All about STEM

Learn all about STEM advancement and activities

The BSA's NOVA Awards program incorporates learning with cool activities and exposure to science, technology, engineering and mathematics for Cub Scouts. The hope is that the requirements and activities for earning these awards stimulates interest in STEM-related fields and shows how STEM topics apply to everyday living and the world around them. Counselors and mentors help bring this engaging, contemporary, and fun program to life for youth members.

STEM Activities

Each year, we host a variety of STEM related activities and Merit Badge days. Some events have an advancement component and some are all about having fun while learning about a STEM topic. Our council hosts some events through the year and many others are hosted by community partners such as businesses and colleges.

To look for the most up-to-date list of events and activities, check out our STEM section on Northern Star Scouting's Stuff to Do page​.

The Nova Awards

Each Nova award covers one component of STEM'science, technology, engineering, or mathematics. 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 (π) 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.

Nova Requirement

The Supernova Awards

The Supernova awards have more rigorous requirements than the Nova awards. The requirements and activities were designed to motivate youth and recognize more in-depth, advanced achievement in STEM-related activities.

Supernova Requirements

Other Resources

There are countless resources out there for STEM activities to do at the Cub Scout, Boy Scout, or Venturing ages. These resources range from program outlines to field trip ideas. You can also find a variety of workbooks that have been created for Scouts working through Merit Badges, Adventures, or other advancement. Google is going to be the best tool for finding these resources.

For complete and up to date Nova and Supernova requirements and links to other resources, visit the BSA's STEM website.

BSA STEM website


Are you a subject matter expert in a STEM-related field, such as an engineer, chemist, or medical professional?  If so, we need your help in supporting area Scouts seeking to earn Supernova Awards.  As the next step in the STEM advancement program, Supernova Awards require that Scouts...Supernova Mentors are registered at the council-level, and require the following to be registered:

  • Must be age 21 or older.
  • Must be subject matter experts in a STEM-related field. 
  • Register as a Supernova Mentor (position code 52, no registration fee) using the BSA Adult Application.
  • Must complete the Supernova Award Mentor Information formand submit to either the council service center or Activities and STEM Director. 
  • Must complete the BSA's Youth Protection Training. 
  • Must complete the STEM Supernova Mentor Training that is available through the BSA Learn Center on  (listed under STEM in Scouting)​, or in-person during the University of Scouting.   ​

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All about STEM