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Start Your Engines! Scouts BSA Nova Award (Technology) Helps and Documents

Note: The Nova program is administered at the Council level. Check with your local council about availability before starting on a Nova award.

Start Your Engines! is the Scouts BSA Nova Award for investigating technology. To earn this award, Scouts must complete one of their technology related merit badges and learn about related topics such as energy and fuel sources. Scouts design and build a working model vehicle which is powered by solar power, wind power, or battery power.

This award can be earned by young men and women who are members of Scouts BSA.


Scouts learn how to enjoy excursions on their bicycles. There is an emphasis on safety and planning in the requirements. There are options for completing the requirements by road biking or by mountain biking. The requirements can be completed by Scouts with any level of experience in cycling.


There are several merit badges related to paddlecraft. In Kayaking, Scouts learn to safely glide across the water. They familiarize themselves with kayaking equipment and techniques. Then they put their paddling knowledge to use by demonstrating their skills on the water.

Automotive Maintenance

This is one of several merit badges which gives vocational experience. Scouts learn to maintain automobiles. Scouts specifically learn about the tires, engine, cooling system, fuel system, ignition, electrical systems, drive train, brakes, and dashboard. They also learn to read the various gauges and meters. Scouts explore career opportunities related to maintaining cars.


Scouts learn about aircraft and the forces which act on them. They learn about maintaining aircraft and planning for a flight. They build and fly a model airplane and explore careers related to aviation.


Scouts prepare for a safe trip on the water in a canoe. They demonstrate that they have the skills to control the canoe. They learn how to maintain canoes, paddles, and PFDs. Then they demonstrate their knowledge by taking a trip on the water.


Scouts will learn how to make drawings which convey the visions of engineers and architects. They will do manual drawings, computer aided design (CAD), and lettering. Scouts also explore career opportunities related to drafting. The requirements for this badge can be fulfilled by doing architectural, mechanical, or electrical drawings.


Scouts learn about the many uses of electricity, including electromagnets, batteries, home lighting, motors, and more. They find out how to safely use electricity and avoid hazards. Scouts get some hands on experience with some simple electric circuits and devices.


Scouts learn about energy and conservation. One practical aspect of the requirements is to conduct an energy audit at home and try to reduce energy over a two week period. Scouts also learn about renewable energy while working on this badge

Farm Mechanics

Scouts learn to safely maintain and repair farm equipment. They tighten hydraulic fittings, check air filters, and clean equipment used for farm work. Scouts also explore career opportunities related to farm mechanics.


Scouts learn to safely operate a motorized water craft. They learn about the different types of motors and how to maintain them. Then they demonstrate their skills by operating a motor boat.

Nuclear Science

Scouts learn about the uses and hazards of radiation. They explore how matter and forces interact and also learn about different careers in fields related to radiation safety and nuclear science. This is one of many STEM focused merit badges.


Scouts learn about the history of programming and programming languages. They explore the applications of programming and how to modify code. They also investigate careers related to programming.


Scouts find out how trains are used to move freight and passengers. They learn about the history of railroading and consider the safety aspects of trains. The requirements for this badge can be fulfilled by model railroading or railfanning. Scouts can either use model railroads to investigate the topic further or they can learn more about scenic and historic railways.

Small Boat Sailing

Scouts learn to answer questions like “How do you sail against the wind?” They also find out about sailing equipment and how to prepare for a safe adventure on the water. Then they demonstrate their skills by going sailing.

Space Exploration

Scouts learn about spacecraft and the history of their use. They investigate the many aspects of venturing into space and consider how mankind might continue to explore the universe beyond our planet. They also find out about career opportunities related to space exploration.

Truck Transportation

Scouts learn about all of the aspects of moving goods from one location to another. They find out about safety aspects such as truck maintenance and driver’s logs. They also investigate different types of trucks, insurance, and the logistics required to move products. Finally, they explore the different career opportunities in the field of truck transportation.

More Scouts BSA Nova Awards and Supernova Awards

Nova Awards are the BSA Awards focused on STEM – science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Supernova Awards recognize young men and women in Scouts BSA who go further in their STEM explorations.


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