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BP's Butterfly
A Game to Teach Guiding History

BP's Butterfly


I love history. I am, amongst other things, a trained archaeologist/historian, and I love to instill my love of history in other people.

To that end, I created this game called BP's Butterfly. It is designed for age ten or over, including adults. Younger girls would have a really hard time with this game.

I've given a fair bit of detail below on how I created this game, so that you can follow my thought processes as it developed. If you're not interested in that, skip that section, and go straight to the game.


The idea of the game is to find out about Guiding history in a fun way that will not only introduce the players to the wide variety of histories and experiences of the last one hundred years of Guiding, but also the skills and techniques of historical research, in a manner that will enable the players to retain the information because it's fun.

How many people are put off history for life because of the way it is taught in schools - dates, battles, kings, boring?

This game uses several different historical research techniques in an effort to make the subject interesting and relevant. These techniques include:

  • consulting and using primary sources (letters, certificates, journals, minutes, artefacts such as original record cards, badges etc.)
  • consulting published works (secondary sources)
  • architectural research
  • using anecdotes and stories
  • picture research
  • thinking about the sources and coming up with historical conclusions

This game can be used as a companion game to The Dragon Game. In fact, it's based loosely on the concept of the Dragon Game, but I have put my own twist on it.

How I worked out the game (might be useful information for when you create your own games)

The game concept

I had the basic concept: a research game with a picture to be coloured in as the focus and final reward. Kids love coloured stickers and images!

The Dragon Game has a series of bases with questions. Each question, correctly answered, gets a coloured dot to place on the dragon, the aim of the game being to give him all his spots and a beautiful red flame out of his mouth! I thought this could be adapted to the history of Guiding, but didn't want to use the same dragon image.

The central image

What image could I use? I thought for a bit, and came up with a butterfly that Baden-Powell drew while he was in the army. This image is not only pretty, but has a historical connection (drawn by BP when he was a soldier, and showing some traditional Scouting skills) and a terrific story as well.

The story goes that BP was tasked to get a plan of an enemy fortress, including the placement and calibre of its defending guns. So he went out into the countryside, dressed as an entomologist - a butterfly collector - who was out drawing butterflies. He disguised himself like this, because if he was caught in army uniform, he could be shot as a spy. He figured that he couldn't tell the difference between one butterfly and another, and so the average military man would also have trouble identifying butterflies with any accuracy. He therefore started drawing butterflies and moths on his travels, so that, if the enemy captured him, he could convince them that he was a harmless entomologist. What the enemy didn't know was that he was incorporating the plans of their military installations within his drawings.

Check it out in his book My Adventures as a Spy, available online at http://www.pinetreeweb.com/bp-adventure02.htm, from Project Gutenberg at http://www.gutenberg.org/etext/15715 or Amazon.

The game structure

Once I had the concept and the image, I needed to work out a structure for the questions. The Dragon Game doesn't have a particular structure: the questions are all mixed up according to the availability of resources. I thought history needed a bit more structure, and a bit of incentive for the players to want to visit the bases.

So I came up with four base names, designed to entice:

  1. Personalities - kids love media personalities, so I decided to turn the Baden-Powell family into celebrities
  2. Stories - a base about events and anecdotes - stories sound more interesting than events
  3. Local/Australian History - learning about what happened where you live makes history relevant to your life
  4. Fun Facts - miscellaneous items that give a bit more than dry facts.

Deciding on the base questions

Then it was a matter of collecting my sources, and deciding which questions I wanted the players to answer.

All of this is tailored to my Guides and my District. I know my girls, I know what they like and how they work. You know your people, and I'm sure you can tailor what I've done to them.

The Game

BP's Butterfly

A game where players research the history of Guiding, and get a cool picture at the end!

How to Play

  1. Give each player a butterfly sheet.
  2. Arrange all the reference books around the hall, or in fron the game leaders if desired.
  3. Players are to find the answers to all the questions by looking up the reference books and consulting the primary sources, and giving the answer to the appropriate game leader, who will then give them a coloured dot to place on their butterfly.
  4. The object of the game is to answer all the questions, and give the butterfly all its colours.

You will need
1 master butterfly, with all the coloured spots in the correct places
1 red butterfly, with only the red spots in the correct places
1 blue butterfly, with only the blue spots in the correct places
1 yellow butterfly, with only the yellow spots in the correct places
1 green butterfly, with only the green spots in the correct places

At least four game leaders (one per base) - preferably more so that the leaders can rotate and do the game too.

On the backs of these butterflies are the appropriate questions and their answers. The master butterfly has only one question (Question 21).

You will also need the following reference material:
Briefly It’s Guides

Setting up

Set up a minimum of four bases.

