms:

  • Producers: These are like the prairie’s chefs. They make their food (energy) from sunlight, and animals eat them to get energy.
  • Consumers: These are the hungry animals that can’t make their food. They eat plants (producers) or other animals (other consumers) to get their energy.
  • Predators: These are the hunters, like hawks and snakes, who catch and eat other animals.
  • Prey: These are the animals that get caught and eaten by predators, like prairie dogs and rabbits.

3. What If an Animal Disappeared?

  • Imagine if hawks disappeared from the prairie food web. Since hawks eat snakes, the snake population might grow because there’s no one hunting them. That might make the prairie’s prey animals, like prairie dogs and rabbits, have a tough time because more snakes are around to eat them.
  • So, if one animal disappears, it can affect the whole food web. It’s like taking a piece out of a puzzle; the whole picture changes.

Now you’ve created a prairie food web and understand how all the animals rely on each other for survival. Great job!

Trees in the Temperate Forest for Down and Dirty Requirement 3D

In the temperate forest, there are two main types of trees: coniferous and deciduous.

Why Their Leaves Are Different:

  • Coniferous trees have leaves shaped like needles, which helps them save water in dry conditions. These needle-like leaves are well-suited for colder seasons and drier climates.
  • Deciduous trees have wide, flat leaves. They lose their leaves in the fall to conserve water during the winter when it’s harder to find. This shedding of leaves helps them survive the cold.

How Their Seeds Are Different:

  • Coniferous trees have seeds in cones. These cones protect the seeds and keep them safe until they’re ready to grow.
  • Deciduous trees have seeds in fruit, like apples or acorns. Animals often eat these fruits and help spread the seeds to new places.

Now, let’s see what happens when we put twigs from each type of tree in water with a plastic bag around them:

  • The coniferous twig with needles doesn’t change much. The needles stay on, and the bag doesn’t get much moisture inside. That’s because coniferous trees don’t lose their leaves (needles) like deciduous trees.
  • The deciduous twig with leaves is different. Over time, you might see some water droplets inside the bag. This happens because the leaves “breathe” and release water vapor. When they’re in the bag, the water vapor collects on the inside.

So, these experiments show how coniferous and deciduous trees have different leaves and deal with water in distinct ways. It’s all part of how they adapt to their environment!

Aquatic Ecosystems and Humans for Down and Dirty Requirement 3D

Aquatic ecosystems, like rivers, lakes, and oceans, have a big impact on our lives. Here’s how:

How Aquatic Ecosystems Affect Your Life:

  • These water habitats provide us with clean drinking water, fish to eat, and beautiful places to relax and enjoy.
  • Aquatic ecosystems also help control the Earth’s temperature by absorbing heat and distributing it.

How Humans Have Affected the Ecosystem:

  • Sadly, humans have sometimes harmed aquatic ecosystems. We’ve thrown trash into the water, built bridges and walkways that can disrupt the natural flow, and polluted the water with chemicals.
  • Some things we do on land can also hurt the water. For example, when we use too much fertilizer and pesticides on our lawns, they can wash into the water and harm the creatures living there.

Ways Humans Affect the Ecosystem You Can’t See:

  • When chemicals from our lawns wash into the water, they can make it hard for fish and other creatures to survive. This pollution can also affect the water’s quality in ways we can’t see.

What You Can Do to Help:

  • You can be a part of the solution. Avoid littering and always dispose of trash properly.
  • Be careful with chemicals on your lawn, and don’t use too much. It’s important to follow the instructions on the packages.
  • You can also participate in clean-up events to help keep aquatic ecosystems clean and healthy.
  • Learn more about the creatures that live in these ecosystems and share your knowledge with others.

By taking care of our aquatic ecosystems, we can ensure they remain beautiful, provide clean water, and support the creatures that call them home.

Temperate or Subtropical Rain Forest Levels for Down and Dirty Requirement 3D

In the temperate or subtropical rainforest, there are three main levels: the canopy, the understory, and the forest floor.

