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How to Start a STEM Program in Your Unit

Posted By Kevin Hopson, Friday, February 27, 2015

How to Start a STEM Program in Your Unit


  1. Any adult can help “counsel” the youth on the NOVA level awards once that person is approved by the local unit committee and completes the adult BSA application — leader code 58 and the Nova Counselor Form and submit the forms with Youth Protection certificate to your district’s STEM Coordinator.   Go to “Want to be a Supernova Mentor of NOVA Counselor?” and   STEM PowerPoint Overview. 
  2. Make sure you get a copy of the NOVA award book (Cub Scout, Boy Scout, and Venturer books) for your unit or per youth — sold in the local Scout shop or at
  3. Review the Award worksheets.  The worksheets are available on the website at link “Want to be a Supernova Mentor of NOVA Counselor? 
  4. Recruit an adult to be the Unit STEM Coordinator.  STEM professional background is optional. 
  5. Get familiar about the NOVA program resources on at the council’s STEM Page  and at
  6. Recruit adults with a STEM background to be Supernova Mentors. They will need to apply through the district STEM Coordinator or district advancement chairman.  Form Forms are turned in to the district STEM Coordinator.  Go to the link for the paperwork.
  7. Find online training for STEM counselors, mentors, and for general information at .
  8. Supernova mentors nearby can be found through the district STEM Coordinator or the Council STEM Coordinator.
  9. Turn in awards timely at the Scout Shops — Internet Advancement Report form.  Be sure to get the paperwork to your district STEM Coordinator.   
  10. Attend roundtables to learn about STEM resources and be a fan of the BSA STEM Facebook and Council Facebook page.  Network.
  11. Check out the cool events taking place around the council.  The Scouter Digest, Capital Comments, and e-Newsletters occasionally list events. 
  12. Lastly,  catch up with your district STEM Coordinator, District Executive, etc. to find out more about local resources.   Here are some resources that I have used in the past:  
      1. If you live in Maryland, you should attend the Montgomery County Parks and Recreation’s annual Educators' Open House, usually scheduled in October each year at Brookside Gardens Visitor Center.  Regional science and environmental education providers will present the latest in science, technology, and environmental programs.  Attendees will have a chance to talk with presenters and review resources from a wide range of area experts.  Please call the Brookside Garden Visitor Center for more information.
      2. Another resource is the US Science and Engineering Festival Webpage,   Join their listserv to get information about local STEM events.     Plan to attend the festival.  You can get a directory of the vendors as well as contacts of local organizations.  Network.
      3. Visit the State of Maryland Website and Search on STEM.
      4. Visit Fairfax Family Fun Website, search on STEM.
      5. Contact local schools, government agencies, and universities.  Some organizations have open house and public STEM events.   For example, University of Maryland has Maryland Days and George Washington University has SHARE Fairs.  Both are FREE events for the public to experience innovative, fun, hands-on, interactive STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education methods and activities.
  13.   Information empowers.   

Tags:  Program  STEM  Unit Coordinator 

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STEM Ideas: Helpful Hints for Scouts and Venturers

Posted By Kevin Hopson, Friday, February 20, 2015

1.       Visit Your Local Library...    Montgomery County Public Libraries offer free and equal access to services and resources to complete requirements.

   i.      All BSA Nova Awards (Cub Scout, Boy Scout, and Venturer) have a reading or watching requirement.

       ii.      Most topics can be researched and investigated here.

       iii.     Many branches have special tools e.g. STEM Go Kits and other electronic resources.  

** The STEM Go Kits are STEM tools with an I-Pad Mini for Cub Scouts.  These kits will help your scouts become excited about Science, Technology, Engineering and Math – without costing you a fortune.   A parent has to be present to check out the kit.  Bring your library card

** Ask the librarians and tech representative about their online resources and applications.

2.       Attend Scout Camp – Some belt loops, pins, merit badges, or STEM activities offered at camp may be applied to Nova and Supernova Award requirements. 

3.       Monitor Council Websites for Upcoming STEM Events – Watch for upcoming events posted on the NCAC STEM Page:

Tags:  Boy Scouts  Cub Scouts  STEM  Venturers 

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Nova Award - Swing! Ideas

Posted By Kevin Hopson, Monday, February 16, 2015

How can my scouts earn the STEM NOVA Engineering Award – SWING!?     Here are some ideas to consider. 

Before you start, you will need to have a registered Nova Counselor or several counselors.

Nova Award requirements are found here:  There are things that the scouts and their Nova Counselor or Counselors must do.

