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Hawkeye Area Council STEM Opportunities

Merit Badges

When scouting first started in 1911, several of the original 57 merit badges were what we would consider STEM related merit badges.  Some examples of these included: Architecture, Astronomy, Aviation, Chemistry, Electricity, Machinery, and Surveying.    Today's STEM program continues that tradition.  Currently,  there are 66 merit badges that are STEM related and may be used to help earn Boy Scout Nova and Supernova awards.   For example, 9 of the 17 merit badges offered at MBU in March 2016 were STEM related.  The complete list of STEM related merit badges is below.

STEM Merit Badges.pdf


Other Local STEM Opportunities


Linn County STEM Festival - Tuesday Feb 21, 2017 4:00 - 8:00 p.m.

The goal of this annual festival is to bring science, technology, engineering and mathematics to life by assembling experienced scientists, engineers, teachers and education experts to provide an event full  of hands-on activities.  The event is free and open to the public.   In past years, this has been held at the Cedar Rapids Public Library but this year it is moving to:

Linn County Kirkwood Regional Center
1770 Boyson Rd.
Hiawatha, Iowa 52233

They will be collecting registrations at the event or you may go to their website to pre-register each attendee.  For more information or to pre-register, please go to: 


CoderDojoExternal Link

Young people between ages 5-17 learn how to code, develop websites, apps, programs, games & more. Dojos are run by & taught at by volunteers. CoderDojo makes development and learning to code a fun & sociable experience. Join us for the next event – it is free for kids (& their parents)!  Click on link for more information.


Cedar Amateur Astronomers (CAA)External Link


The CAA hosts at least 12 Saturday Public Observing events at the Palisades-Dows observatory featuring a guest speaker that is followed—weather permitting—by celestial viewings through telescopes at the facility. During viewing hours, society members will be available to answer questions and provide everyone with an opportunity to look through the Society's telescopes and those of our members. Click on link for more information.



 Iowa Children's Museum - Free Friday NightsExternal Link

Admission is free to all visitors from 5-8 pm the last Friday of every month sponsored by Rockwell Collins.  Help solve a unique STEM Challenge in the STEM Studio focused on STEM problem-based learning.


Located at the Coral Ridge Mall, 1451 Coral Ridge Ave. , Coralville, Iowa 52241, Phone: 319-625-6255





What is STEM and Nova?

STEM—Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics

STEM is part of an initiative the Boy Scouts of America has taken on to encourage the natural curiosity of youth members and their sense of wonder about these fields through existing programs. From archery to welding, Scouts can't help but enjoy the wide range of STEM-related activities. To support this initiative, the BSA developed the Nova Awards program so that youth members have fun and receive recognition for their efforts.


We live in a time of great opportunity. The spirit of innovation can help us overcome challenges and ensure a prosperous and secure future. To seize this opportunity, we must position ourselves at the cutting edge of scientific discovery and technological innovation.

Yet our country is falling behind in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. This is why many professionals and educators in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics believe the United States should do more now than ever to encourage students to enter STEM-related fields. These experts say our young people need strong STEM skills to compete in the world market. We must work together to cultivate the next generation of critical thinkers and innovators.

Ten-year employment projections by the U.S. Department of Labor show that of the 20 fastest-growing occupations projected for 2014, 15 of them require significant mathematics or science preparation.

STEM Is the future

Fostering a strong STEM education is our best opportunity to boost the spirit of innovation. It's what we need to help ensure this country continues on a prosperous and secure journey. STEM literacy is also critical because it has a profound and growing impact on our day-to-day lives. Nature, space exploration, and any STEM-related interest reveals to us the beauty and power of the world we inhabit.

What Are the Nova Awards?

The Boy Scouts of America developed the Nova Awards program to excite and expand a sense of wonder in our Scouts. By working with an adult counselor or mentor, the various modules allow them to explore the basic principles of STEM and discover how fun and fascinating STEM can be. The Supernova awards are offered for those who enjoy a super challenge. For more information about STEM and the Nova Awards program, visit Discover how the Nova Awards program helps youth be "Prepared. For Life."


National STEM / Nova Website: Link



NOVA and SUPERNOVA Award Handbooks are available at the HAC Scout Office 



Cyber Chip for BSA Internet Security

The BSA has recently introduced the Cyber Chip program for Internet security.  This program is similar to the Totin Chip program for using knives, but in this case, the program and card is set up to allow a scout access to the Internet.  The Cyber Chip is grade specific, is a pledge to use the Internet safely, and is renewed annually.  The program can be tailored with additional rules / guidelines for use within your units.

Scouts will likely use the Internet at some point while earning a Nova or Supernova award, thus, attainment of the Cyber Chip and/or appropriate adult supervision are expected.

Additional information on the Cyber Chip can be found at: Link 


Iowa Governor's Site

Additional STEM activities in the area for leaders / volunteers



HAC STEM Committee

John Roltgen (Chair), David Tominsky, Steve ZirtzmanMichael Broadston 

Please contact John Roltgen ( if you have suggestions for events / activities, would like to join the committee or volunteer at events, or if you are looking for additional information. 

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