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Using STEM in Your Unit

STEM provides great opportunities to extend your program to include more technology.  This is a powerpoint in PDF format for sharing information with your unit committee and leaders.  STEM/Nova in your unit.


Recruit a Unit Coordinator for STEM/Nova

The specific job responsibilities can be flexible depending on Unit needs but typically involve:

  • Be knowledgeable of the Nova Awards program
  • Promote the Nova Awards program at Unit meetings to the Scouts and parents/leaders
  • Help Scouts with ideas on how they can earn the Nova and Supernova awards
  • Work with leaders (youth and adults) to add fun STEM activities to meetings and outings or STEM Moments
  • Be aware of all STEM and Nova activities offered by local, regional and national Scouting organizations
  • Be aware of STEM programs offered by local non-Scouting partner organizations
  • Connect youth with a Nova counselor or Supernova Mentor

This may require:

  • Contacting the local council to see who is registered as Supernova Mentors
  • Recruiting Nova Counselors for your Unit
  • Recruiting Supernova Mentors for your District
  • Ensuring Nova Counselors and Supernova Mentors are properly registered and trained
  • Serving as the unit contact person for all things STEM related

The STEM Coordinator will work with the youth and adult leadership of the unit to integrate STEM and Nova activities into the program. Here’s how:

  • Represent STEM when building the Annual Program Plan.
  • Offer ways to integrate Nova award activities into the program.
  • Offer the STEM programs of local partner organizations.
  • Learn about the STEM activities offered in the district and council.
  • Consider whether Novas are available at day camp or summer camp. Is there a STEM camporee coming?
  • Learn about STEM activities offered by local partner organizations. Many schools, museums, government organizations, professional societies and business groups offer STEM activities, and we have the participants. For example, the American Chemical Society offers a Kids ‘n’ Chemistry program and will supply trained professionals to lead hands-on experiments at a meeting.
  • Learn about STEM programs offered by BSA, such as STEM treks at the national high-adventure bases. Share these opportunities with the Scouts and leaders and encourage participation. For example: There are training courses for adult leaders at Philmont Training Center and Sea Base.

Recuit one or more Nova Counselor for your Unit

Every unit needs a registered Nova Counselor that can sign-off the worksheet for the scout completing the NOVA modules.  For more information on Nova Counselors select here.


Can you offer Nova Modules to Groups?

Yes, as long as you are careful that each youth demonstrates completion of each requirement.   Many elements of the Nova Awards are ideal for group activities, especially visits to STEM destinations and participation in hands-on activities.  However, each youth must demonstrate completion of each requirement, independent of the other youth in the unit.  There are many ways in which group activities derail this intent, so special care must be taken to ensure that each youth has the opportunity to demonstrate his/her own thoughts, work, efforts, and so on.  For example, many requirements include the directive "discuss with your Nova Counselor".  This means that EACH youth must have a discussion with a Nova Counselor.  A group discussion is not okay, because often one kid dominates, the shy kids don't participate, and any kid who speaks up after the first can essentially say, "I agree with Scout A."  As another example, some requirements ask the youth to build or design a widget.   Again, EACH youth must build or design his/her own widget.  If a group of 4 Scouts works together to build a single widget, that does not qualify the 4 Scouts to each have that requirement checked off.