NOVA Awards

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**[http://www.constructionknowledge.net/general_technical_knowledge/general_tech_basic_six_simple_machines.php Six Simple Machines]
**[http://www.constructionknowledge.net/general_technical_knowledge/general_tech_basic_six_simple_machines.php Six Simple Machines]
**[http://phet.colorado.edu/en/simulation/projectile-motion Projectile Motion]
**[http://phet.colorado.edu/en/simulation/projectile-motion Projectile Motion]
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**[http://www.enchantedlearning.com/physics/machines/Levers.shtml Types of Levers]
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Revision as of 20:21, July 27, 2012

Shortcut:
NOVA
STEM
STEM/NOVA Award patch
STEM/NOVA Award patch
STEM/NOVA Award Π pin
STEM/NOVA Award Π pin
NOTE! — This article is still in development; e.g., it will soon be split into several smaller pages.
Please see the talk page for details before editing this article. Thanks, –The MBO staff

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.)

Contents

Awards

Scouts earn the distinctive Nova award patch upon completion of their first award. For each additional award earned they are recognized with a separate pi (π) device that attaches to the patch. The patch and devices represent each of the four S.T.E.M. topics — science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

Scouts earning the Supernova award are recognized with a medal and certificate.

Award Levels

Nova Award

Cub Scout

Science Everywhere

This module is designed to help you explore how science affects your life each day.

1. Choose A or B or C and complete ALL the requirements.

A. Watch an episode or episodes (about one hour total) of a show about anything related to science. Then do the following:
1. Make a list of at least two questions or ideas from what you watched.
2. Discuss two of the questions or ideas with your counselor.
B. Read (about one hour total) about anything related to science. Then do the following:
1. Make a list of at least two questions or ideas from what you read.
2. Discuss two of the questions or ideas with your counselor.
C. Do a combination of reading and watching (about one hour total) about anything related to science. Then do the following:
1. Make a list of at least two questions or ideas from what you read and watched.
2. Discuss two of the questions or ideas with your counselor.

2. Complete ONE belt loop or pin from the following list. (Choose one that you have not already earned.)

3. Act like a scientist! Do EACH of the following:

A. With your counselor, choose a question you would like to investigate. Here are some examples only (you may get other ideas from your belt loop or pin activities):
1. Why do rockets have fins? Is there any connection between the feathers on arrows and fins on rockets?
2. Why do some cars have spoilers? How do spoilers work?
3. If there is a creek or stream in your neighborhood, where does it go? Does your stream flow to the Atlantic or the Pacific ocean?
4. Is the creek or stream in your neighborhood or park polluted?
5. What other activity can you think of that involves some kind of scientific questions or investigation?
B. With a parent or your counselor, use the scientific method/process to investigate your question. Keep records of your question, the information you found, how you investigated, and what you found out about your question.
C. Discuss your investigation and findings with your counselor.

4. Visit a place where science is being done, used, or explained, such as one of the following: zoo, aquarium, water treatment plant, observatory, science museum, weather station, fish hatchery, or any other location where science is being done, used, or explained.

A. During your visit, talk to someone in charge about science.
B. Discuss with your counselor the science done, used, or explained at the place you visited.

5. Discuss with your counselor how science affects your everyday life.

Tech Talk

This module is designed to help you explore how technology affects your life each day.

1. Look up a definition of the word "technology" and discuss the meaning with your counselor.

2. Discuss EACH of the following with your counselor.

A. How technology is used in EACH of the following fields:
1. Communication
2. Business
3. Construction
4. Sports
5. Entertainment
B. Tell why technology is important.

3. Choose A or B or C and complete ALL the requirements.

A. Watch an episode or episodes (about one hour total) of a show about anything related to technology. Then do the following:
1. Make a list of at least two questions or ideas from what you watched.
2. Discuss two of the questions or ideas with your counselor.
B. Read (about one hour total) about anything related to technology. Then do the following:
1. Make a list of at least two questions or ideas from what you read.
2. Discuss two of the questions or ideas with your counselor.
C. Do a combination of reading and watching (about one hour total) about anything related to technology. Then do the following:
1. Make a list of at least two questions or ideas from what you read and watched.
2. Discuss two of the questions or ideas with your counselor.

4. Complete ONE belt loop or pin from the following list. (Choose one that you have not already earned.)

5. What technology is used in your belt loop or pin?

A. Discuss with your counselor how you think this technology:
1. Was invented
2. Could be made better
B. Discuss your ideas about technology with your counselor.

6. Visit a place where technology is being designed, used, or explained, such as one of the following: an amusement park, a police or fire station, a radio or television station, a newspaper office, a factory or store, or any other location where technology is being designed, used, or explained.