At each base, you will need:

  • A set of questions pertaining to that base for every player
  • A set of questions with answers, for the base leader's use only.
  • A set of equipment/resources as detailed below.
  • A leader, preferably one who has some knowledge of the subject matter.
  • A butterfly with the coloured dots pertaining to that base.
  • A large sign to show the name/subject of that base. Here are the ones I used:
Personalities Local/Australian Stories Fun Facts

Personalities Base

Equipment Needed

Briefly It’s Guides

Guide Handbook

Help Yourself to Know Baden-Powell

Agnes Baden-Powell Sheet

How Girls Can Help To Build Up The Empire

Olave Baden-Powell

Scouting for Boys

Trefoil Round the World

Small red sticky dots

 Olave Baden-Powell sheet

1. What did Robert Baden-Powell do before he started Scouting? Find an interesting story about his career and share it with a leader.
A: He was a soldier.
Reference: Scouting for Boys, Help Yourself to Know Baden-Powell, Guide handbook

5. What was the first handbook for the Girl Guides, and who wrote it? Find something interesting in the book to share.
A: How Girls Can Help To Build Up The Empire by Miss (Agnes) Baden-Powell and Sir R. Baden-Powell.
Reference: How Girls Can Help To Build Up The Empire

9. Where did Robert and Olave first meet? How many years’ difference in age was there between them?
A:  Robert first saw Olave in a park. Years later they met on a cruise ship. Robert was 32 years older than Olave.
Reference: Trefoil Round the World p. 5; Briefly It’s Guides p. 5

13. Who was Agnes Baden-Powell, and what was her contribution to Guiding? Find out something interesting about her.
A: Started Guiding at the request of her brother, Robert. Add as much detail here as you want.
Reference: Agnes Baden-Powell sheet; How Girls Can Help To Build Up The Empire

17. Who was Olave Baden-Powell, and what was her contribution to Guiding? Find out something interesting about her.
A: She was the wife of Robert Baden-Powell. She took over from Agnes. Olave became the first World Chief Guide. Add as much detail here as you want.
Reference:  Olave Baden-Powell sheet; Olave Baden-Powell book


Local/Australian Base

Equipment  Needed

Up Till Now

From a Flicker to a Flame

1st & 2nd Company registration certificates

Blue and Gold: The Story Told

Blue sticky dots


2. When and where did Guiding start in Australia, and what did they call themselves? When did Guiding start in NSW?
A: 1910 in Tasmania. NSW started in 1920.
Reference: Blue and Gold p. 6

6. Who was The Lev, and what was her contribution to New South Wales Guiding?
A: Miss Nella Levy. She had been a patrol leader at the Crystal Palace Rally in 1909, and she established Guiding in NSW.
Reference: Up Till Now p. 5

10. Look around the Guide Hall. It has had extensions added to it. Identify the original hall and the extensions. How can you tell?
A:  The original hall (Baulkham Hills) is the part that has the front door. The back wall was the wall in front of the toilet, which did not originally have an inside door. You can tell by looking at the wall in the toilet: it’s an outside wall. The hall was extended in the early 1970s: you can see the join in the floor. The kitchen and the cupboards were also added at that time. Also, a ramp was added to the front steps for wheelchair access. The roof beams are made differently in each section of the hall, and the older ones actually look darker, which may be a clue to their date. The windows are different in each section, which is not necessarily a dating clue by itself, but included with all the other evidence can be used to differentiate between the original structure and the extensions.

Note: This question was designed to get the players to deduce historical facts by using tangible artefacts, in this case, the building. This can be quite challenging if you've never done this sort of thinking before.

14. What was the date of the dedication ceremony for Glengarry?
A: 21st October 1933
Reference: Up Till Now p. 23

18. From what you can see in the Guide Hall, how long do you think Baulkham Hills Guiding has been around?
A: Certificate of registration for 1st Company says 1959. The district actually started in 1945 (probably with a Brownie Pack for which there is no registration certificate available).
AGM booklet – subtract the number of the AGM (which has on the front page the words: 65th annual report for the year ending 31 December 2009) and figure out the start date.

Note: this question is designed to get the players really looking at the memorabilia in the hall, and to do some deductive reasoning from what is available. If the oldest object that mentions the name of the district has a date, the district is at least that old (it may be older). So, if an honour board mentions that the first Queen's Guide was earned in 1972, the district was in existence in 1972. However, this resource does not tell you when the district started, but only that it already existed in 1972.

Stories Base

Equipment Needed

Briefly It’s Guides

Guide Handbook

From a Flicker to a Flame

GIS sheet

A collection of yellow sticky dots

Brownsea Island book

Blue and Gold The Story Told

History: The Story of Guiding sheet

Small Yellow sticky dots


3. Who was Pearl, and how was she ruined?
A: A red cow, who provided fresh milk to an early Guide camp. Guides learned to milk her, and nine Guides earned the Dairymaid badge. Unfortunately, Pearl was ruined as a milker after the experience!
Reference: From a Flicker to a Flame, p. 148; History: The Story of Guiding sheet p. 1

Note: This question was designed to show that stories and anecdotes can make history come alive. The girls thought Pearl was a person, and were surprised and delighted that she turned out to be a cow! In the words of one Guide: 'if you need fresh milk at a camp, of course you take a cow with you!'

