Nova Award Patch

Scouts BSA Supernova Activities

Supernova Activity Topics

If you thrive on challenge, then earning the Supernova award will be right up your alley. To be eligible, you must be a First Class Scout or higher. As a prerequisite, you must first earn any three of the four Nova awards for Scouts BSA. With your parent's and unit leader's help, you must select a council-approved mentor who is a registered Scouter. You may NOT choose your parent or your unit leader (unless the mentor is working with more than one youth).

A Note to the Mentor:

The Scouts BSA Supernova awards recognize superior achievement by a Scout in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). All experiments or projects should be conducted using the highest level of safety protocol and always under the supervision of a qualified, responsible adult. The Scout should always have a buddy when meeting with their counselor or mentor.

Merit Badges

Here are the merit badges approved for use in earning the Scouts BSA Supernova awards:

Animal Science Chemistry Energy Geocaching Nuclear Science Scuba Diving
Archaeology Composite Materials Engineering Geology Oceanography Soil and Water Conservation
Architecture Computers Environmental Science Insect Study Plant Science Space Exploration
Astronomy Dentistry Farm Mechanics Inventing Pulp and Paper Surveying
Automotive Maintenance Drafting Fish and Wildlife Management Mammal Study Radio Veterinary Medicine
Aviation Electricity Forestry Medicine Reptile and Amphibian Study Weather
Bird Study Electronics Gardening Nature Robotics Welding

The following requirements apply to any specific topic chosen by a Scout in the course of completing a Supernova award.

Each STEM field - science, technology, engineering, mathematics - offers a choice of three Supernova activity topics (listed below). These are two-part, hands-on, high-level activities created to challenge you and help you continue along your STEM journey to excellence. Part 1 involves research, preparation, set up, coordination, and/or organization. Part 2 includes elements such as analysis, reflection, experimentation, design, or invention, and culminates in a report created by you.

Report Format Options

No matter what STEM activity you choose, you will need to create a report. Reports are a regular part of the work of professionals in various STEM fields, so these tasks will be good preparation for future career demands. Notice that it doesn't say write a report. You are not restricted to just writing a report, although you may choose to do so if you like. Any report will probably involve some writing on your part, but the report itself may be created and presented in any number of ways. Use your imagination!

You may choose from any of the formats below for your report, or you may create a combination of these formats. You may create something entirely new as long as your Supernova mentor approves. The objective is for you to communicate what you have learned to others in a way that helps them understand what you learned and how you learned it.

  • Oral report
  • Written report
  • Poster presentation
  • Virtual poster (See for ideas.)
  • Video production
  • Multifaceted format
  • Any format of your own design, with your mentor's advance approval

The report must provide sufficient detail so that someone unfamiliar with the topic can understand the content. For each format, you are encouraged to incorporate a variety of ways to present your information and to use technology to create a polished presentation. For example, an oral report might include a PowerPoint presentation as a visual aid, or a poster presentation might include a slide show of your activity. Be creative.

A Note About Resources

The books and websites provided for each superactivity topic are presented as optional resources and are merely suggestions. In most cases, they are not crucial to the corresponding activities. The Boy Scouts of America makes no guarantee that they will be available in local public libraries, from booksellers, or online.

The resources represent examples of the types you might use to support your work on a particular activity. You may very well find alternative and/or additional resources that serve you as well or better than those presented here.


For details on the topics, requirements for the research required and lists of suggested resources available, see the links below.


Page updated on: February 22, 2019

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