A. During your visit, talk to someone in charge about the following:
1. The technologies used where you are visiting
2. Why the organization is using these technologies
B. Discuss with your counselor the technology that is designed, used, or explained at the place you visited.

7. Discuss with your counselor how technology affects your everyday life.

Swing!

This module is designed to help you explore how engineering and simple machines called levers affect your life each day.

1. Choose A or B or C and complete ALL the requirements.

A. Watch an episode or episodes (about one hour total) of a show about anything related to motion or machines. Then do the following:
Make a list of at least two questions or ideas from what you watched.
Discuss two of the questions or ideas with your counselor.
B. Read (about one hour total) about anything related to motion or machines. Then do the following:
Make a list of at least two questions or ideas from what you read.
Discuss two of the questions or ideas with your counselor.
C. Do a combination of reading and watching (about one hour total) about anything related to motion or machines. Then do the following:
Make a list of at least two questions or ideas from what you read and watched.
Discuss two of the questions or ideas with your counselor.

2. Complete ONE belt loop or pin from the following list. (Choose one that you have not already earned.)

3. Levers

A. Make a list or drawing of the three types of levers. (A lever is one kind of simple machine.)
B. Be able to tell your counselor:
1. The class of each lever
2. How each lever works
C. With your counselor, discuss:
1. The type of lever that is involved with the motion for the belt loop or pin you chose for requirement 2
2. What you learned about levers and motion from earning your belt loop or pin
3. Why we use levers

4. Do the following:

A. Visit a place that uses levers, such as a playground, carpentry shop, construction site, restaurant kitchen, or any other location that uses levers.
B. Discuss with your counselor the equipment or tools that use levers in the place you visited.

5. Do EACH of the following:

A. On your own, design, including a drawing, sketch, or model, ONE of the following:
1. A playground fixture that uses a lever
2. A game or sport that uses a lever
3. An invention that uses a lever
B. Discuss with your counselor how the lever in your design will move something.

6. Discuss with your counselor how levers affect your everyday life.

1-2-3 Go!

This module is designed to help you explore how math affects your life each day.

1. Choose A or B or C and complete ALL the requirements.

A. Watch an episode or episodes (about one hour total) of a show that involves math or physics. Then do the following:
1. Make a list of at least two questions or ideas from what you watched.
2. Discuss two of the questions or ideas with your counselor.
B. Read (about one hour total) about anything that involves math or physics. Then do the following:
1. Make a list of at least two questions or ideas from what you read.
2. Discuss two of the questions or ideas with your counselor.
C. Do a combination of reading and watching (about one hour total) about anything that involves math or physics. Then do the following:
1. Make a list of at least two questions or ideas from what you read and watched.
2. Discuss two of the questions or ideas with your counselor

2. Complete the Mathematics OR Computers pin

3. Choose TWO options from A or B or C and complete ALL the requirements for those options. Keep your work to share with your counselor. The necessary information to make your calculations can be found in a book or on the Internet. You may work with a parent or your counselor on these calculations.

A. Choose TWO of the following places and calculate how much you would weigh there.
1. On the sun or the moon
2. On Jupiter or Pluto
3. On a planet that you choose
B. Choose ONE of the following and calculate its height:
1. A tree
2. Your house
3. A building of your choice
C. Calculate the volume of air in your bedroom. Make sure your measurements have the same units—all feet or all inches—and show your work.

4. Secret Codes

A. Look up, then discuss with your counselor each of the following:
1. Cryptography
2. At least three ways secret codes or ciphers are made
3. How secret codes and ciphers relate to mathematics
B. Design a secret code or cipher. Then do the following:
1. Write a message in your code or cipher.
2. Share your code or cipher with your counselor.

5.Discuss with your counselor how math affects your everyday life.

Boy Scout

Shoot!

This module is designed to help you explore how science affects your life each day.

1. Choose A or B or C and complete ALL the requirements.

A. Watch about three hours total of science-related shows or documentaries that involve projectiles, aviation, weather, astronomy, or space technology. Then do the following:
1. Make a list of at least five questions or ideas from the show(s) you watched.
2. Discuss two of the questions or ideas with your counselor
B. Read (about three hours total) about projectiles, aviation, space, weather, astronomy, or aviation or space 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.
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 science.

3. Choose A or B and complete ALL the requirements.

A. Simulations. Find and use a projectile simulation applet on the Internet (with your parent’s or guardian’s permission). Then design and complete a hands-on experiment to demonstrate projectile motion.
1. Keep a record of the angle, time, and distance.
2. Graph the results of your experiment. (Note: Using a high-speed camera or video camera may make the graphing easier, as will doing many repetitions using variable heights from which the projectile can be launched.)
3. Discuss with your counselor:
a. What a projectile is
b. What projectile motion is
c. The factors affecting the path of a projectile
d. The difference between forward velocity and acceleration due to gravity
B. Discover. Explain to your counselor the difference between escape velocity (not the game), orbital velocity, and terminal velocity. Then answer TWO of the following questions. (With your parent’s or guardian’s permission, you may explore websites to find this information.)
1. Why are satellites usually launched toward the east, and what is a launch window?
2. What is the average terminal velocity of a skydiver? (What is the fastest you would go if you were to jump out of an airplane?)
3. How fast does a bullet, baseball, airplane, or rocket have to travel in order to escape Earth’s gravitational field? (What is Earth’s escape velocity?)

