STEM: Science, Technology, Engineering, Math

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 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.

What Are the Nova Awards?

The Boy Scouts of America developed the Nova Awards program to excite and expand a sense of wonder in our Scouts.

The Boy Scouts of America's NOVA Awards program incorporates learning with cool activities and exposure to science, technology, engineering and mathematics for Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, and Venturers. 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 Nova Awards

There are four Nova awards for Cub Scouts, Webelos Scouts, Boy Scouts, and Venturers. Each award covers one component of STEM - science, technology, engineering, or mathematics.

  • Cub Scout Nova awards: Science Everywhere, Tech Talk, Swing!, and 1-2-3 Go!
  • Boy Scout Nova awards: Shoot!, Start Your Engines, Whoosh!, and Designed to Crunch
  • Venturer Scout Nova awards: Launch!, Power Up, Hang On!, and Numbers Don't Lie
Nova pi

For their first Nova award, Scouts earn the distinctive Nova award patch. After that, a Scout can earn three more Nova awards, each one recognized with a separate pi pin-on device that attaches to the patch. The patch and the three devices represent each of the four STEM topics - science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

The Supernova Awards

The Supernova awards have more rigorous requirements than the Nova awards, and for those who enjoy a super challenge. The requirements and activities were imagesed to motivate youth and recognize more in-depth, advanced achievement in STEM-related activities. "Prepared For Life."

Supernova For Wolf and Bear Cub Scouts Dr. Louis Alvarez Supernova Award
For Webelos Scouts Dr. Charles H. Townes Supernova Award
For Boy Scouts Dr. Bernard Harris Supernova Bronze Award

Thomas Edison Supernova Silver Award
For Venturers Dr. Sally Ride Supernova Bronze Award

Wright Brothers Supernova Silver Award

Dr. Albert Einstein Supernova Gold Award