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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