STEM stands for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. The NOVA Awards program combines knowledge of STEM concepts with hands on activities.
Scouts BSA Nova Awards
- Shoot! (Science)
- Let It Grow! (Food and Agriculture Science)
- Start Your Engines! (Technology)
- Whoosh! (Engineering)
- Designed to Crunch (Mathematics)
For their first Nova Award, Scouts earn a patch. For each other Nova award, Scouts receive a pi (π) pin-on device to wear on the patch.
The Supernova Awards recognize Scouts who go further in their STEM explorations:
Scouts learn about ecology, pollution, endangered species, pollination by bees, and other environmental topics while working on the Environmental Science merit badge. They also study how parts of the ecosystem interact through repeated observation.
Scouts learn about, identify, and observe a wide variety of birds while doing the requirements for the Bird Study merit badge. They also listen for birds’ songs and learn how to provide a healthy habitat for birds.
Scouts working on the Sustainability merit badge 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.
The Dr. Bernard Harris Supernova Award is the bronze (first) level Supernova Award for Scouts BSA. To earn this award, Scouts must earn three Nova awards, the Scholarship merit badge, and four Nova approved STEM related merit badges. They must also complete two Supernova activities.
Scouts learn about energy and conservation while working on the Energy merit badge. 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. Find requirements and check-off sheets here.
Scouts learn about substances and how they interact while working on the Chemistry merit badge. They learn about lab safety and investigate by doing experiments. Scouts also learn about careers in fields related to chemistry.
Scouts working on the Signs, Signals, and Code merit badge will learn about various methods of communications, including distress signals, Morse code, sign language, braille, and semaphore. They also explore maps, text message symbols, and emojis.
Scouts learn about the uses and hazards of radiation while working on the Nuclear Science merit badge. They explore how matter and forces interact and also learn about different careers in fields related to radiation safety and nuclear science.
The Thomas Alva Edison Supernova Award is the silver (second) level Supernova Award for Scouts BSA. To earn this award, Scouts must earn the Dr. Bernard Harris Supernova award, one additional Nova award, and four additional Nova approved STEM related merit badges. They must also complete two additional Supernova activities.
Scouts learn about the process of creating a new invention while working on the Inventing merit badge. They also find out about intellectual property rights. They put their knowledge to work by dreaming up something new and making a prototype.
Working on the Soil and Water Conservation merit badge helps Scouts learn about things like erosion, watersheds, aquifers, water pollution, and water treatment. They also learn about the importance of plants in soil and water conservation.
The requirements for the Nature merit badge help 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.
Scouts learn about the properties and uses of composite materials while working on the Composite Materials Merit Badge. They also learn how to safely work with resins and other components. And they investigate careers related to composite materials.