How many scouts have a Minecraft program, watch a television show, seen online videos of trains or machinery, or read a book or magazine?  Remember those love Toy Trains Video Series.    If not, video, applications, and books on many topics may be found at your local library.   

A scout has to complete one belt loop from the following list: badminton, Baseball, BB-gun Shooting, Fishing, Golf, Hockey, Mathematics, Softball, Table Tennis, Tennis, or Ultimate (Golf or Frisbee).   Did your scouts attend Day Camp?  If not, belt loops can be earned quickly depending on the subject.    

Levers Lab and Catapult Corner

If you live close to a place with levers, such as a playground or carpenter shop, great.  If not, you may create or set up your own lever lab at the location where you meet.  You want to consider splitting the pack into dens - some visit the Lever Lab, while other scouts visit the Catapult Corner to create and design their catapults and participate in a game.    Several requirements are related to the concept and application of levers in the Cub Scout NOVA Swing Program.  

Many of the items that you will need for the activities are found in your homes.  The activities may be modified and performed at another function.   These activities may be used to accomplish Requirements 3, 4, 5, and 6.  

Ask an Akela to create large posters of each class of levers to illustrate their differences.    There are many illustrations on “three classes of levers” on the web.   

In the meantime, here are the classes and examples: 

Class-1 levers

In a class-1 lever, the force you apply is on the opposite side of the fulcrum to the force you produce. A first class lever has the fulcrum in the middle.  Examples are a see-saw, a pair of scissors, a balance scale and, a crowbar. 

Class-2 levers

A class-2 lever is arranged a slightly different way, with the fulcrum at one end. The second class lever has the resistance in the middle.  You apply force at the other end and the force you produce is in the middle.   Foot (Raising toes up) were you looking for something creates a class 2 lever.  Nutcrackers, garlic presses, bottle opener, staplers, and wheelbarrows are all examples of class-2 levers:

Class-3 levers

A class-3 lever is different again. Like a class-2 lever, it has the fulcrum at one end. But the two forces switch around. A third class lever has the force effort in the middle.  Class-3 levers are unlike other machines in that they reduce the force you apply, giving you much greater control. Fishing pole, baseball bat, hockey stick, broom, tweezers, and salad or barbeque tongs and catapults are an example of class-3 levers.

Ask scout leaders and parents to bring scissors, hammer, tongs, screwdrivers, wrenches, a balance scale, a crowbar, nutcrackers, a garlic press, a can/bottle opener, a stapler, a wheelbarrow, a fishing pole, a baseball bat, a hockey stick, a broom, a tweezers, salad or barbeque tongs, pencils, pens, etc.  Please label your items if necessary.  

Give each den enough paper for the scouts to draw the items and identify the class of lever.  Pencil and Pens are class-3 levers too: by pivoting them on our hands and holding them in the middle, we get much more control over the nib or ballpoint.

Ask scouts to identify the type of each lever in the room and have them draw or list the items by type (Class 1, 2, or 3).   

To make a catapult, each scout will need the following items:

  • A wire clothes hanger

  • Four thick rubber bands (two No. 64 are need for the catapult, extras are used if one or more break).

  • One plastic spoon

  • 12x12” aluminum foil sheet to tear and make small balls (pellets) from the crumpled round foil to toss from the catapult.

  • Small marshmallows (option)

  • Tape measurer, to determine the distances of the throws (4 feet)

  • Shoebox or large gift box, to catch the aluminum foil balls or pellets

Please be sure to have a tarp or large plastic sheet for the floor if you plan to use marshmallows.

Encourage each scout to perfect the standard design to perform better.   

Always play safe. 


Tags:  Award Ideas  Cub Scouts  Nova Counselor  STEM 

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Example of Cub Scout Pack STEM Calendar

Posted By Kevin Hopson, Monday, February 16, 2015
Updated: Monday, February 16, 2015

Here is an example of a Cub Scout Pack STEM Calendar. 

Month (Year)

STEM (activity)


Wildlife Conservation (Patuxent Wildlife Conservation and Recreation Day)

Evening Hike to observe owls and bats




Chemistry ( Dry Ice and Slime Projects, including bouncing balls)


Mathematics (Probability games; secret codes)


Physics : Gravity (marble races, marble shoots)


Astronomy (night hike))


Machines (pinewood derby races)


Structures (card houses, LEGOs)


Archaeology (Gem, Mineral, and Fossil Show)


Aviation (Aviation Museum)


Aeronautics/Space Travel (Model Rocketry)


Paleontology (Dinosaur Park)


Please check the Scouting Magazine Blog, Why every Scout unit needs a STEM Coordinator; for resources and other ideas. 



