Boy Scouts of America Troup 152 Computing Merit Badge Requirement 5

Below is an approximate summary of requirement 5. Be sure to check the official set of requirements in effect.

Requirement 5: Do 2 of the following:

  1. Visit a business or industry that uses computers. Study what the computer accomplishes and be prepared to discuss what you observed.
  2. Use a computer attached to a local area network or equipped with a modem to connect to a computer network or bulletin-board service such as Prodigy, CompuServe, America Online. Send a message to someone on the network or download a program or file from the network.
  3. Use a general-purpose programming language to write a program application of your choice, subject to approval by your counselor.

Regarding (a), you can go with the counselor or on your own.

Regarding (b), you can demonstrate your ability here by sending a message to the counselor (, giving your full name, troup, and home address. You can do that at home, or in the lab with guidance. In case you want to use Eudora or read a bit about this see the online information.

Alternatively you can work in the lab and fetch a file. See online instructions. You can find samples of several types of data files by going to first. Then use anonymous FTP (which means you get information without having to login). Anyone can do this by saying that they are user "anonymous" - using that word as their userid. When a password is requested, you can hit "Enter", or to be courteous, just give your email address or name and then hit "Enter". Go to directory "/pub/ETD" by typing "cd pub/ETD" and then see the contents by saying "dir". You can get any of the files, and then look at them on your computer.

Regarding (c), discuss this with the counselor and demonstrate to him the working program when done. One fun way is to:

which will ensure you know a sufficient amount about the Python language.