  • Canopy: This is the very top layer, like a green roof. It’s where you find the tall trees with lots of leaves and branches. Birds, monkeys, and sloths live here because they can swing and jump between the branches. They’re adapted with strong limbs and good climbing skills. You can make a drawing or model of birds with strong beaks and monkeys with long tails for this level.
  • Understory: Below the canopy is the understory. It’s not as sunny here, so you find plants that are adapted to lower light. Jaguars and boa constrictors might live in this level, and they’re good at hiding in the shadows. For your drawing or model, you can show jaguars with spots and boa constrictors coiled around tree branches.
  • Forest Floor: This is the lowest level, right on the ground. You’ll find insects, fungi, and leafcutter ants here. These ants carry big leaves to their nests. They are adapted with strong jaws to cut leaves and strong legs to carry them. Draw or make a model of leafcutter ants with big jaws and leaves.

By making drawings or models of animals and plants at each level and explaining their adaptations, you’ll understand how the rainforest is like a big apartment building with different homes for different creatures!

Desert Dwellers for Down and Dirty Requirement 3D

Desert animals are amazing because they’re perfectly adapted to live where there’s very little water. Here’s how they do it:

  • Water-Saving Skills: Desert animals are experts at conserving water. They drink very little and get moisture from their food.
    • Camels: Camels are famous for their humps, which store water for them to use in dry times.
    • Kangaroo Rats: These small rodents can survive without drinking water, getting moisture from their food, like seeds.
  • No Sweat: Many desert animals don’t sweat like we do because sweating would make them lose precious water. Instead, they stay cool by hiding in burrows during the day and coming out at night when it’s cooler.
    • Fennec Foxes: These foxes have large ears that help dissipate heat and keep them cool.
    • Spiny-tailed Lizards: They can burrow to escape the sun’s heat during the day and come out at night.
  • Heat Tolerance: Desert animals can handle scorching temperatures. They have special body features like large ears or heat-resistant skin to cope with the heat.
    • Gila Monsters: These desert reptiles have thick, heat-resistant skin that helps them endure high temperatures.
    • Desert Tortoises: Their tough shells provide protection from both predators and the harsh desert sun.
  • Blending In: To avoid predators and save energy, desert animals often have colors and patterns that help them blend into the sand and rocks.
    • Desert Horned Lizards: These lizards have a spiky appearance that helps them blend into the sandy desert landscape.
    • Desert Snakes: Some snakes, like the sidewinder rattlesnake, have a pattern that camouflages them among rocks and sand.

If desert animals weren’t there, the desert would be very different. They play important roles in the ecosystem.

  • Without camels, desert nomadic communities would lose a crucial source of transportation and milk.
  • The absence of kangaroo rats would impact the dispersion of desert plant seeds, affecting the plant population.
  • The desert food chain would be disrupted without fennec foxes, which are predators that help control rodent populations.
  • Spiny-tailed lizards play a role in insect control and serve as prey for other animals. Their absence could lead to imbalances in the ecosystem.
  • The loss of Gila monsters would affect the balance of the desert food web since they are both predators and scavengers.
  • Desert tortoises are essential for spreading seeds, and their burrows provide shelter for other animals. Without them, plant growth and animal populations could decline.
  • Without desert horned lizards and desert snakes, their prey populations might increase unchecked, affecting plant life due to overgrazing.

So, these creatures are like superheroes in the desert, keeping everything in balance.

Life in the Polar Ice for Down and Dirty Requirement 3D

In the polar ice habitat, you can find a variety of amazing animals that are well adapted to the extremely cold and snowy environment. Here are some examples along with their characteristics:

1. Polar Bear:

  • Thick Layer of Blubber: Polar bears possess a substantial layer of blubber beneath their skin, serving as insulation against the cold and aiding buoyancy in water.
  • White Fur: Their fur is snowy white, acting as camouflage amid the icy surroundings and making it easier for them to stalk seals.
  • Webbed Paws: Polar bears have webbed paws, enabling efficient swimming in frigid seas.

