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

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