4. Choose A or B and complete ALL the requirements.

A. Visit an observatory or a flight, aviation, or space museum.
1. During your visit, talk to a docent or person in charge about a science topic related to the site.
2. Discuss your visit with your counselor.
B. Discover the latitude and longitude coordinates of your current position. Then do the following:
1. Find out what time a satellite will pass over your area. (A good resource to find the times for satellite passes is the Heavens Above website at www.heavens-above.com .)
2. Watch the satellite using binoculars. Record the time of your viewing, the weather conditions, how long the satellite was visible, and the path of the satellite. Then discuss your viewing with your counselor

5. Choose A or B or C and complete ALL the requirements.

A. Design and build a catapult that will launch a marshmallow a distance of 4 feet. Then do the following:
1. Keep track of your experimental data for every attempt. Include the angle of launch and the distance projected.
2. Make sure you apply the same force every time, perhaps by using a weight to launch the marshmallow. Discuss your design, data, and experiments—both successes and failures - with your counselor.
B. Design a pitching machine that will lob a softball into the strike zone. Answer the following questions, then discuss your design, data, and experiments - both successes and failures—with your counselor.
1. At what angle and velocity will your machine need to eject the softball in order for the ball to travel through the strike zone from the pitcher’s mound?
2. How much force will you need to apply in order to power the ball to the plate?
3. If you were to use a power supply for your machine, what power source would you choose and why?
C. Design and build a marble run or roller coaster that includes an empty space where the marble has to jump from one part of the chute to the other. Do the following, then discuss your design, data, and experiments—both successes and failures—with your counselor.
1. Keep track of your experimental data for every attempt. Include the vertical angle between the two parts of the chute and the horizontal distance between the two parts of the chute.
2. Experiment with different starting heights for the marble. How do the starting heights affect the velocity of the marble? How does the starting height affect the jump distance

6.Discuss with your counselor how science affects your everyday life.

Start Your Engines!

This module is designed to help you explore how technology affects your life each day

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.
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.
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.

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.


Whoosh!

This module is designed to help you explore how engineering affects your life each day.

1. Choose A or B or C and complete ALL the requirements.

A. Watch about three hours total of engineering-related shows or documentaries that involve motion or motion-inspired 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.
B. Read (about three hours total) about motion or motion-inspired 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.
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. Choose ONE merit badge from the following list. (Choose one you have not already used for another Nova award.) After completion, discuss with your counselor how the merit badge you earned uses engineering

3. Do ALL of the following:

A. Make a list or drawing of the six simple machines.
B. Be able to tell your counselor the name of each machine and how each machine works.
C. Discuss the following with your counselor:
1. The simple machines that were involved with the motion in your chosen merit badge (Hint: Look at the moving parts of an engine to find simple machines.)
2. The energy source causing the motion for the subject of your merit badge
3. What you learned about motion from earning your merit badge

4. Choose A or B and complete ALL the requirements.

A. Visit an amusement park. Then discuss the following with your counselor:
1. The simple machines present in at least two of the rides
2. The forces involved in the motion of any two rides
B. Visit a playground. Then discuss the following with your counselor:
1. The simple machines present in the playground equipment
2. The forces involved in the motion of any two playground fixtures

5. Do the following:

A. On your own, design one of the following and include a drawing or sketch: an amusement park ride OR a playground fixture OR a method of transportation.
B. Discuss with your counselor:
1. The simple machines present in your design
2. The energy source powering the motion of your creation

6.Discuss with your counselor how engineering affects your everyday life.

Designed to Crunch

This module is designed to help you explore how math affects your life each day.

