Start Your Engines!

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Submit any questions regarding the Nova or Supernova awards to [email protected]
Start Your Engines!

This patch is worn as a temporary emblem
on the right uniform pocket.
Level:Boy Scout

The BSA's STEM/NOVA Awards program is designed to introduce and encourage further study of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) by Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts and Venturers. A Scout may earn all four Nova awards. The Supernova awards are designed to inspire further study. It is recommended that you complete at least two Nova awards before starting the requirements for the Supernova award.

Scouts may complete any Nova award with a parent or unit leader’s guidance. However, Supernova Awards mentors must be approved by the local council. (Note: Tiger Cubs are not eligible to participate in the STEM/NOVA Awards program.)

Image:boyscouts_startyourengines_icon.jpgThis module is designed to help you explore how technology affects your life each day.

Start Your Engines! requirements

  1. Choose A or B or C and complete ALL the requirements.
    A. Watch about three hours total of technology-related shows or documentaries that involves transportation or transportation technology. Then do the following:
    1. Make a list of at least two questions or ideas from each show.
    2. Discuss two of the questions or ideas with your counselor.
    Some examples include—but are not limited to—shows found on PBS ("NOVA"), Discovery Channel, Science Channel, National Geographic Channel, TED Talks (online videos), and the History Channel. You may choose to watch a live performance or movie at a planetarium or science museum instead of watching a media production. You may watch online productions with your counselor’s approval and under your parent’s supervision.
    B. Read (about three hours total) about transportation or transportation technology. Then do the following:
    1. Make a list of at least two questions or ideas from each article.
    2. Discuss two of the questions or ideas with your counselor.
    Examples of magazines include—but are not limited to—Odyssey, Popular Mechanics, Popular Science, Science Illustrated, Discover, Air & Space, Popular Astronomy, Astronomy, Science News, Sky & Telescope, Natural History, Robot, Servo, Nuts and Volts, and Scientific American.
    C. Do a combination of reading and watching (about three hours total). Then do the following:
    1. Make a list of at least two questions or ideas from each article or show.
    2. Discuss two of the questions or ideas with your counselor.
  2. Complete ONE merit badge from the following list. (Choose one that you have not already used toward another Nova award.) After completion, discuss with your counselor how the merit badge you earned uses technology.
    Automotive MaintenanceAviationCanoeing
    EnergyFarm MechanicsMotorboating
    Nuclear ScienceRailroadingSmall - Boat Sailing
    Space ExplorationTruck Transportation
  3. Do ALL of the following.
    A. Using the requirements from the above list of merit badges:
    1. Tell your counselor the energy source(s) used in these merit badges.
    2. Discuss the pros and cons of each energy source with your counselor.
    B. Make a list of sources of energy that may be possible to use in transportation.
    C. With your counselor:
    1. Discuss alternative sources of energy.
    2. Discuss the pros and cons of using alternative energy sources.
  4. Design and build a working model vehicle (not from a kit).
    A. Make drawings and specifications of your model vehicle before you begin to build.
    B. Include one of the following energy sources to power your vehicle (do not use gasoline or other combustible fuel source): solar power, wind power, or battery power.
    C. Test your model. Then answer the following questions:
    1. How well did it perform?
    2. Did it move as well as you thought it would?
    3. Did you encounter problems? How can these problems be corrected?
    D. Discuss with your counselor:
    1. Any difficulties you encountered in designing and building your model
    2. Why you chose a particular energy source
    3. Whether your model met your specifications
    4. How you would modify your design to make it better
  5. Discuss with your counselor how technology affects your everyday life.

View the change list (history) of these requirements. The text of these requirements may be locked. In that case, they can only be edited
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Please note any errors found in the above requirements on this article's Talk Page.


Worksheet A FREE workbook for Start Your Engines! is available here! Adobe Acrobat PDF
with the maps, charts, links, diagrams, and checklists you need!
Or click here to print just the Start Your Engines! requirements. has PDF and DOC versions of
Boy Scout merit badge workbooks, Webelos workbooks,
Cub Scout workbooks, and Nova Award workbooks.

Related awards

Nova Awards Program Advancement
Award Overview:Nova Awards
Worksheets:Nova & Supernova Award Worksheets
Cub Scout
Nova:1-2-3 Go!Down and DirtyNova WILD!Out of This WorldScience EverywhereSwing!Tech Talk
Supernova:Dr. Luis W. Alvarez Supernova Award (Wolf/Bear only) • Dr. Charles H. Townes Supernova Award (Webelos only)
Boy Scout
Nova:Designed to CrunchLet It Grow!Shoot!Start Your Engines!Whoosh!
Supernova:Dr. Bernard Harris Bronze Supernova AwardThomas Edison Silver Supernova Award
Nova:Hang On!Launch!Numbers Don't LiePower Up
Supernova:Dr. Sally Ride Bronze Supernova AwardWright Brothers Silver Supernova AwardDr. Albert Einstein Gold Supernova Award
Scouter:Dr. Paul A. Siple Bronze Supernova Award

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