Home | Calendar | Press Room | About Us | Contact Us



STEM Overview

What is STEM?

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. Did you know that STEM program has existed in the Boy Scouts of America since the very beginning of our program?  Some of the very first merit badges were STEM related; they just weren’t referred to that way.  A great example is Computers merit badge which has been offered since 1968.  That’s much earlier than computers were adopted in the mainstream, and we have continued to be cutting edge including the recent release of the Robotics Merit Badge. From archery to welding, Scouts cannot 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.



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.


Ten-year employment projections by the U.S. Department of Labor show that of the 20 fastest-growing occupations projected for 2014, 15 of them require significant mathematics or science preparation.


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.


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. 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. Discover how the Nova Awards program helps youth be "Prepared. For Life. The requirements are listed in the “BSA Cub, Boy and Venturing NOVA Awards Guidebook”.


NOVA Awards Guidebook: (Available in the Mason Dixon Scout Shop): Lesson plans are in development. Please click the follwing awards to see if they are available to assist you in earning the award.

  • 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 

The SUPERNOVA Award program is similar to the BSA Hornaday Award Program and is designed to encourage and recognize more in-depth measurable achievements in STEM. The basic requirements include earning certain Academic Pins for Cub Scouts, Activity Badges for Webelos and Merit Badges for Boy Scouts, plus complete additional, more rigorous STEM related requirements. The Supernova awards are offered for those who enjoy a super challenge.  The requirements are listed in the “BSA Cub, Boy and Venturing NOVA Awards Guidebook”. The Venturing requirements are based on more independent achievement and teaching activities. The SUPERNOVA awards are medals on neck ribbons.



For more information about STEM and the Nova Awards program, visit www.scouting.org/stem


Be a part of FUTURE HAPPENING right-here right-NOW.


STEM Educational Hope


STEM Job Dreams


STEM BSA Reality


STEM Resources:


Cub Scouts


Boy Scouts/Varsity Scouts




Award Programs

Site Map ~ Privacy Policy

Copyright © 2003-2014 Mason-Dixon Council, Boy Scouts of America, All Rights Reserved.
(301) 739-1211 ~ 18600 Crestwood Drive, Hagerstown, MD 21742