1. Choose A or B or C or D and complete ALL the requirements.

A. Watch about three hours total math-related shows or documentaries that involve scientific models and modeling, physics, sports equipment design, bridge building, or cryptography. Then do the following:::
1. Make a list of at least five questions or ideas from the show(s) you watched.
2. Discuss two of the questions or ideas with your counselor
B. Research (about three hours total) several websites (with your parent’s or guardian’s permission) that discuss and explain cryptography or the discoveries of people who worked extensively with cryptography. Then do the following:
1. List and record the URLs of the websites you visited and the major topics covered on the websites you visited. (You may use the copy and paste function—eliminate the words—if you include your sources.)
2. Discuss with your counselor how cryptography is used in the military and in everyday life and how a cryptographer uses mathematics.
C. Read at least three articles (about three hours total) about physics, math, modeling, or cryptography. You may wish to read about how technology and engineering are changing sports equipment, how and why triangles are used in construction, bridge building, engineering, climate and/or weather models, how banks keep information secure, or about the stock market. 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
D. Do a combination of reading, watching, or researching (about three hours total). Then do the following:
1. Make a list of at least two questions or ideas from each article, website, or show.
2. Discuss two of the questions or questions 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 mathematics

3. Choose TWO from A or B or C or D or E and complete ALL the requirements. (Write down your data and calculations to support your explanation to your counselor. You may use a spreadsheet. Do not use someone else’s data or calculations.)

A. Calculate your horsepower when you run up a flight of stairs.
1. How does your horsepower compare to the power of a horse?
2. How does your horsepower compare to the horsepower of your favorite car?
Share your calculations with your counselor, and discuss what you learned about horsepower
B. Attend at least two track, cross-country, or swim meets.
1. For each meet, time at least three racers. (Time the same racers at each meet.)
2. Calculate the average speed of the racers you timed. (Make sure you write down your data and calculations.)
3. Compare the average speeds of your racers to each other, to the official time, and to their times at the two meets you attended.
Share your calculations with your counselor, and discuss your conclusions about the racers’ strengths and weaknesses
C. Attend a soccer, baseball, softball, or basketball game. Choose two players and keep track of their efforts during the game. (Make sure you write down your data and calculations.) Calculate their statistics using the following as examples:
1. Soccer—Goals, assists, corner kicks, keeper saves, fouls, offsides
2. Baseball or softball—Batting average, runs batted in, fielding statistics, pitching statistics
3. Basketball—Points, baskets attempted, rebounds, steals, turnovers, and blocked shots
Share your calculations with your counselor, and discuss your conclusions about the players’ strengths and weaknesses
D. Attend a football game or watch one on TV. (This is a fun activity to do with a parent or friend! ) Keep track of the efforts of your favorite team during the game. (Make sure you write down your data and calculations.) Calculate your team’s statistics using the following as examples:
1. Kicks/punts
a. Kickoff—Kick return yards
b. Punt—Number, yards
c. Field goals—Attempted, percent completed, yards
d. Extra point—Attempted, percent completed
2. Offense
a. Number of first downs
b. Forward passes—Attempted, percent completed, total length of passes, longest pass, number and length of passes caught by each receiver, yardage gained by each receiver after catching a pass
c. Running plays—Number, yards gained or lost for each run, longest run from scrimmage line, total yards gained or lost, and number of touchdowns
3. Defense—Number of quarterback sacks, interceptions turnovers, and safeties
Share your calculations with your counselor, and discuss your conclusions about your team’s strengths and weaknesses.
E. How starry are your nights? Participate in a star count to find out. This may be done alone but is more fun with a group. Afterward, share your results with your counselor.
1. Visit NASA’s Student Observation Network website at www.nasa.gov/audience/foreducators/son/energy/starcount/ for instructions on performing a star count.
2. Do a star count on five clear nights at the same time each night.
3. Report your results on NASA’s Student Observation Network website and see how your data compares to others.

4. Do ALL of the following.

A. Investigate your calculator and explore the different functions.
B. Discuss the functions, abilities, and limitations of your calculator with your counselor. Talk about how these affect what you can and cannot do with a calculator. (See your counselor for some ideas to consider.)

5.Discuss with your counselor how math affects your everyday life.

Venturing

Venturing STEM explorations

The following requirements apply to any specific STEM field of interest chosen by a Venturer in the course of completing a Nova or Supernova award.

Safety Considerations

Discuss with your mentor the following safety issues in the field of interest you have chosen.

  • The kinds of hazards (to humans, to the environment, to animals) that might occur while engaged in activities in this field
  • Appropriate safety precautions to help minimize these risks
  • Whether it is necessary to obtain training in safety protocols in this field
  • The agencies or organizations that can provide such training
  • What it would take to be a certified safety specialist or safety trainer in this field

Developing Knowledge

Do ONE of the following.

