NOVA patch

Designed to Crunch – STEM Award for Boy Scouts (Mathematics)

STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. Today’s students will need to become proficient in these areas in order to excel in our changing world. The NOVA award program is part of the BSA’s STEM Initiative. It encourages youth to engage in STEM activities and provides a way for them to be recognized for their efforts. This Boy Scout award focuses on using calculations to solve everyday problems.

There is an award for each discipline at each level of Scouting. The mathematics Nova award for Boy Scouts is called Designed to Crunch:

This module is designed to help you explore how math affects your life each day.

It provides an age appropriate program to get Boy Scouts interested in mathematics.

The requirements are listed below to give you an idea what is involved, but I encourage you to pick up the Nova award booklet at your local Scout shop. It will have additional ideas and comments. While you are there, ask about what other STEM resources are available in your council.

STEM Award for Boy Scouts (Designed to Crunch)

Designed to Crunch Nova Award

  1. Choose A or B or C or D and complete ALL the requirements.
    1.  Watch about three hours total math-related shows or documentaries that involve scientific models and modeling, physics, sports equipment design, bridge building, or cryptography. Then do the following:
      1. Make a list of at least five questions or ideas from the show(s) you watched.
      2. Discuss two of the questions or ideas with your counselor
    2. Research (about three hours total) several websites (with your parent’s or guardian’s permission) that discuss and explain cryptography or the discoveries of people who worked extensively with cryptography. Then do the following:
      1. List and record the URLs of the websites you visited and the major topics covered on the websites you visited. (You may use the copy and paste function—eliminate the words—if you include your sources.)
      2. Discuss with your counselor how cryptography is used in the military and in everyday life and how a cryptographer uses mathematics.
    3. Read at least three articles (about three hours total) about physics, math, modeling, or cryptography. You may wish to read about how technology and engineering are changing sports equipment, how and why triangles are used in construction, bridge building, engineering, climate and/or weather models, how banks keep information secure, or about the stock market. Then do the following:
      1. Make a list of at least two questions or ideas from each article.
      2. Discuss two of the questions or ideas with your counselor
    4. Do a combination of reading, watching, or researching (about three hours total). Then do the following:
      1. Make a list of at least two questions or ideas from each article, website, or show.
      2. Discuss two of the questions or questions with your counselor
  2. Complete ONE merit badge from the following list. (Choose one that you have not already used toward another Nova award.) After completion, discuss with your counselor how the merit badge you earned uses mathematics
    1. American Business
    2. Chess
    3. Computers
    4. Drafting
    5. Entrepreneurship
    6. Orienteering
    7. Personal Management
    8. Radio
    9. Surveying
    10. Weather
  3. Choose TWO from A or B or C or D or E and complete ALL the requirements. (Write down your data and calculations to support your explanation to your counselor. You may use a spreadsheet. Do not use someone else’s data or calculations.)
    1. Calculate your horsepower when you run up a flight of stairs.
      1. How does your horsepower compare to the power of a horse?
      2. How does your horsepower compare to the horsepower of your favorite car?
      3. Share your calculations with your counselor, and discuss what you learned about horsepower
    2. Attend at least two track, cross-country, or swim meets.
      1. For each meet, time at least three racers. (Time the same racers at each meet.)
      2. Calculate the average speed of the racers you timed. (Make sure you write down your data and calculations.)
      3. Compare the average speeds of your racers to each other, to the official time, and to their times at the two meets you attended.
      4. Share your calculations with your counselor, and discuss your conclusions about the racers’ strengths and weaknesses
    3. Attend a soccer, baseball, softball, or basketball game. Choose two players and keep track of their efforts during the game. (Make sure you write down your data and calculations.) Calculate their statistics using the following as examples:
      1. Soccer—Goals, assists, corner kicks, keeper saves, fouls, offsides
      2. Baseball or softball—Batting average, runs batted in, fielding statistics, pitching statistics
      3. Basketball—Points, baskets attempted, rebounds, steals, turnovers, and blocked shots
      4. Share your calculations with your counselor, and discuss your conclusions about the players’ strengths and weaknesses
    4. Attend a football game or watch one on TV. (This is a fun activity to do with a parent or friend! ) Keep track of the efforts of your favorite team during the game. (Make sure you write down your data and calculations.) Calculate your team’s statistics using the following as examples:
      1. Kicks/punts
        1. Kickoff—Kick return yards
        2. Punt—Number, yards
        3. Field goals—Attempted, percent completed, yards
        4. Extra point—Attempted, percent completed
      2. Offense
        1. Number of first downs
        2. Forward passes—Attempted, percent completed, total length of passes, longest pass, number and length of passes caught by each receiver, yardage gained by each receiver after catching a pass
        3. Running plays—Number, yards gained or lost for each run, longest run from scrimmage line, total yards gained or lost, and number of touchdowns
      3. Defense—Number of quarterback sacks, interceptions turnovers, and safeties
      4. Share your calculations with your counselor, and discuss your conclusions about your team’s strengths and weaknesses.
    5. How starry are your nights? Participate in a star count to find out. This may be done alone but is more fun with a group. Afterward, share your results with your counselor.
      1. Visit NASA’s Student Observation Network website at www.nasa.gov/audience/foreducators/son/energy/starcount/ for instructions on performing a star count.
      2. Do a star count on five clear nights at the same time each night.
      3. Report your results on NASA’s Student Observation Network website and see how your data compares to others.
  4. 4. Do ALL of the following.
    1. Investigate your calculator and explore the different functions.
    2. Discuss the functions, abilities, and limitations of your calculator with your counselor. Talk about how these affect what you can and cannot do with a calculator. (See your counselor for some ideas to consider.)
  5. Discuss with your counselor how math affects your everyday life.

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