Above photo courtesy of Times of Northwest Indiana

Cub Scout roundtable is a form of commissioner service and supplemental training for volunteers at the den and pack level.

When you attend your local Cub Scout roundtable, you get an opportunity to share experiences and enjoy fellowship with others. However, whether or not you attend, we hope this post helps you with some program ideas.

This post is intended to give leaders supplemental training on BSA policies and procedures, as well as Cub Scout interest topics and ideas for program such as songs, skits, games, and ceremonies.


Cub Scout Adventures to Highlight in March:

  • Kyle Baker, 10 adjusts a weight while his fellow Cub Scouts Joey Horvath, 6 and Matt Harvenrider, 8 add weights as they trio works on a lever experiment Saturday at The Challenger Learning Center of Northwest Indiana. The center welcomed nearly 100 Calumet Council Cub Scouts as they worked to complete their NOVA path requirements related to STEM - Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.
    Kyle Baker, 10 adjusts a weight while his fellow Cub Scouts Joey Horvath, 6 and Matt Harvenrider, 8 add weights. The trio works on a lever experiment  at The Challenger Learning Center of Northwest Indiana. The center welcomed nearly 100 Calumet Council Cub Scouts as they worked to complete their NOVA path requirements related to STEM – Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.  Photo courtesy of Times of Northwest Indiana

    Tiger—Backyard Jungle; Curiosity, Intrigue, and Magical Mysteries; Sky Is the Limit

  • Wolf—Adventures in Coins; Air of the Wolf; Code of the Wolf; Council Fire; Digging in the Past; Germs Alive!; Grow Something; Motor Away
  • Bear—Baloo the Builder; Forensics; Fur, Feathers, and Ferns; Make It Move; Robotics; Super Science; A World of Sound
  • Webelos Scout/Arrow of Light—Adventures in Science; Build It; Earth Rocks!; Engineer; Into the Wild; Into the Woods

Cub Scout Interest Topic:

STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) receives more and more attention in our advancing world. To empower today’s youth and to meet the challenges of tomorrow’s world, many Cub Scout adventures have STEM components built in. The more exposure a boy receives at an early age to fun activities, the easier learning about STEM will be for him as he advances in his education.

As Cub Scouts explore various STEM-related adventures, they learn that remaining cheerful is a big part of the “try, try again” philosophy because things often don’t work just right the first time.

STEM Activities Skit: Measurement Problem

Players: Three people—two acting as older Scouts and one as a Cub Scout.
The two older Scouts enter carrying a long pole. They prop it up, then stand back and look at it.
Scout #1: Now, there are several ways we can figure out the height of this pole. How do you want to start? The Scouts unsuccessfully try various methods of estimation to calculate the height of the pole. The conversation goes something like:
Scout #1: According to my calculations, that pole is about 2-feet high.
Scout #2: There’s no way. It has got to be shorter than that. Just look at it.
This sort of exchange is repeated several times, and the Scouts become more and more exasperated. Then a Cub Scout strolls onto the stage.
Cub Scout: Hi! (He watches a bit.) What are you guys trying to do?
Scout #2: We’re trying to measure the exact height of this pole.
Scout #1: We haven’t had too much luck yet, but we’ll get it.
Cub Scout: Why don’t you just lay the pole on the ground and measure its length?
Scout #1 (sighs): Cubs!
Scout #2: I’ll say. (To the Cub Scout.) Didn’t you hear right? We want to know how tall the pole is—not how long it is!

Tips for Pack Activity

If your pack has utilized the Family Talent Survey, the information you gathered could be very helpful in recruiting adult volunteers who work in STEM professions to register as Nova counselors with the Boy Scouts of America. They can help lead the Nova and Supernova awards program.

A round-robin format showcasing several of the adventure requirements that support STEM could be a fun pack meeting activity. The Pack might also consider using these requirements as demonstrations on recruitment nights.

For one example, try demonstrating to the participants requirement 6 of the Wolf adventure, “Adventures in Coins”—to create a balance scale (Wolf Handbook, pages 137–138).

STEM Awards in Scouting

Last Fall Annaleis Smith offered this in The Boy Scout:

I recently had two different Cub Scout leaders ask me questions about the Cub Scout Nova Awards.  I admitted to both of them that I really didn’t know very much. I have never awarded it.  However, I also know that for the first time, I do have a boy in my pack working on them (Go Wyatt!). So I set out to learn a little bit more about the Nova awards in general.  What awards are there? How are they earned? And what is actually awarded to the Cub Scout once he has earned it? I’d like to share with you what I found out.

Nova Program Basics

cs-nova-bookThe BSA’s NOVA Awards program incorporates learning with cool activities and exposure to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Hopefully, the requirements and activities required while working towards these awards stimulate interest in STEM-related fields and show how science, technology, engineering, and mathematics apply to everyday living and the world around us.

