STEM/NOVA Pilot Program

Post date: Feb 16, 2011 7:27:54 PM

Update: first STEM/NOVA meeting will be Thursday, March 17th at the Country Lane Elementary MU Room. Stay tuned for additional information!

As it begins its next 100 years, Scouting is looking to bring focus and recognition to broader skills that are relevant and needed in our competitive world.

Boy Scouts of America is working with NASA and ExxonMobil Corporation to develop programs that encourage active interest by young people in the "STEM" fields of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics.

This new program, called "NOVA", is being piloted in just eight councils across the country, and our Santa Clara Council has been selected to participate. The other 7 councils are:

  • Blue Ridge Council – Greenville SC
  • Great Smoky Mountains Council – Knoxville TN
  • Piedmont Council – Gastonia NC
  • Circle Ten Council – Dallas TX
  • Revolutionary Trails Council – Utica NY
  • Simon Kenton Council – Columbus OH
  • Cascade Pacific Council – Portland OR

Pack 325 will be participating in this exciting Scouting development! Right now this is a pilot and so we'll be providing feedback on our experiences. It will be rolled out scouting-wide this summer/fall!

So what does this mean for our pack? First, we're looking for Wolf, Bear and Webelos scouts who are interested in participating in our pack pilot now through May. We have a sign-up available at the Blue and Gold Dinner tonight; please sign up if you are interested. Given the busy den agendas now through the end of the school year to support rank advancement, we will be running this pilot as an extra scouting activity outside of the dens. It will involve some extra time commitments for extra meetings and activities.

There are four themes to the NOVA program – Math, Motion, Science and Technology. We would like to work through at least two of these programs and have chosen Science and Technology. Each component typically has three pieces to it:

  • a classroom type learning meeting that would involve watching a science show and discussing as a group
  • completing a STEM-related belt loop or academic pin per theme (for example, we can choose from photography, computers, video games, astronomy, music for technology)
  • hands-on activity – which could be a science experiment-like activity or a go-see-it to a local tech-related site (museum, etc.)

Scouts who participate and complete one or more themes will achieve special recognition in their advancement ceremony and will earn a special badge.

This is an exciting new Scouting development and we get to participate in with just a handful of other scouts before it is rolled out nationwide later this year. Based on the success of the pilot program and our feedback this could be an exciting new part of scouting next year!

If you are interested please sign up and attend our first NOVA meeting which will be part organizational as well as starting with our first requirement. It will be held the week after Country Lane's winter break on Tuesday, March 1st Thursday, March 17th. Additional program and schedule information will be available then.

We will be starting with the Technology theme which we expect to take 3 to 4 meetings to complete, and then starting on the Science theme. Josh Grossman will be running two science-oriented meetings for Webelos I in late March and will be opening those meetings up to our pack's NOVA participants to accomplish some of these Science theme requirements.