We may never know what it would be like to be a Scout in the wizarding world of Harry Potter. But, we can find similarities between Hogwarts classes and merit badges. In celebration of Harry Potter’s birthday (July 31st), here are the top ten magical merit badges you could earn if you attended Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry:
#1 – Plant Science Merit Badge = Herbology
Herbology is the study of magical and mundane plants and fungi. It’s a core class where students learn about the care and use of these plants, much like what the Plant Science Merit Badge teaches. When a Scout works on the Plant Science Merit Badge they are required to study and care for plants with different techniques. Magical or not, plants are fascinating and complex in their own way. Learning the science behind them can change the way Scouts see nature.
#2 – Astronomy Merit Badge = Astronomy
Though no magic is required in this class, Astronomy is also a core subject at Hogwarts. So, Scouts could have easily earned their Astronomy Merit Badge. The Astronomy class requires that students study, through telescopes, the stars and planets. The Astronomy Merit Badge does as well. For example, both the wizarding class and merit badge have you identify names of stars and constellations.
#3 – Sports Merit Badge = Quidditch
In terms of popularity, Quidditch is the muggle (or non-magic) equivalent of soccer. Both are known and played worldwide. Not everyone is cut out for the intense game of Quidditch. Not only does it take skill, but one must be physically strong and mentally awake at all times! Luckily, there is the Sports Merit Badge to educate Scouts on the importance of not just being physically up to the challenge but safe during the games. The Sports Merit Badge covers the importance of being safe, maintaining good health and practicing with dedication in every sport. One of the merit badge requirements is to even participate in a team, just like you would do while playing Quidditch!
#4 – Animal Science Merit Badge = Care of Magical Creatures
Just like the Animal Science Merit Badge, students who elected to take the Care of Magical Creatures class are taught about “feeding, maintaining, breeding, and proper treatment of various creatures.” In fact, it’s almost as if they took the requirements of the merit badge and created a school subject from it, (but with magical creatures).
#5 – Chess Merit Badge = Wizard’s Chess
When working on the Chess Merit Badge, Scouts and leaders are required to discuss the benefits of playing chess, such as gaining skills in critical thinking, concentration and decision-making. Now, think of the importance of playing strategically when the pieces are at stake (literally). Wizard Chess can be grueling and one must be on top of their game in order to compete and keep their pieces alive.
#6 – Chemistry Merit Badge = Potions
Snape himself would approve of the Chemistry Merit Badge as it relates closely to his Potions class. When it comes to handling chemicals or potions, no nonsense or foolish wand waving is permitted. Safety is the number one priority in both potions and chemistry. Both wizarding students and Scouts can learn how ingredients react to each other and their effects on the environment.
#7 – Crime Prevention Merit Badge = Defense Against the Dark Arts
Students in the Defense Against the Dark Arts class will study ways to protect themselves from the dark arts. Scouts doing the Crime Prevention Merit Badge study crimes and how to appropriately handle them. Crime education is an important topic in both the wizarding and muggle world because, as it helps youth fully understand the hazards of crime and how it can damage communities.
#8 – American Cultures Merit Badge = Muggle Studies
In Muggle Studies, students have a chance to learn about the muggle culture and how muggles live without magic. They’ll delve into the customs, traditions, and everyday life of the non-magical community. The American Cultures Merit Badge requires the same kind of research but with the American culture. Both can be very informative and hopefully teach people (magical or not) about how to live cohesively wtih people of different backgrounds.
#9 – Aviation Merit Badge = Flying
Flying on a broomstick isn’t just for those who want to play Quidditch. First years are assigned a special flying class on how to properly mount, hover and guide the broom in the air. Since we can’t fly broomsticks in the muggle world, the Aviation Merit Badge teaches about airplanes and other aircraft. Both topics teach youth about one of the most popular methods of transportation – flying, just with slightly different perspectives and vehicles.
#10 – Music Merit Badge = Frog Choir
One of the Music Merit Badge’s requirements has Scouts participate in a group choir for at least six months. Which is great news if you are a witch or wizard because the Frog Choir at Hogwarts is always looking for musically-talented students. The merit badge also allows a Scout to create a traditional musical instrument. Could you imagine the possibilities if you could create an instrument with magic?