1. Visit a workplace in this field. Ask to see an example of the work that is done there, the different facilities, and the tools used. After your visit, discuss the following with your mentor:
A. How much work is done manually and how much work is done with the aid of technology
B. How much work is done by individuals and how much is done in cooperation with others
C. The ways in which the fields of science, technology, engineering, and/or mathematics are important to the work done in this business
2. Using resources you find on your own such as at the library, on the Internet, or through visits to relevant places of learning, such as museums, learn more about this field. Then discuss the following with your counselor:
A. The historical development of this field
B. How tools and techniques have evolved over time
C. How modern tools and techniques have changed over time in this field and how its capacity for accomplishment has been affected
D. The ways in which science, technology, engineering, and/or mathematics are important to this field

Hands-On Experiences

In consultation with your counselor and, if necessary, a consultant who is a specialist in this field, identify four hands-on activities that are examples of work done in this field that you could carry out yourself. Each activity should engage your attention and efforts for approximately three hours. Under the supervision of appropriate specialists and observing the highest standards of safety, carry out all four activities. Discuss with your counselor what you learned during each activity. Examples include—but are not limited to—conducting experiments, building models, designing tools, drawing plans, learning how to use tools, and serving as an assistant/apprentice to a specialist.

Career Exploration

Find out about three career opportunities in this field. Communicate to your counselor the training, education, and experience that are needed for each career.

Value and Impact

Using a combination of library research, Internet research (with your parent’s or guardian’s permission), and interviews with experts, find out how important the role of this field is in addressing the problems facing our modern world: a burgeoning worldwide population, stresses on the environment, ongoing issues of basic health and sustenance, or other concerns. How might knowledge, abilities, and capacity in this field bring about positive change on a significant scale? Create an oral or written report and present it to your counselor.

Launch

This module is designed to help you explore how science affects your life each day.

1. Choose A or B or C and complete ALL the requirements.

A. Watch about three hours total of science-related shows or documentaries that involve projectiles, aviation, weather, astronomy, or space 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.
B. Read (about three hours total) about projectiles, aviation, space, weather, astronomy, or aviation or space 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.
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.Choose ONE STEM field of interest from the following list. Complete ALL the requirements for a Venturing STEM exploration in that field. (See above) (If you have already completed a Venturing STEM exploration in one of these fields, please choose a different field for this award.)

  • Archery
  • Astronomy
  • Aviation
  • Athletics
  • Rifle Shooting
  • Robotics
  • Shotgun Shooting
  • Space Exploration
  • Weather

3. Choose A or B and complete ALL the requirements.

A. Simulations. Find and use a projectile simulation applet on the Internet (with your parent’s or guardian’s permission). Then design and complete a hands-on experiment to demonstrate projectile motion.
1. Keep a record of the angle, time, and distance.
2. Graph the results of your experiment. (Note: Using a high-speed camera or video camera may make the graphing easier, as will doing many repetitions using variable heights from which the projectile can be launched.)
3. Discuss with your counselor:
a. What a projectile is
b. What projectile motion is
c. The factors affecting the path of a projectile
d. The difference between forward velocity and acceleration due to gravity
B. Discover. Explain to your counselor the difference between escape velocity (not the game), orbital velocity, and terminal velocity. Then answer TWO of the following questions. (With your parent’s or guardian’s permission, you may explore websites to find this information.)
1. Why are satellites usually launched toward the east, and what is a launch window?
2. What is the average terminal velocity of a skydiver? (What is the fastest you would go if you were to jump out of an airplane?)
3. How fast does a bullet, baseball, airplane, or rocket have to travel in order to escape Earth’s gravitational field? (What is Earth’s escape velocity?)

4.Choose A or B and complete ALL the requirements.

A. Visit an observatory or a flight, aviation, or space museum.
1. During your visit, talk to a docent or person in charge about a science topic related to the site.
2. Discuss your visit with your counselor.
B. Discover the latitude and longitude coordinates of your current position. Then do the following:
1. Find out what time a satellite will pass over your area. (A good resource to find the times for satellite passes is the Heavens Above website at www.heavens-above.com .)
2. Watch the satellite using binoculars. Record the time of your viewing, the weather conditions, how long the satellite was visible, and the path of the satellite. Then discuss your viewing with your counselor.

5. Choose A or B or C and complete ALL the requirements.

A. Design and build a catapult that will launch a marshmallow a distance of 4 feet. Then do the following:
1. Keep track of your experimental data for every attempt. Include the angle of launch and the distance projected.
2. Make sure you apply the same force every time, perhaps by using a weight to launch the marshmallow. Discuss your design, data, and experiments - both successes and failures - with your counselor.
B. Design a pitching machine that will lob a softball into the strike zone. Answer the following questions, then discuss your design, data, and experiments - both successes and failures - with your counselor.
1. At what angle and velocity will your machine need to eject the softball in order for the ball to travel through the strike zone from the pitcher’s mound?
2. How much force will you need to apply in order to power the ball to the plate?
3. If you were to use a power supply for your machine, what power source would you choose and why?
C. Design and build a marble run or roller coaster that includes an empty space where the marble has to jump from one part of the chute to the other. Do the following, then discuss your design, data, and experiments—both successes and failures—with your counselor.
1. Keep track of your experimental data for every attempt. Include the vertical angle between the two parts of the chute and the horizontal distance between the two parts of the chute.
2. Experiment with different starting heights for the marble. How do the starting heights affect the velocity of the marble? How does the starting height affect the jump distance?

