Problem solving Scouts

The Scouts have been working through their Skills Challenge badge over the last term.   As one of the most flexible and varied badges in the Scout Programme, Skills Challenge Awards are great all-rounders. They encourage young people to try out a wide range of activities and start to develop specialised skills they may want to pursue later down the line. These awards teach young people about health and fitness, encourage creative freedom and independent thought, and develop some useful practical life skills.

As part of the badge the Scouts have to take part in three problem solving sessions.

1. The first was solving two paper based problems : interpreting a picture to work out when and where the scene was; working out how to get various items across the river.

The Problem:

  • A Scout has to get a fox, a chicken, and a sack of corn across a river.
  • They have a rowboat, and it can only carry them and one other thing.
  • If the fox and the chicken are left together, the fox will eat the chicken.
  • If the chicken and the corn are left together, the chicken will eat the corn.
  • How does the Scout do it? (Scroll to the bottom for the solution)

2. The second was how to transport an egg across a gap without dropping or breaking it.  The egg had to be protected enough to be able to withstand a fall of 1m.

3. The third was navigating across a ‘minefield’ – a human version of battleships.  In small teams, they had to make their way across the minefield (a grid on the floor) mapping the safe co-ordinates onto a paper grid.


The Scouts have also been learning household skills at home and at Scouts, ranging from doing the laundry, working out how to set the central heating thermostat, changing a lightbulb, cooking a meal and washing dishes.  They’ve invented a healthy eating game to share with the Beavers, demonstrate they understood the effects smoking, alcohol and drugs can have and the dangers connected to each (they added other plant based poisons as well).

The last section of the badge is taking part in a physical activity over a period of 4 to 6 weeks and demonstrating how they have improved.   Alongside doing a physical activity at home the Scouts will also be learning to juggle – watch this space…


The Solution:

The Scout and the chicken cross the river, (the fox and corn are safe together), they leave the chicken on the other side and goes back across.

The Scout then takes the fox across the river, and since they can’t leave the fox and chicken together, they brings the chicken back.

Again, since the chicken and corn can’t be left together, the Scout leaves the chicken and takes the corn across and leaves it with the fox.

The Scout then returns to pick up the chicken and heads across the river one last time.