STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics and it is a vibrant area; it’s more important than ever for our youth to be equipped with the knowledge and skills to solve tough problems, gather and evaluate evidence, and make sense of information.
STEM/Nova is an optional program for Wolves, Bear, and Webelos Scouts. Our scouts can achieve rank and have a fulfilling Cub Scout experience without participating at all; however, those Scouts who are interested in STEM will increase their knowledge and ability to succeed in these areas significantly by participating in this program.
For a more detailed look at the STEM/Nova program, please take a look at the BSA site here:
The STEM/Nova program is somewhat similar to the Outdoor Activity Award – there are a range of different modules to pursue; the first time your Scout finishes a module, they earn a very cool Nova badge, as shown:
Successive completion of future modules earn a “Pi” pin to be placed on the badge.
These modules cover many different areas. These modules are:
- Science Everywhere: General Science
- Down and Dirty: Earth Science
- Nova WILD!: Wildlife and the world around us
- Out of This World: Space Exploration
- Tech Talk: Technology
- Swing!: Engineering and Physics
- 1-2-3 Go!: Mathematics
Each module has roughly 5 basic requirements:
- Read or watch a show about the module’s main topic, for about an hour
- Complete a rank-specific Elective Adventure chosen from a subset of electives, relevant to that module (Den Leaders and I will work on * accomplishing this with the Scouts)
- Perform an experiment or activity relevant to the topic
- Visit a place to learn more about the topic (Except for the Mathematics module)
- Discuss what you learned with the STEM/Nova counselor (John DeCuir), along with the parent and den leader.
Which Nova Module should I start my Scout on?
In general, because of the Elective Adventure requirement, it is best if all participating Nova scouts within a den work on the same module. For this reason, we recommend that Scouts start with the “Science Everywhere” module, and aim to specialize further in future years.
How long will this take?
We estimate that it will take about a month to a month-and-a-half to complete these requirements. The best time to start is our upcoming Spring Break – it’s an ideal time to start the one hour reading/watching requirement.
I’m allergic to algebra – can my Scout do this?
Want to participate, but feel intimidated by math and science? Don’t worry, we won’t be unleashing advanced calculus or quantum mechanics on our Scouts! Most of these topics are easy for everyone to understand; the program just structures the learning experience to optimize for their interests.
If you and your Scout are interested in participating, please contact John directly via email at email@example.com with the following information:
- The name of your Scout
- Your Scout’s den number
- The module your Scout would like to work on
…and we’ll work out the rest of the details with your den leader. Most of these activities will need to take place at home, with your support – one notable exception is the Bear Den which has opted to do many of these activities in the context of their den meetings. If in doubt, ask us, your DL, or ADL.
We hope this program opens up a wide variety of opportunities for our scouts to accomplish many things in our rapidly changing world.