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Cub Scout Roundtable - February 11, 2015

Posted By Theresa GarciaParks, Wednesday, February 11, 2015

It's time again for Cub Scout Roundtable!

Join us this Wednesday, February 11 at 7:30 p.m. at The People's Community Baptist Church,  31 Norwood Rd, Silver Spring, MD 20905

Join us for food, fun and helpful tips to really make your Pack shine! This month's theme is:

                                                        Be Aware and Care
                                             Inline image
March Core Value: Compassion
For the next 6 months, we'll be going over the upcoming changes to the Cub Scout Program. The new program takes effect on June 1, 2015.

This month, which is the second of the series, we'll cover Program Planning. Instead of a breakout session, we'll have everyone in the together so that everyone in each pack receives the same information. We'll also have an overview of other changes, which includes one oath for Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts. We'll have our regular training session and lots of great information to really make your pack and den meetings great!

Also, join us for information about Cub Scout Day Camp and other camping opportunities. Registration is now open.

And in case you can't join us this Wednesday, here is a link to Baloo's Bugle for this month:

Other documents will be posted on the White Oak Events for Cubs and Cubbers section, located here:

Note, you can pick up Camp Cards at Roundtable as well. These cards can be sold and your unit keeps half the profit! Even if you didn't order camp cards you can sign up and take cards home from Roundtable at the end of the evening. See District Executive Michael Werling at Roundtable.

Please pass this information along to your den leaders and assistant den leaders as well as Cubmasters. Let them know that they are welcome to join us every month as well! Everyone who attends is eligible for our door prize drawing!

Theresa Garcia-Parks
Vice-Chairman, Camping
Cub Scout Day Camp Director
Acting Cub Scout Roundtable Commissioner
White Oak District
National Capital Area Council

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2015 White Oak District Pinewood Derbry Registration

Posted By Theresa GarciaParks, Saturday, February 07, 2015



Please bring your winning cars from your Pack’s Pinewood Derby and spend a fast-paced day full of fun, racing, and awards at this year’s district pinewood derby!!


-  Parents, sponsoring adults, leaders, friends, guests, and others are welcome on race day.

-  Awards for Top Racer for each scout rank – Tiger, Wolf, Bear, Webelos 1 & 2 and

   overall district.


YES – former Webelos 2’s who have just recently bridged to Boy Scouts

can still participate in the Derby as Webelos 2’s.

-        Awards for appearance cars as well as fastest appearance car.

-        All cars must comply with the 2015 White Oak District Pinewood Derby Rules.

-        There will be hot dogs and other refreshments available for purchase.


DATE:              Saturday, March 14, 2015

PLACE:            White Oak Middle School

12201 New Hampshire Avenue NortheastSilver Spring, Maryland 20904 (in the Gym)


TIME:              Check-in & Inspection between 11:30 AM – 12:30 PM

(please arrive on time) racing begins promptly at 12:45 PM


COST:             Registration fee is $38.00 per Pack (6 cars) or $8.00 per car if a Pack

                       does not have 6 cars to enter (Max fee $38.00).


To win the White Oak District Cup, a Pack must enter race cars from each level (one car each for Tiger, Wolf, Bear, WEB I, and WEB II Dens


Please register online no later than 8PM on 3/10/15


If you cannot register online, you can use attached form to enter.

Download File (PDF)

Tags:  Cub Scouts  Pinewood Derby  White Oak District 

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Cub Scout Day Camp

Posted By Theresa GarciaParks, Wednesday, February 04, 2015

Registration for Cub Scout Day Camp is now open:


You'll find forms and links to registration there.


Theresa Garcia-Parks

Vice-Chairman, Camping

White Oak District

Lois Green CSDC Director

National Capital Area Council




Tags:  Cub Scout Day Camp 

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University of Scouting

Posted By Theresa GarciaParks, Wednesday, February 04, 2015

Save the Date: February 28, 2015

7:30 A.M.—5:00 P.M.


Hayfield Secondary School

7630 Telegraph Road, Alexandria, VA


Tuition: $30 by midnight 2/22/15; $45 after          


Online registration will be available in early January 2015 and closes at midnight on Sunday, February 22, 2015.


Link to register and for more information:

Tags:  Baloo Training  Cubmaster training  Den Leader training  Leader Training 

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February Roundtable Materials, Continued - Baloo's Bugle

Posted By Theresa GarciaParks, Wednesday, February 04, 2015
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February Roundtable Materials

Posted By Theresa GarciaParks, Wednesday, February 04, 2015
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