2. Arctic Fox:

  • Dense Fur Coat: Arctic foxes are cloaked in a thick fur coat that changes color with the seasons, providing insulation and effective camouflage.
  • Warm Dens: They construct underground dens that provide shelter from the extreme cold and harsh weather conditions.
  • Exceptional Hearing: Arctic foxes have keen hearing, allowing them to detect prey movements beneath the snow.

3. Emperor Penguin:

  • Waterproof Feathers: Emperor penguins boast waterproof feathers that keep them dry while diving and swimming in icy waters.
  • Huddling Behavior: They gather in large groups and huddle together, conserving body heat and ensuring survival during freezing temperatures.
  • Brood Pouch: Male emperor penguins have a special brood pouch to keep their chick warm and protected.

4. Weddell Seal:

  • Blubber Layer: Weddell seals have a thick blubber layer, providing insulation against the cold and serving as an energy reserve.
  • Specialized Blood Flow: They possess unique adaptations in their circulatory system, which prevents their extremities from freezing in icy waters.
  • Unique Breathing Hole: Weddell seals maintain breathing holes in the ice to access air while keeping the rest of their body submerged.

5. Snowy Owl:

  • Insulated Feathers: Snowy owls are adorned with insulating feathers, which help maintain warmth in freezing temperatures.
  • Keen Eyesight: Their exceptional vision aids in locating prey against the snowy landscape.
  • Silent Flight: Snowy owls possess specialized wing feathers that allow them to fly almost silently, making it easier to hunt.

6. Arctic Hare:

  • Dense Fur: Arctic hares are covered in thick fur, providing insulation and camouflage in snowy environments.
  • Large Feet: Their large, snowshoe-like feet enable them to move easily across deep snow.
  • Seasonal Color Change: Arctic hares change fur color from white in winter to brownish-gray in summer, adapting to seasonal surroundings.

These animals have evolved remarkable adaptations to thrive in one of the harshest environments on Earth, showcasing the wonders of nature’s resilience.

Teeming Tide Pools for Down and Dirty Requirement 3D

Tide pools are fascinating coastal ecosystems formed by the rise and fall of tides. Here’s an explanation of how they are formed and some details about the animals found in high and low intertidal zones:

Formation of Tide Pools:

  • Tide pools are created when the ocean’s water recedes during low tide, leaving behind pockets of water in rocky or sandy areas along the shore.
  • These pools vary in size and depth, and they provide a unique habitat for various marine creatures.

Tide Pool at High Intertidal Zone:

  • The high intertidal zone is exposed during low tide and submerged during high tide. Animals here must adapt to frequent changes in water availability.
  • Common animals in this zone include barnacles, snails, and small crabs.
  • Barnacles attach themselves to rocks and create hard shells to protect against drying out when the tide is low.

Tide Pool at Low Intertidal Zone:

  • The low intertidal zone remains underwater even during low tide, experiencing less dramatic water level fluctuations.
  • Animals in this zone include sea anemones, sea stars, and larger crabs.
  • Sea stars use tube feet to move and attach to rocks, while sea anemones have specialized cells that help them survive both submerged and exposed conditions.

Adaptations to Changing Environment:

  • Many tide pool animals have developed mechanisms to cope with constantly changing conditions.
  • Some animals, like snails, have shells that seal tightly to prevent drying out.
  • Others, such as hermit crabs, carry mobile homes (empty shells) for protection and moisture retention.
  • Sea anemones can retract into crevices when exposed to air during low tide, preserving moisture and avoiding predators.

These tide pool inhabitants have evolved incredible adaptations to thrive in an ever-changing environment where the ocean meets the land, making tide pools remarkable ecosystems to explore and study.

Down and Dirty Cub Scout Nova Award Requirement 4: Visit

Visit. Choose A or B and complete ALL the requirements.

A. Visit a place where earth science is being done, used, explained, or investigated, such as one of the following: cave, quarry or mine, geology museum or the gem or geology section of a museum, gem and mineral show, university geology department, TV or radio station meteorology department, weather station, volcano or volcano research station, or any other location where earth science is being done, used, explained, or investigated.

