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STEM Awards, Recognition, and Events

The Nova Awards

There are multiple Nova awards for each level: Cub Scouts, Webelos Scouts, Scouts BSA, and Sea Scouts and Venturers.

Each award covers one specific subfield of a Science-Technology-Engineering-Mathematics (STEM) subject area.  Upon earning their first Nova award, Scouts receive the distinctive Nova Award patch. For each Nova earned after that, a Scout earns a separate pi (π) pin-on device that attaches to the patch.  In 2019 BSA introduced more Nova Awards beyond the original one award per subfield.    There are now 10 Nova awards for Cub Scouts (Wolf and Bear levels) and Webelos Scouts,  8 Nova Awards for Scouts BSA, and 7 Nova Awards for Venturers and Sea Scouts.   A list of the awards is delineated below.

The Supernova Awards

The Supernova awards have more rigorous and comprehensive requirements than the Nova awards.  BSA designed the Supernova awards to motivate Scouts to achieve advanced recognition in area of STEM.   There is one Supernova award for Wolf and Bear Cub Scouts, and one for Webelos Scouts, two Supernova awards are available to Scouts who have earned First Class rank, and three Supernova awards are available to Venturers and Sea Scouts. Some scouts have chosen to work on the requirements parallel with their core scout program.

For Wolf and Bear Cub Scouts:

  • Dr. Louis Alvarez Supernova Award

For Scouts BSA:

  • Dr. Bernard Harris Supernova Bronze Award
  • Thomas Edison Supernova Silver Award
For Webelos Scouts:

  • Dr. Charles H. Townes Supernova Award

For Venturers and Sea Scouts:

  • Dr. Sally Ride Supernova Bronze Award
  • Wright Brothers Supernova Silver Award
  • Dr. Albert Einstein Supernova Gold Award

Where can I learn about the requirements?

Requirements may be found in the Nova awards guidebooks, available through our local Scout shop https://www.ncacbsa.org/about-ncac/scout-store/ or online at https://www.scoutshop.org/ .  The requirements can be completed with a parent or an adult leader as a registered counselor (for the Nova awards) or registered mentor (for the Supernova awards).  Each guidebook includes a section for the counselor and mentor.  You can also find more on each of the Nova and Supernova awards at BSA’s official website, https://www.scouting.org/stem-nova-awards/ or local Council Webpage,  https://www.ncacbsa.org/activitiesevents/stem/ They are also available on the US Scouting Service Project, a website created by Scouters for Scouters, http://www.usscouts.org/advance/nova/index.asp.  The site created workbooks for use in documenting the progress of the Scout towards earning a specific Nova or Supernova award.   The workbooks are located at the bottom of the website.

Supernova Progress Tracking Guides

When Scouts earn the Supernova award, they receive a certificate and a medal.

Here is a Troop Guide to Nova Awards: https://filestore.scouting.org/filestore/stem/pdf/514-052(17)STEM_NovaActivies.pdf

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