STEM in Your Unit

Integrate the STEM NOVA Program into your Unit

The national BSA NOVA program was designed to be implemented at the Unit level and integrated into your traditional Scouting program. You can bring STEM directly to your Den, Troop, or Crew to help your Scouts earn the NOVA and Supernova awards. Utilize the resources below to get started, and never hesitate to reach out to us with your questions!


Familiarize yourself with the BSA NOVA program here. You can also purchase the NOVA Books for Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, & Venturers here or at the BSA Scout Shop in your area. You find worksheets for each of the NOVA & Supernova awards here.


Unit Coordinator – Take the lead on bringing STEM to your Unit by becoming knowledgeable about the NOVA program and STEM opportunities.

NOVA Counselor – Train to become a NOVA Counselor, and help your Scouts earn their NOVA awards (STEM expertise not required!). Click here for additional resources.

Supernova Mentor – Train to become a Supernova Mentor, and help area Scouts earn our most prestigious STEM awards (STEM expertise preferred). Click here for additional resources.



Council Events– Earn NOVA & STEM-based Merit Badges/Adventures at Council-coordinated STEM events at the Irvine Ranch Outdoor Education Center.

Supernova Mentors – Find & contact Supernova Mentors for your ambitious Scouts.

STEM Chairs – Each District will have a STEM Chair who can provide you information on the NOVA program, Council STEM events, and how to promote STEM in your Unit. We are busy recruiting these individuals. Please stay tuned for a list later this summer. To contact our council STEM committee, click here.


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STEM has always been a part of Scouting since the first Merit Badges were introduced in 1911 – Chemistry has been there since the beginning! With the increasing demand for STEM skills and knowledge of STEM fields in the workforce, it’s more important than ever to help Scouts find the passion and excitement to pursue these fields in a fun and engaging way.

With STEM jobs on the rise, the renewed focus of Scouts BSA on STEM merit badges and activities will better enable your son or daughter to Be Prepared for the growing demand of skilled, knowledgeable graduates for college and beyond.

Obtaining STEM skills and exposure at an early age is more important than ever – Scouts BSA has the tools and resources to help Scouts be better leaders in these fields today.

Learn about STEM in your Unit

Get the basics about the BSA NOVA program here. You can purchase the NOVA Books for Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, & Venturers at the BSA Scout Shop in your area, or you can purchase them online from ScoutShop. You can find worksheets for each of the NOVA & Supernova awards in the links below.

Cub Scouts –> List of Awards –> Worksheets

Scouts BSA –> List of Awards –> Worksheets

Venturers | Sea Scouts  –> List of Awards –> Worksheets

STEM Merit Badges

With over 60 merit badges directly and indirectly related to STEM, young people have an excellent opportunity to choose an interest and learn more about several subjects including Astronomy, Animal Science, Programming, Robotics, Digital Technology, Aviation, Chemistry, Environmental Science, Fire Safety, Geology, Insect Study, Nuclear Science and more. 

STEM in Scouting

STEM merit badges in scouting are a vital component to helping introduce young people to skills and careers related to STEM — science, technology, engineering and math. These skills will be crucial when it’s time to apply for college and for jobs. There are more STEM jobs than there are qualified candidates these days, so the need is real. Looking at the data, and growing up in an ever-increasing digital world, one thing is clear: STEM is here to stay, and the BSA will help connect people to STEM in ways no other youth-serving organization can.

STEM jobs are growing at 1.7 times the rate of non-STEM jobs, and the U.S. is simply not producing enough candidates to fill them. – CNN Money American 15-year-olds rank 17th in science and 25th in math compared to their peers in other countries. -US Department of Education STEM occupations are projected to grow by 17% from 2008 to 2018, compared to 9.8% growth for non-STEM occupations. – US Department of Commerce
Even for students with undergraduate STEM degrees, only HALF are still in a STEM occupation 10 years after graduation. – Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce In 2011, fewer than one-third of eighth graders tested demonstrated proficiency in science. – US Department of Education The US ranks 20th internationally in the number of graduate degrees awarded in STEM subjects. – US Department of Education


How does Scouting prepare young people for futures in STEM?

  • A wide-reaching Merit Badge program that includes over 60 merit badges relating to STEM and its effects on our world today.
  • Partnering with local and regional experts in STEM to ensure our youth are getting the latest and greatest info.
  • The Nova/Supernova Awards Program is a great way to increase STEM participation, and to expose young people to a wide variety of fields to expose their unique interests.
  • Robust STEM programs at the BSA’s national high-adventure bases. The Summit Bechtel Reserve, for example, offers STEM merit badges, and Philmont Scout Ranch has special STEM Treks for members of troops, crews, teams or ships.
  • By incorporating STEM elements throughout all Scouting programs, the BSA is helping young people become Prepared. For Life. Through STEM.

Final Thought

With a renewed, heavy emphasis on STEM, the BSA is doubling down on its efforts to deliver programs that meet the needs of today’s young people wherever they are.

By incorporating STEM elements throughout all programs, the BSA is helping young people become Prepared. For Life. Through STEM.