Scouts and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics)
Today’s youth must be familiar with the STEM areas – science, technology, engineering, and mathematics – to be prepared for the world of tomorrow. BSA programs offer many opportunities for Scouts to experience STEM activities. The Nova awards for Cub Scouts, Scouts BSA (Boy Scouts), and Venturers allow for in depth studies of STEM fields. There are also opportunities for STEM learning in the achievements for each program.
Below are a number of advancement and recognition opportunities and ideas for Scouts who are interested in the STEM fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
Nova Awards and Supernova Awards
Nova Awards are the BSA Awards focused on STEM – science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Supernova Awards recognize Scouts who go further in their explorations.
- Science Everywhere (Science)
- Down and Dirty (Earth Science)
- Nova WILD! (Nature and Wildlife Science)
- Out of This World (Space Exploration Science)
- Uncovering the Past (Archaeology)
- Tech Talk (Technology)
- Cub Scouts Can Code (Computer Technology)
- Swing! (Engineering)
- Up and Away (Fluid Dynamics)
- 1-2-3 Go! (Mathematics)
- Fearful Symmetry (Mathematics)
- Dr. Luis W. Alvarez Supernova Award: for Wolf and Bear Cub Scouts
- Dr. Charles H. Townes Supernova Award: for Webelos
- Shoot! (Astronomy and Projectile Science)
- Let It Grow (Food and Agriculture Science)
- Splash! (Science)
- Mendel’s Minions (Genetic Science)
- Start Your Engines! (Technology)
- Hello World (Programming and Coding Technology)
- Whoosh! (Engineering)
- Up and Away (Fluid Dynamics)
- Next Big Thing (Product Design)
- Designed to Crunch (Mathematics) s
- Thomas Edison Supernova Award
- Dr. Bernard Harris Supernova Award
- Power Up (Technology)
- Launch! (Astronomy and Projectile Science)
- Wade! (Water and Science)
- What a Life (Life Science)
- Numbers Don’t Lie (Mathematics)
- Hang On (Engineering)
- Up and Away (Fluid Dynamics)
- Execute! (Programming and Digital Technology)
- Something From Nothing (3D Printing)
- Dr. Sally Ride Supernova
- Wright Brothers Supernova
- Dr. Albert Einstein Supernova
Cub Scout STEM Related Adventures
For the Build It Up Knock It Down adventure, Lions learn about building up structures and people.
For the Gizmos and Gadgets adventure, Lions learn some really basic science and engineering concepts.
For the My Tiger Jungle Adventure, Cub Scouts get outside. They take a short walk and observe insects, birds, and other wildlife. They also plant a tree or make a birdhouse.
For the Sky is the Limit adventure, Tiger Cubs and their adult partners learn about astronomy and do some star gazing.
Wolf Cub Scouts learn about numbers, measuring, shapes, and math for the Code of the Wolf adventure. They also get to try sending a message using code.
For the Digging in the Past adventure, Wolves learn about dinosaurs and fossils.
While working on the Spirit of the Water adventure, Wolves learn about water pollution and conservation. They also develop swimming and boating skills. Here are a few ideas to help you with this achievement.
Bear Cub Scouts observe wildlife and plants when they work on the Fur, Feathers, and Ferns adventure. They find out about endangered species and gardening.
Bear Cub Scouts will learn about static electricity and buoyancy while working on the Super Science adventure. They will also investigate color-morphing and color-layering.
Youth learn all about geology and the earth while doing the Earth Rocks! adventure. They will find out more about rocks and minerals. And they will learn how to identify geological features on a map.
Youth working on the Into the Wild adventure learn all about nature. They can choose to observe insects, reptiles, amphibians, fish, mammals, or birds. They also find out about ecosystems and the balance of nature.
Scouts BSA STEM Related Merit Badges
Almost all of the merit badges have some requirements related to science and technology. Here are a few which are really STEM focused. See all merit badges.
Scouts learn about ecology, pollution, endangered species, pollination by bees, and other environmental topics. They also study how parts of the ecosystem interact through repeated observation.
Scouts learn to conserve energy at home and think about how their food, housing, and consumption choices impact society at large. They make a plan to use the Earth’s resources more wisely. They also learn how the Scout Law and the Scout Oath promote more sustainable communities.
Scouts develop their critical thinking and strategy skills, which are necessary for STEM fields. They learn the history of chess, and chess notation. Scouts familiarize themselves with the tactics, board, pieces, and moves. Then they demonstrate their skills by playing some games of chess.
Scouts find out how sites and artifacts from the past help us develop a more accurate picture of how our ancestors lived. They learn about the laws and regulations which protect archaeological sites. They do some hands-on research and explore careers related to archaeology.
Scouts learn about substances and how they interact. They learn about lab safety and investigate by doing experiments. Scouts also learn about careers in fields related to chemistry.
Scouts learn about the properties and uses of composite materials. They also learn how to safely work with resins and other components. And they investigate careers related to composite materials.
Scouts learn how digital information is stored and transmitted. They explore how digital technology has changed over the years. They also investigate the practical aspects of digital technology and explore careers in the field.
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 to safely repair, change, or build electronic devices. They find out about controllers, audio circuits, and digital circuits. Scouts also explore career opportunities related to electronics.
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.
This is one of the STEM merit badges. Scouts learn about the process of building and creating products and structures. They investigate the variety of careers available in engineering. Scouts explore how engineers use a step-by-step approach to make improvements for society.
This is one of the merit badges related to natural science. Scouts learn about rocks and resources. They can focus on sedimentary processes, energy resources, mineral resources, or earth history while working on this merit badge. Scouts also research career opportunities related to geology.
Scouts learn about plants and wildlife and the connection of all living things. They identify different types of wildlife and consider their importance in ecosystems. This is one of the merit badges which is often offered at summer camp.
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.
In this STEM merit badge, Scouts find out about life in the sea. Topics include the properties of seawater, waves, underwater topography, and the importance of the oceans. Scouts will also do a hands-on activity and will learn how marine scientists study the oceans.
Scouts learn to propagate and grow plants . They investigate the importance and uses of crops, trees, and flowers. Scouts have many options to choose from for the types of plants they will study in depth while doing this badge.
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.
This badge helps Scouts understand the many uses of robots. They learn how to design and test robots to perform simple tasks. Scouts also find out about competitive robotics and explore career opportunities related to robotics.
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.
Scouts learn about meteorology. They learn about weather hazards, high and low pressure systems, the science of weather, and the water cycle. They explore climates and the way humans alter their environment. They make a weather instrument and find out about careers related to weather.
Venturing STEM Related Ranger Requirements
To complete the Conservation core requirement for the Venturing Ranger award, Venturers must carry out a conservation project. Then they must encourage others to get involved in conservation.
To earn complete the Ecology elective, Venturers must learn about natural systems and study the environment. Then they must teach others about what they learned.
To complete the Plants and Wildlife elective, Venturers must learn about the balance of nature, study specific species, learn about conservation, and teach others about the subject.