All requirements for each award can be found in the Cub Scout Nova Guidebook available at your nearest Scout Shop (There is 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.

What awards are there?

This is where I am still a little confused.  I’m not sure if the BSA website needs updating or I am just not understanding this correctly.  When you go to the BSA Nova Awards web page you see this:nova-screen-shot

When you click on the “About the Program” button it tells you “There 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.” However, when you click on the “Cub Scouts” button it actually lists and has requirements for seven awards.  So, I’m not sure if a Cub Scout is only supposed to earn one of the Science ones or if he can actually earn all 7 total.  Personally, I say let him earn as many as he wants. You can get the specifics for each award online and in the guidebook but here they are… (all 7 of them)

The following awards can be earned by a Wolf, Bear or Webelos Scout.

Science Everywhere – is designed to explore how science affects our life each day.

Down and Dirty – Is designed to explore how earth science affects our life each day.

Nova WILD! – is designed to learn about wildlife and the natural world around us.

Out of This World – is designed to discover the wonders of space exploration.

Tech Talk – is designed to explore how technology affects our life each day.

Swing! – is designed to explore how engineering and simple machines called levers affect our life each day.

1-2-3 Go! – is designed to help explore how math affects our life each day.

What is Awarded?

NOVA AwardFor their first Nova award, Scouts earn the Nova patch. After that, a Scout can earn more Nova awards, each one recognized with a separate pi (π) pin-on device that attaches to the patch. According to the BSA, the patch with the three devices represents each of the four STEM topics—science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. novapiThe pins are quite small but look like they fit on the points of the patch.

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.

To earn the Supernova Award, a boy must also work with “a council-approved mentor who is a registered Scouter” (who is not his parent or unit leader).  I don’t know how many nova mentors there are in our council but you should be able to ask the Council office for the name of one near you.  There are 2 different Supernova Awards.

Wolf & Bear Cub Scouts: Dr. Louis Alvarez Supernova Award
Webelos Scouts:  Dr. Charles H. Townes Supernova Award

Although it is not a specific requirement, it is recommended that a boy earns at least two of the Nova awards for Cub Scouts before earning the Supernova Awards.  If a boy earned the Cub Scout Supernova award, he must repeat similar requirements while he is a Webelos Scout.

Once a boy completes all the requirements there is a 2-page application to fill out, have signed by the appropriate people and turned in.  Then what a boy actually gets it the medal shown above.


So there you have it—this is what I learned while looking into the Cub Scout Nova Awards.  Hopefully, you too have learned more about the program or at least you now know that it exists and you know where to go to find out more. Looking at the individual requirements for the awards I see lots of fun things for boys to do and lots to learn about. I look forward to awarding my first patch soon.

Annaleis SmithAnnaleis Smith is a “stay-at-home” mom of 5 children and had been a Cub Scout leader for about 13 years now.  She loves Cub Scouts, Roundtable, and Training.  She is currently a cubmaster, assistant roundtable commissioner, unit commissioner and the VP of Membership for the UNPC.

Cubmaster’s Minute: Science and Perseverance

ScouterMom Shared this on her blog:

Have you tried to do something and failed? Maybe you thought about giving up. But consider this – when Thomas Edison first tried to create a  practical light bulb , he didn’t succeed right away.  Science is often a long series of failures with success at the end. Are you glad Thomas Edison kept trying? Think about that next time you turn a light on in your room.

Henry Ford was a creative person who figured out how to produce cars so most people could afford them. He once said “Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.” Clearly he understood the importance of perseverance. Aren’t you glad he didn’t just give up when he failed? Think about that next time you are riding in your car.

The transistor is a small electric component. When it was first invented, many people couldn’t figure out what it would be used for. But some scientists kept trying different ideas with it and eventually it became the basis for most electronic devices. Think about that next time you turn your TV on.

So next time you fail at something, think of all of those scientist who never gave up on their ideas. Through perseverance they made our lives a lot more comfortable.


Players: One narrator plus four volunteers to speak the parts
Narrator: We know that STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. What would we have if we applied those four letters to our boys?
Speaker #1: S is for the Scouts. May we always remember they are the reason we are a part of this great program.
Speaker #2: T is for Teaching. Let’s strive daily to use the Scout Oath and Law to guide our Scouts on the right path.
Speaker #3: E is for Empowering. Remember that everything we do in Scouting is preparing them for the world of tomorrow.
Speaker #4: M is for Magic—that wonderful experience that transfigures a group of people into a Scouting family.

Benediction (adapted from the catholicreview.org)

Dear God, May we through your blessings
add purity to the world,
subtract evil from our lives,
multiply the good news of Cub Scouting,
and divide your gifts and share them with others.

Voice of Scouting
Here to tell the world the good news of Scouting. Stories are found from across the nation and the world how Scouting influences the lives of young people.

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