Know Nuclear

Girl Scouts Get to Know Nuclear Patch


The American Nuclear Society, working with the Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana Council, has established the Get to Know Nuclear patch, which can be earned by any Scout in the U.S. who meets the requirements.  The Get to Know Nuclear patch requirements focus on learning about nuclear science and technology through teamwork, and are flexible so scouts of all ages can Get to Know Nuclear!

ANS has established requirements for the Get to Know Nuclear Patch for the following Girl Scout levels:

See modifications below for Daisy and Brownie scouts.

Scouts must complete at least 5 of the 7 stations to receive the patch.

Patches can be ordered directly from the ANS Store (Item #750082).

Daisies/Brownies (grades K-3) – Basic concepts: 1 hour (at a scheduled meeting)

The Daisies/Brownies workshop should include the following basic concepts:

  • Atoms make up everything.
  • We can split atoms to make energy.
  • Atoms can also split without our help.
  • Splitting atoms releases radiation, a form of energy.
  • We live in a world full of natural and man-made radiation.
  • When used responsibly, radiation provides reliable, clean energy.
  • We use radiation in many other helpful ways: to date fossils, in growing our food, in medicine, and in industry.

It is recommended that troops work directly with an ANS Local or Student Section to organize a workshop for a group of girls, since many of the activities involve teamwork. However, modified activities are available for girls to complete the requirements on their own. If you have any questions about the patch or ANS’s requirements, please contact Janice Lindegard at (708) 579-8290 or by email:

Get to Know Nuclear

Prerequisite: Describe the basics of nuclear science.

Station A – Half-life / Do one of the following:

  1. m&mTM Half-Life Demonstration
  2. Licorice Activity
  3. Flip-Out (pennies)
  4. Half–Life of Paper

Station B –  Fission vs Fusion / Do one of the following:
Discuss how you use fission to make electricity. Discuss the how fusion is different.

  1. Balloon chain reaction (critical mass)
  2. Mouse trap reactor demonstration (long set up time, can only be done once)
  3. Dominoes chain reaction
  4. Fission balloons (energy release)
  5. Nuclear fusion (marshmallows)

Station C – Careers (Girls in Science) / Do one of the following:
Discuss at least 5 careers: job descriptions, required education and training.  Visit the Careers section on this site to learn more.  You can also interview nuclear professionals to discuss: what they do, why they chose their career path, and how they prepared for it.

  1. Dress up/role playing (team)
  1. Who run the World? Girls

ANS Careers brochure

Station D – Radiation and radioactivity are a natural part of our world / Do one of the following:

  1. Calculate your annual dose
  1. Detecting Radiation

Station E – Seeing the Unseen / Do one of the following:

  1. Build a cloud chamber
  2. Build an electroscope (ionization chamber)
  3. Radiation photographs

Station F – Modeling an Atom / Do one of the following:

  1. Rutherford Boards
  2. Modeling atoms (marshmallows)
  3. 3D Anatomy of an atom (cut-out)

Station G – Nuclear technology works / Do one of the following:  (Cadets/Seniors/Ambassadors Only)
Since it is difficult to organize  a plant tour on your own, scout troops are encouraged to coordinate tours with nuclear professionals through one of ANS’s Local or Student Sections. To locate and contact a section in your area, please visit the ANS website. If you are working with a facility for a tour, they may have restrictions on when the girls can tour.  This session can be moved to accommodate the facility.   If a tour is not possible, Cadettes/Seniors/Ambassadors can complete option #4.

  1. Visit a local nuclear power plant training facility
  1. Visit a local laboratory (national labs) or research reactor (universities).
  1.  Visit a hospital that uses nuclear techniques for diagnosis and treatment of diseases.
  1.  If a site visit is not available, discuss the various applications of nuclear technology (space, consumer products, industry, food, health/medicine, archaeology, power generation) and how they benefit your everyday life.


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