A1. During your visit, talk to someone in charge about how people at the site use or investigate a particular area of science. How could this investigation make the world better?

A2. Discuss with your counselor the science being done, used, explained, or investigated at the place you visited.

B. Explore a career associated with earth science. Find out what subjects you would need to study as you get older. What kind of education would you need in the future to help explore Earth? What types of people other than geologists explore Earth? Discuss with your counselor what is needed to have a career in earth science.

Down and Dirty Cub Scout Nova Award Requirement 4 Helps and Answers

Careers in Earth Science

Here are some ideas to get you thinking for Down and Dirty requirement 4B:

  • Meteorologist: Meteorologists study the weather. They help us know if it will be sunny, rainy, or windy. They use special tools to make predictions.
  • Geologist: Geologists study rocks and the Earth’s surface. They help find valuable things like minerals and fossils. They also study how mountains and valleys are made.
  • Oceanographer: Oceanographers explore the oceans. They learn about sea creatures, underwater mountains, and how the ocean affects our weather.
  • Astronomer: Astronomers look at the stars and planets in the sky. They study space and how the Earth moves around the Sun.
  • Ecologist: Ecologists study how plants and animals live together in nature. They help protect the environment and the animals that live in it.
  • Volcanologist: Volcanologists study volcanoes. They learn how volcanoes work and help keep people safe from eruptions.
  • Seismologist: Seismologists study earthquakes. They use machines to measure ground shaking and help us understand why earthquakes happen.
  • Environmental Scientist: Environmental scientists help take care of our planet. They work to keep the air, water, and land clean and safe for everyone.
  • Paleontologist: Paleontologists are like dinosaur detectives. They find and study fossils to learn about creatures that lived a long time ago, like dinosaurs.
  • Hydrologist: Hydrologists study water. They look at how water moves in rivers, lakes, and underground. They help manage our water resources.

These careers are all about exploring and protecting our Earth, and they can be quite exciting and important jobs!

Down and Dirty Cub Scout Nova Award Requirement 5: Discuss

Discuss with your counselor how earth science affects your everyday life.

Down and Dirty Cub Scout Nova Award Requirement 5 Helps and Answers

Everyday Earth Science

Here are some ways Earth science affects our everyday life for Down and Dirty requirement 5:

  • Weather Forecast: Earth scientists help predict the weather, so we know if it will be sunny, rainy, or stormy. This helps us plan our day and dress appropriately.
  • Clean Water: Earth scientists work to keep our water clean. They make sure the water we drink and use for bathing is safe and healthy.
  • Natural Disasters: Earth scientists study earthquakes, volcanoes, and hurricanes to help keep us safe. They give warnings and advice on what to do during these events.
  • Landscapes: They study the Earth’s surface, like mountains and rivers. This knowledge helps us build roads, bridges, and houses in safe and useful ways.
  • Fossils: Earth scientists find and study fossils, which are like ancient clues about the past. They help us learn about prehistoric creatures and how our planet has changed over time.
  • Energy: They help us find sources of energy like oil, gas, and renewable energy from the sun and wind. This powers our homes, cars, and gadgets.
  • Climate Change: Earth scientists study climate and help us understand how human activities can affect the Earth’s climate. They work on ways to protect our planet.

So, science is all around us, making our lives better and more interesting every day!

Related Resources for Down and Dirty Cub Scout Nova Award for Earth Science

More about Down and Dirty and the Nova Awards Program (STEM Award)

The Down and Dirty Cub Scout Nova Award is an integral part of the broader Nova Awards Program, as highlighted on Scouter Mom’s website. This program aims to merge traditional Scouting skills with the principles of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). While the Nova Awards Program offers a diverse range of STEM topics, the Down and Dirty award specifically delves into earth science. Through activities, experiments, and field visits, Scouts immerse themselves in the wonders of our planet, exemplifying the Nova program’s objective of fostering both curiosity and hands-on learning in young minds.

Frequently Asked Questions about the Down and Dirty Cub Scout Nova Award for Earth Science

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