6. Discuss with your counselor how science affects your everyday life.

Power Up

This module is designed to help you explore how technology affects your life each day.

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.
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.
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. Choose ONE STEM field of interest from the following list. Complete ALL the requirements for a Venturing STEM exploration in that field. (See above.) (If you have already completed a Venturing STEM exploration in one of these fields, please choose a different field for this award.)

  • Automotive Maintenance
  • Aviation
  • Canoeing
  • Cycling
  • Drafting
  • Electricity
  • Energy
  • Farm Mechanics
  • Motorboating
  • Nuclear Science
  • Railroading
  • Small-Boat Sailing
  • Space Exploration
  • Truck Transportation

3.Do ALL of the following.

A. Using the requirements from the above list of STEM explorations:
1. Tell your counselor the energy source(s) used in these STEM explorations.
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.

Hang On!

This module is designed to help you explore how engineering affects your life each day.

1. Choose A or B or C and complete ALL the requirements.

A. Watch about three hours total of engineering-related shows or documentaries that involve motion or motion-inspired 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
B. Read (about three hours total) about motion or motion-inspired 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.
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.Choose ONE STEM field of interest from the following list. Complete ALL the requirements for a Venturing STEM exploration in that field. (See above)(If you have already completed a Venturing STEM exploration in one of these fields, please choose a different field for this award.)

  • Archery
  • Aviation
  • Composite Materials
  • Drafting
  • Electronics
  • Engineering
  • Inventing
  • Model Design and Building
  • Railroading
  • Rifle Shooting
  • Robotics
  • Shotgun Shooting

3. Do ALL of the following:

A. Make a list or drawing of the six simple machines.
B. Be able to tell your counselor the name of each machine and how each machine works.
C. Discuss the following with your counselor:
1. The simple machines that were involved with the motion in your chosen STEM exploration (Hint: Look at the moving parts of an engine to find simple machines.)
2. The energy source causing the motion for the subject of your STEM exploration
3. What you learned about motion from doing the STEM exploration

4. Choose A or B and complete ALL the requirements.

A. Visit an amusement park. Then discuss the following with your counselor:
1. The simple machines present in at least two of the rides
2. The forces involved in the motion of any two rides
B. Visit a playground. Then discuss the following with your counselor:
1. The simple machines present in the playground equipment
2. The forces involved in the motion of any two playground fixtures

5. Do the following:

A. On your own, design one of the following and include a drawing or sketch: an amusement park ride OR a playground fixture OR a method of transportation.
B. Discuss with your counselor:
1. The simple machines present in your design
2. The energy source powering the motion of your creation

6. Discuss with your counselor how engineering affects your everyday life

Numbers Don't Lie

This module is designed to help you explore how math affects your life each day.

1. Choose A or B or C or D and complete ALL the requirements.

A. Watch about three hours total math-related shows or documentaries that involve scientific models and modeling, physics, sports equipment design, bridge building, or cryptography. 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
B. Research (about three hours total) several websites (with your parent’s or guardian’s permission) that discuss and explain cryptography or the discoveries of people who worked extensively with cryptography. Then do the following:
1. List and record the URLs of the websites you visited and the major topics covered on the websites you visited. (You may use the copy and paste function—eliminate the words—if you include your sources.)
2. Discuss with your counselor how cryptography is used in the military and in everyday life and how a cryptographer uses mathematics.
C. Read at least three articles (about three hours total) about physics, math, modeling, or cryptography. You may wish to read about how technology and engineering are changing sports equipment, how and why triangles are used in construction, bridge building, engineering, climate and/or weather models, how banks keep information secure, or about the stock market. 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.
D. Do a combination of reading, watching, or researching (about three hours total). Then do the following:
1. Make a list of at least two questions or ideas from each article, website, or show.
2. Discuss two of the questions or questions with your counselor

2. Choose ONE STEM field of interest from the following list. Complete ALL the requirements for a Venturing STEM exploration in that field. (See above)(If you have already completed a Venturing STEM exploration in one of these fields, please choose a different field for this award.) After completion, discuss with your counselor how the Venturing STEM exploration you completed uses mathematics

  • American Business
  • Chess
  • Computers
  • Drafting
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Orienteering
  • Personal Management
  • Radio
  • Surveying
  • Weather

3. Choose TWO from A or B or C or D or E and complete ALL the requirements. (Write down your data and calculations to support your explanation to your counselor. You may use a spreadsheet. Do not use someone else’s data or calculations.)

