STEM Program

STEM—Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics

STEM is part of an initiative the Boy Scouts of America has taken on to encourage the natural curiosity of youth members and their sense of wonder about these fields through existing programs. From archery to welding, Scouts can’t help but enjoy the wide range of STEM-related activities. To support this initiative, the BSA developed the STEM Nova Awards program so that youth members have fun and receive recognition for their efforts.

Why STEM?

We live in a time of great opportunity. The spirit of innovation can help us overcome challenges and ensure a prosperous and secure future. To seize this opportunity, we must position ourselves at the cutting edge of scientific discovery and technological innovation.

Yet our country is falling behind in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. This is why many professionals and educators in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics believe the United States should do more now than ever to encourage students to enter STEM-related fields. These experts say our young people need strong STEM skills to compete in the world market. We must work together to cultivate the next generation of critical thinkers and innovators.

STEM is the Future

Fostering a strong STEM education is our best opportunity to boost the spirit of innovation. It’s what we need to help ensure this country continues on a prosperous and secure journey. STEM literacy is also critical because it has a profound and growing impact on our day-to-day lives. Nature, space exploration, and any STEM-related interest reveals to us the beauty and power of the world we inhabit.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the District’s STEM Coordinator:

Andrew Meikle (link to district STEM email address: gm.stem.advancement@gmail.com)

The NCAC STEM webpage can be found here.

Nova Awards

What are the STEM Nova Awards?

Scouts BSA developed the STEM Nova Awards program to excite and expand a sense of wonder in our Scouts. By working with an adult counselor or mentor, the various modules allow them to explore the basic principles of STEM and discover how fun and fascinating STEM can be. The Supernova awards are offered for those who enjoy a super challenge. Discover how the STEM Nova Awards program helps youth be “Prepared. For Life.”

Award requirements for Cubs Scouts; Scouts BSA; and Venturing & Sea Scouts: Award Requirements | Boy Scouts of America (scouting.org)

Currently, the District maintains the list of Nova and Supernova counselors/mentors. If a Scout needs information about a specific award, the Scout can contact their troop leadership or the George Mason District STEM Coordinator (note emails should include two adults – no one-on-one contact for electronic media). If an adult leader is interested in becoming a Nova award counselor/mentor, please reach out to the STEM Coordinator. The requirements for becoming a Nova counselor can be found here: Counselors & Mentors | Boy Scouts of America (scouting.org).

STEM Scouts

STEM Scouts helps girls and boys learn about science, technology, engineering and math through creative, hands-on activities, field trips and interaction with STEM professionals.

A coed program of Scouts, BSA, STEM Scouts offers a scouting experience with less emphasis on the outdoors. STEM Scouts follows the Scout Oath and Law with the goal of producing young men and women who are leaders, display confidence, realize their skills and limitations, are respectful of others’ opinions, are problem solvers in all aspects of life, look for opportunities to serve others, are good citizens and demonstrate integrity in all phases of life.

In the STEM Scouts program, educational content, developed and vetted by STEM educators, is designed to be immersive and to inspire teamwork, problem solving and independent thinking. Through hands-on activities delivered directly to the unit, this 26-week program is ultimately designed to be challenging, thought-provoking and, especially, fun.

If you are interested in learning more about the program, visit Science Technology Engineering Math – STEM Scouts (scouting.org) or S.T.E.M. – National Capital Area Council (ncacbsa.org). NCAC currently has STEM Scout Labs open for Scouts in grades 3-8. If you would like to join a STEM Scout Lab or have additional questions, reach out to 240.395.0601 or stem@ncacbsa.org.

Resources/Helpful Links

NCAC STEM: STEM Speaker Series – National Capital Area Council (ncacbsa.org)

Nova Awards: STEM Nova Awards | Boy Scouts of America (scouting.org)

STEM Scouts: Science Technology Engineering Math – STEM Scouts (scouting.org)

NCAC STEM Scouts: s.t.e.m – National Capital Area Council (ncacbsa.org)

Scouts BSA STEM activities to do at home: STEM Programs Archives | Boy Scouts of America (scouting.org)

Nova Award resources from the Capitol Area Council, TX: Resources for Units | BSA STEM NOVA

STEM activities to do at home from the Capitol Area Council, TX: Online Resources | BSA STEM NOVA

STEM Scouts YouTube channel: STEMScouts – YouTube

STEM articles and experiments from Scout Life magazine: Science – Scout Life magazine

STEM at NASA: Explore NASA STEM | NASA

NASA JPL STEM activities: Activities for Students – NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory