The Nova Awards

NOVA award patchThere are four Nova awards for Cub Scouts, Webelos Scouts, Boy Scouts, and Venturers. Each award covers one component of STEM—science, technology, engineering, or mathematics.

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 Nova awards: Launch!, Power Up, Hang On!, and Numbers Don’t Lie

For their first Nova award, Scouts earn the distinctive Nova award pipatch. 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.

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.

For Wolf and Bear Cub Scouts: Dr. Louis Alvarez Supernova Award
For Webelos Scouts: Dr. Charles H. Townes Supernova Award
For Boy Scouts: Dr. Bernard Harris Supernova Bronze Award
Thomas Edison Supernova Silver Award
For Venturers: Dr. Sally Ride Supernova Bronze Award
Wright Brothers Supernova Silver Award
Dr. Albert Einstein Supernova Gold Award

For earning the Supernova award, Scouts receive a medal and certificate.

All requirements may be found in the Nova awards guidebooks, available through local Scout shops—one for Cub Scouts, one for Boy Scouts, and one for Venturers. The requirements can be completed with a parent or an adult leader as the counselor (for the Nova awards) or mentor (for the Supernova awards). Each guidebook includes a section for the counselor and mentor.

Supernova Application

A Counselor is required to help a Scout complete the requirements for a Nova award.  Any registered Scouter who has completed Youth Protection Training can be a counselor for the NOVA awards with unit approval – there is no paperwork for this process.

A Mentor is required for the Supernova award (on all program levels), Mentors must be registered Scouters who have completed Youth Protection Training and must be approved by the STEM/Nova Committee.  A special Supernova Mentor application form is available for this process. Completed applications should be turned into the Scout Service Center for processing.

Mentors should be experienced in a STEM related field (i.e., Scientists, Engineer, Technologists, Science Teachers, Math Teachers, etc.).   Only if a Mentor is willing to work with two or more Scouts on the SUPERNOVA at the same time will the exception of a parent with a STEM background be allowed.  Scouters with a STEM background may work with Scouts in their unit and encouraged as well to work outside of their own unit.

With the introduction of the new Nova and Supernova awards comes a fresh opportunity for volunteer positions. A Nova counselor can be any registered adult age 21 or older. Supernova mentors must be 21 or older and be subject matter experts in a STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) field and be registered under the new Supernova Mentor position code 52. This is a nonunit position and requires no fee. In addition to the BSA Adult Registration form, mentors must complete the Supernova Awards Mentor Information application.

All Nova counselors and Supernova mentors must have current BSA Youth Protection training and certification appropriate for the programs being administered (Cub and Boy Scout Y01, Venturing Y02).

This training can be taken online at

For more information on the Nova counselor and Supernova mentor positions, click on this link to view a PowerPoint presentation.

To take Youth Protection Training, click HERE.

Qualifications for Mentors

Here are some general guidelines.


Cub Scout Mentor – High school or junior high school STEM teacher or someone working in a STEM field who can explain in language that the Scout understands, at the Scout’s level.


Bronze level – High school STEM teacher (possibly the AP level teacher) or someone working in the field who can explain in language that the Scout understands, at the Scout’s level. This mentor should be able explain concepts in depth and have knowledge of where to access additional resources.


Silver level – Depending on the Scout’s STEM background, at least the mentor level of bronze and possibly up to the level of a gold mentor.


Gold level – If possible, a college professor, grad student, or Ph.D. in the field that understands how a youth thinks and who can relate to pre-college and early undergraduate youth.


Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) are considered by many to be the foundation of an advanced society.  In many forums – including political, governmental, and academic – the strength of the STEM workforce is viewed as an indicator of a nation’s ability to sustain itself.

To engage our youth members in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, the Boy Scouts of America has created new program initiatives that emphasizes STEM in the context of the current advancement programs.

The BSA’s STEM initiative gives Scouts an opportunity to explore relevant skills and experiences and to be recognized for their achievements. The aim is to expose youth to new opportunities and help them develop the STEM skills critical for the competitive world marketplace.

A council STEM committee is being formed with the goal of supporting the STEM initiative and promoting STEM activities throughout Simon Kenton Council.  Scouters or community members interested in participating should contact Program Director, Ryan Bauman at 614-310-1554, for more information.

Nova Award Worksheets for Cub Scouts and Webelos

Cub Scout Science – Science Everywhere

Cub Scout Technology – Tech Talk

Cub Scout Engineering – Swing!

Cub Scout Mathematics – 1-2-3 Go!

Cub Scout Earth Science – Down and Dirty

Cub Scout Wildlife and the natural world around you – Nova Wild!

Cub Scout Space Exploration – Out of this World

Supernova Awards for Cub Scouts and Webelos

Dr. Luis W. Alvarez Cub Scout Supernova Award Workbook

Dr. Charles H Townes Webelos Scout Supernova Award Workbook

Supernova Award Application

STEM Belt Loops, Pins, and Activity Badges
For Cub Scouts and Webelos Scouts

Summary Sheet


Nova Award Worksheets for Boy Scouts

Boy Scout Science – Shoot!

Boy Scout Technology – Start Your Engines

Boy Scout Engineering – Whoosh!

Boy Scout Mathematics – Designed to Crunch

Boy Scouts Agriculture – Let it Grow!

Supernova Awards for Boy Scouts

Dr. Bernard Harris Supernova Award (First Level Award) Workbook

Thomas Edison Supernova Award (Second Level Award) Workbook

STEM Merit Badges and STEM Venturing Explorations