STEM: Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.       STEM + Art=STEAM

NATIONAL S.T.E.M./S.T.E.A.M. DAY

Full S.T.E.A.M. ahead!  Novem­ber 8 is a day meant to inspire kids to explore and pur­sue their inter­ests in Sci­ence, Tech­nol­o­gy, Engi­neer­ing, Art and Math.  Inspired by the Project Mc² brand, cre­at­ed by MGA Enter­tain­ment, the S.T.E.A.M.- based fran­chise fea­tures four super smart girls who are part of a super-secret spy orga­ni­za­tion called NOV8 (that’s “inno­vate”).

      Fun fact:  The Novem­ber 8th date is a play on words for same as that super- secret orga­ni­za­tion, NOV8, mak­ing it the per­fect date to inspire inno­va­tion!

Few fields are more impor­tant to the future of mankind and few fields show as much promise in terms of career oppor­tu­ni­ty. Vir­tu­al­ly all career fields today require a sol­id foun­da­tion of STEM, and that’s pre­cise­ly why these are the fastest grow­ing areas of study, and the rea­son that STEM pro­fes­sion­als are in the high­est demand in the Unit­ed States and through­out the world.  80 per­cent of jobs in the next decade will require a sol­id foun­da­tion of tech­ni­cal skills, accord­ing to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Sta­tis­tics (BLS). STEM-relat­ed jobs are pro­ject­ed to grow twice as fast as jobs in oth­er fields.

STEM Scouts meet, opening with the Oath and Law, just like traditional Scouts
STEM Scouts meet, open­ing with the Oath and Law, just like tra­di­tion­al Scouts

To help meet the demand for STEM–minded youth, BSA has devel­oped and pilot­ed a pro­gram called STEM Scouts which began in 2014.  This pro­gram will now be expand­ed to more coun­cils across the coun­try.  STEM Scouts is open to boys and girls from third through 12th grades with week­ly meet­ings where four- to six-week mod­ules will cov­er a vari­ety of STEM dis­ci­plines and offer stu­dents hands-on expe­ri­ence to explore sci­ence, tech­nol­o­gy, engi­neer­ing and math­e­mat­ics by work­ing in busi­ness labs and mobile lab­o­ra­to­ries to learn and con­duct exper­i­ments along­side sci­en­tists, teach­ers and oth­er local STEM pro­fes­sion­als.  Struc­tured sim­i­lar­ly to tra­di­tion­al BSA pro­grams, STEM Scouts are orga­nized into groups of 8 to 15 youth called a lab, with each lab char­tered by a com­mu­ni­ty orga­ni­za­tion or busi­ness. A lab is run by vol­un­teers called lab man­agers and asso­ciate lab man­agers.  As youth progress through the STEM pro­grams they are eli­gi­ble to earn elec­tron­ic badges and oth­er awards.

Eli Har­ri­son, a STEM Scout was quot­ed say­ing, “When you read sci­ence in the book you can imag­ine it and it’s real­ly inter­est­ing because you feel like you’re in it but when you’re actu­al­ly doing it you are in it.  You can hear the sounds and see the sights and actu­al­ly know what it’s like to be there.”

Robotics STEM
Scouts par­tic­i­pat­ing in the Robot­ics mer­it badge at the Old North State Council’s STEM Mer­it Badge Col­lege

In a USA Today inter­view report­ed on April 29, 2015, then BSA Nation­al Coun­cil Chief Scout Exec­u­tive Wayne Brock said, “But prac­ti­cal as it is, STEM Scouts is a lot more than an intro­duc­tion to a poten­tial­ly promis­ing career. It also folds in Scouting’s empha­sis on val­ues and char­ac­ter. And it’s fun. We’ve designed it to be fast-paced and enter­tain­ing as well as edu­ca­tion­al. Because while some kids want to score a bull’s eye with a bow and arrow or race a car in the pinewood der­by, oth­ers just want to know how grav­i­ty bends light or an arch holds weight  But all of them want to be thrilled.

STEM edu­ca­tion is def­i­nite­ly the way of the future and BSA has found a way to be part of that while prepar­ing young peo­ple to make eth­i­cal and moral choic­es over their life­times by instill­ing in them the val­ues of the Scout Oath and Law.

For more infor­ma­tion on STEM Scouts see https://stemscouts.org/

SOURCEUtah National Parks Council
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Ann Shumway
Ann is a Camping and Learning for Life Director for the Utah National Parks Council, Boy Scouts of America. She serves as a volunteer in a community Cub Scout Pack in Payson UT and is the Order of the Arrow Chapter Advisor for the Mt. Nebo District. She is a mother of six and has taken them all to work at Camp Jeremiah Johnson Cub Scout Day Camp, right along with her for the past ten years

One comment

  1. Beth Bishop says:

    Join­ing the STEM Scouts has only made Bre­an­na more pas­sion­ate about math and sci­ence, accord­ing to her par­ents. She now uses infor­ma­tion learned with the Scouts to fix small things around the house.

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