A. Calculate your horsepower when you run up a flight of stairs.
1. How does your horsepower compare to the power of a horse?
2. How does your horsepower compare to the horsepower of your favorite car? Share your calculations with your counselor, and discuss what you learned about horsepower.
B. Attend at least two track, cross-country, or swim meets.
1. For each meet, time at least three racers. (Time the same racers at each meet.)
2. Calculate the average speed of the racers you timed. (Make sure you write down your data and calculations.)
3. Compare the average speeds of your racers to each other, to the official time, and to their times at the two meets you attended. Share your calculations with your counselor, and discuss your conclusions about the racers’ strengths and weaknesses.
C. Attend a soccer, baseball, softball, or basketball game. Choose two players and keep track of their efforts during the game. (Make sure you write down your data and calculations.) Calculate their statistics using the following as examples:
1. Soccer—Goals, assists, corner kicks, keeper saves, fouls, offsides
2. Baseball or softball—Batting average, runs batted in, fielding statistics, pitching statistics
3. Basketball—Points, baskets attempted, rebounds, steals, turnovers, and blocked shots.

Share your calculations with your counselor, and discuss your conclusions about the players’ strengths and weaknesses

D. Attend a football game or watch one on TV. (This is a fun activity to do with a parent or friend! ) Keep track of the efforts of your favorite team during the game. (Make sure you write down your data and calculations.) Calculate your team’s statistics using the following as examples:
1. Kicks/punts
a. Kickoff—Kick return yards
b. Punt—Number, yards
c. Field goals—Attempted, percent completed, yards
d. Extra point—Attempted, percent completed
2. Offense
a. Number of first downs
b. Forward passes—Attempted, percent completed, total length of passes, longest pass, number and length of passes caught by each receiver, yardage gained by each receiver after catching a pass
c. Running plays—Number, yards gained or lost for each run, longest run from scrimmage line, total yards gained or lost, and number of touchdowns
3. Defense—Number of quarterback sacks, interceptions turnovers, and safeties

Share your calculations with your counselor, and discuss your conclusions about your team’s strengths and weaknesses

E. How starry are your nights? Participate in a star count to find out. This may be done alone but is more fun with a group. Afterward, share your results with your counselor.
1. Visit NASA’s Student Observation Network website (with your parent’s or guardian’s permission) at www.nasa.gov/audience/foreducators/son/energy/starcount/ for instructions on performing a star count.
2. Do a star count on five clear nights at the same time each night.
3. Report your results on NASA’s Student Observation Network website (with your parent’s or guardian’s permission) and see how your data compares to others.

4. Do ALL of the following.

A. Investigate your calculator and explore the different functions.
B. Discuss the functions, abilities, and limitations of your calculator with your counselor. Talk about how these affect what you can and cannot do with a calculator. (See your counselor for some ideas to consider.)

5. Discuss with your counselor how math affects your everyday life.

Supernova Awards

Wolf and Bear Scouts

Dr. Luis W. Alvarez Supernova Award

This Supernova award can be earned by Cub Scouts like you who want to soar in science.

It is recommended, but not required, that a Cub Scout earn two of the four Nova awards before earning the Supernova award.

A Note to the Counselor The Cub Scout Supernova award recognizes superior achievement by a Cub 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. Tiger Cubs are not eligible to earn the Cub Scout Supernova award. Although it is not a requirement, it is recommended that you earn at least two of the four Nova awards for Cub Scouts before earning the Dr. Luis W. Alvarez Supernova Award.


Requirements

1. Earn the Science AND Mathematics Cub Scout academic pins.
2. Earn THREE of the following Cub Scout academic pins: Astronomy, Computers, Geography, Geology, Map and Compass, Nutrition, Pet Care, Photography, Reading and Writing, Video Games, Weather, and Wildlife Conservation.
3. Find interesting facts about Dr. Luis W. Alvarez using resources in your school or local library or on the Internet (with your parent's or guardian's permission and guidance). Then discuss what you learn with your mentor, including answers to the following questions: What very important award did Dr. Alvarez earn? What was his famous theory about dinosaurs?
4. Find out about three other famous scientists, technology innovators, engineers, or mathematicians approved by your mentor. Discuss what you learned with your mentor.
5. Speak with your teacher(s) at school (or your parents if you are home-schooled) OR one of your Cub Scout leaders about your interest in earning the Cub Scout Supernova award. Ask them why they think math and science are important in your education. Discuss what you learn with your mentor.
6. Participate in a science project or experiment in your classroom or school OR do a special science project approved by your teacher. Discuss this activity with your mentor.
7. Do ONE of the following:
A. Visit with someone who works in a STEM-related career. Discuss what you learned with your mentor.
B. Learn about a career that depends on knowledge about science, technology, engineering, or mathematics. Discuss what you learned with your mentor.
8. Learn about the scientific method (or scientific process). Discuss this with your mentor, and include a simple demonstration to show what you learned.
9. Participate in a Nova- or other STEM-related activity in your Cub Scout den or pack meeting that is conducted by a Boy Scout or Venturer who is working on his or her Supernova award. If this is not possible, participate in another Nova- or STEM-related activity in your den or pack meeting.
10. Submit an application for the Cub Scout Supernova award to the district Nova or advancement committee for approval.

