Earning the Patch

Get to Know Nuclear is earned by scouts working together. Many troops hold in-person workshops where troops earn the patch in a single day, but workshops don’t have to be in person! Workshops can be completed virtually or using a combined approach.

We’ve gathered the resources troops need to hold a patch event online or person-to-person. And we’re happy to connect you with an ANS member experienced in Get to Know Nuclear patch events to assist your troop. Just contact us at askanything@ans.org

The BSA offers a Nuclear Science Merit Badge, which was developed with assistance from American Nuclear Society members. The resources provided here may also be used in meeting some of the Nuclear Science Merit Badge requirements.


Requirements to earn Get to Know Nuclear focus on learning about nuclear science and technology through teamwork and engaging activities. While the requirements are most suitable for older scouts, they are also flexible, so scouts of all ages can get to know nuclear!

Atomic Structure

Discuss: What is the electromagnetic spectrum? What are atoms? How are they structured? What is the difference between an atom and an isotope? What makes an atom stable?

Learn about atomic structure and more

Radiation Basics PowerPoint (includes atomic structure)

Activities (do one)

Fission and Fusion

  • Discuss: What is fission? What is fusion? How are they different? How is fission used to make electricity? What are the advantages of using fusion for electricity production?
  • Learn about fission and fusion
  • Fission, Fusion and The Future PowerPoint
  • Activities (do one)
    • Model fission and fusion
    • Build or watch a mouse trap reactor
    • Calculate and contrast the energy release of fission and fusion
    • Explore naturally occurring fission and fusion reactions

Radiation and Radioactivity

Visualizing Radiation

Nuclear Technology Works

  • Discuss: How does nuclear technology benefit society? Choose one application for nuclear technology and explore how that technology benefits society. Possibilities include nuclear energy, medicine, industry, agriculture, space exploration, insect control, and more. Make sure to learn about career possibilities in the chosen field.
  • Learn about applications for nuclear science
  • Activity--Field Trip (choose one per troop or scout). Scouts are encouraged to visit a facility where nuclear science and technology are used. Visits can be conducted in person or virtually. Here are some possibilities:
    • Visit a local nuclear power plant virtually or in person. Learn how a reactor works and how the plant generates electricity. Older scouts should also discuss the nuclear fuel cycle and how fuel is made, from mining through fuel bundle manufacture.
    • Visit a national laboratory or research reactor at a university. Learn how science is advancing current nuclear technologies and discovering new applications.
    • Visit a hospital that uses nuclear techniques for the diagnosis and treatment of diseases.

Careers in Nuclear

  • Discuss: Identify five or more careers in nuclear science and technology. Learn education, training, skills, and other qualifications needed in each career. Here are some starting points:
  • Explore Careers in Nuclear through recorded interviews with nuclear professionals and researchers
  • Download ANS's Pathways to Nuclear Careers brochure for information on types of careers, education required, and projected earnings.
  • Professions in Nuclear Medicine
  • Activities
    • Role playing. Scouts dress as their chosen career and then present what they've learned virtually or in person. This is particularly appealing to younger scouts.
    • Interviews. Scouts interview someone in their chosen career and present what they learn to the troop. Depending on the field scouts choose, ANS may be able to find interviewees.



Last modified March 6, 2024, 12:25pm CST