7. What was the Brownsea Island camp? Where and when was it held? What is its significance to Scouting and Guiding?
A: Robert Baden-Powell took a bunch of boys camping for a week. It was an experimental camp run by the Patrol System, and introduced to the boys many of the activities we do today in Guiding. It was the beginning of Scouting.
Reference:   Brownsea Island book, other Guiding/Scouting history books

11. When was the Crystal Palace Rally, and what happened there? What is its significance to Guiding?
A:  September 1909 a Scout Rally was held with a march past the Founder, Robert Baden-Powell. A small band of girls came at the end of the parade. BP asked who they were: they said they were the Girl Scouts. BP realized he needed to do something for girls, and so started the Guiding movement.
Reference:  Briefly It’s Guides, Guide Handbook, printed sheets

15. Find two examples of how Guides have helped in wartime.
A: Guide International Service; Knitting for WWI soldiers, etc
Reference: Briefly It’s Guides; GIS sheet, Blue and Gold p. 23ff, others

19. Find an interesting story or fact from the material available and share it with a leader. Why do you find it interesting?

Note: This question was designed to allow the players to engage with the historical material according to their own interests and whims (much as professional historians do). Giving them a chance to explore the material to find something interesting, rather than answer set questions all the time, also gives them a chance to learn more by sifting through the resources. This base also included a facsimile of a wartime diary written by an English Guide Patrol - an example of a primary source, and one that could lead to the Guides wanting to create their own Patrol Diary.

Fun Facts Base

Equipment Needed

Agnes Baden-Powell sheet

Help Yourself to Know Baden-Powell

The Tenderfoot Test for Patrol Leaders

old Tenderfoot card

Olave Baden-Powell rose sheet

old interest badges

My Adventures as a Spy

Badges, Emblems and Pennants

A collection of large orange sticky dots

A collection of small green sticky spots

4. A rose was created and named after one of the Baden-Powells. Who was it, what colour is the rose, and who do you know that grows one?
A: Olave Baden-Powell, red, Kalina
Reference: Olave Baden-Powell Rose sheet

Note: This question showed that historical information is all around us, even in a garden. It also brought an esoteric concept closer to home, by showing that the Unit Leader had an Olave Baden-Powell rose in her own garden.

8. What are these?* When were they in use? What did a Guide have to do to get them?
A:  These are interest badges from before 1997, when the current Australian Guide Program was introduced. The current badge system replaced these badges. Each badge had a set syllabus, and Guides had to go to the assessor’s house to be tested.
ReferenceBadges, Emblems and Pennants

*Note: "These" were pre-1997 interest badges on a camp blanket. The idea of this question was for the players to investigate the badge system used before the one they currently use, and to compare the two. It took some leading questions from the base leader to elicit these sorts of conclusions.

12. In 1965, what did a girl have to do before she made her Promise as a Girl Guide?
A:  The Tenderfoot Test – list the tasks
Reference: The Tenderfoot Test for Patrol Leaders OR an old Tenderfoot card

Note: This is an example of gleaning historical information from an artefact. We used the Tenderfoot card that I had when I was a recruit. The girls were told of its age and fragility, and were carefully supervised when handling it. This also gives subconscious training in how to handle artefacts: they didn't want to upset me by damaging my precious memorabilia. It also gave the leader the chance to introduce the idea of some activities that had not been programmed for some time: the girls got the opportunity to identify the activities they had not yet done but would like to try. They could also compare what I had to do for my Pre-Promise with what they did.

16. Why did Baden-Powell call the new girls’ movement the Guides?
A: He named the after a famous army regiment in India called the ‘Guides’ who were famous for their bravery and fearlessness.
Reference: Help Yourself to Know Baden-Powell p. 23; How Girls Can Help To Build Up The Empire p. 16–17; Guiding Traditions sheet on Stories base.

20. Which member of the Baden-Powell family kept butterflies, and where were they kept?
A:  Agnes Baden-Powell kept butterflies in her house.
Reference: Agnes Baden-Powell sheet

Note: This question makes Agnes into a real person, and also leads into another game I have created on her life.

21. Who drew this butterfly, and what does it represent?
A: Robert Baden-Powell drew it. The irregular shape around the butterfly body is the disguised outline of a fortress. The marks on the wings between the lines mean nothing, but those on the lines show the nature and size of the fortress guns.
Reference: My Adventures as a Spy

Note 1: This question has several layers to it. Although the girls read out the appropriate passage, they didn't really process the information until I asked them to show me the fortress outlined in the butterfly drawing. Some of them got it immediately, some of them had to look back at the resource to figure it out. Then we discussed the ingenuity of BP in coming up with this idea of camouflaging military intelligence data in an innocuous butterfly drawing: this, when its signficance dawned on the girls, elicited yells of surprise and admiration.

Note 2: The sticky dot for this question is the final question of the game, and should be kept until last. It is a larger dot that goes on the head of the butterfly.



If you've waded your way through this page to here, congratulations! If you would like a file with the base information without all the commentary, email me.