Webelos Scout

Dr. Charles H. Townes Supernova Award

To earn the Webelos Scout Supernova award, you must be a Webelos Scout who is active with a den. 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).

If you earned the Cub Scout Supernova award, you must repeat similar requirements while you are a Webelos Scout.

Requirements

1. Earn the Scholar AND Scientist AND Engineer Webelos Scout activity badges.
2. Earn THREE of the following Webelos Scout activity badges: Craftsman, Forester, Geologist, Naturalist, Outdoorsman, and Readyman.
3. Find interesting facts about Dr. Charles H. Townes using resources in your school or local library or on the Internet (with your parent’s or guardian’s permission and guidance). Then discuss what you learned with your mentor, including answers to the following questions: What very important award did Dr. Townes earn? What was Dr. Townes’ most famous invention?
4. Find out about five other famous scientists, technology innovators, engineers, or mathematicians approved by your mentor. Discuss what you learned with your mentor.
5. Speak with your teacher(s) at school (or your parents if you are home-schooled) OR one of your Cub Scout leaders about your interest in earning the Webelos Scout Supernova award. Ask them why they think math and science are important in your education. Discuss what you learn with your mentor.
6. Participate in a science project or experiment in your classroom or school. Discuss this activity with your mentor.
7. Do ONE of the following:
A. Visit with someone who works in a STEM-related career. Discuss what you learned with your mentor.
B. Learn about a career that depends on knowledge about science, technology, engineering, or mathematics. Discuss what you learned with your mentor.
8. Under the direct supervision of your mentor, do an experiment that shows how the scientific method (or scientific process) is used. Prepare a short report on the results of your experiment for your mentor.
9. Participate in a Nova- or other STEM-related activity in your Webelos Scout den or pack meeting that is conducted by a Boy Scout or Venturer who is working on his or her Supernova award. If this is not possible, participate in another Nova- or STEM-related activity in your den or pack meeting.
10. Submit an application for the Webelos Scout Supernova award to the district Nova or advancement committee for approval.

Boy Scout

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 Boy Scouts. 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).

Here are the merit badges approved for use in earning the Boy Scout Supernova awards:


Dr. Bernard Harris Bronze Supernova Award

Requirements

1. Complete any three of the Boy Scout Nova awards. (Note: These may be done at any time after becoming a Boy Scout.)
2. Earn the Scholarship merit badge.
3. Earn four of the Supernova approved merit badges from the above list. (Note: These may be earned at any time after becoming a Boy Scout.)
4. Complete TWO Supernova activity topics, one each in two different STEM areas
5. Participate in a local, state, or national science fair or mathematics competition OR in any equally challenging STEM-oriented competition or workshop approved by your mentor. An example of this would be an X-Prize type competition.
6. Do ONE of the following:
A. With your parent’s permission and your mentor’s approval, spend at least one day "shadowing" a local scientist or engineer and report on your experience and what you learned about STEM careers to your mentor.
B. Learn about a career that is heavily involved with STEM. Make a presentation to your mentor about what you learned.
7. Working with your mentor, organize and present a Nova award or other STEM-related program to a Cub Scout den or pack meeting. Be sure to receive approval from the appropriate unit leader and agree on a time and place for the presentation. If a Cub Scout den or pack is not available, your presentation may be given to another youth group, such as your troop or at your place of worship.
8. Review the scientific method (you may know this as the scientific process) and note how scientists establish hypotheses, theories, and laws. Compare how the establishment of "facts" or “rules” using the scientific method differs from the establishment of “facts” or “rules” in other environments, such as legal, cultural, religious, military, mathematical, or social environments. Then do the following:
A. Choose a modern scientific subject with at least two competing theories on the subject and learn as much as possible about each theory.
B. Analyze the competing theories, decide which one is most convincing to you, and explain why to your mentor.
C. Make a presentation to your mentor that describes the controversy, the competing theories, and your conclusions about how the scientific method can or cannot contribute to the resolution of the controversy.
9.Submit a Supernova award application to the district or council Nova or advancement committee for approval

Thomas Edison Silver Supernova Award

Requirements

1. Earn the Dr. Bernard Harris Supernova Award.
2. Complete ONE additional Boy Scout Nova award for a total of four. (Note: This may be done at any time after becoming a Boy Scout.)
3. Earn FOUR additional Supernova-approved merit badges from the list provided, other than the four earned while working on the Harris Supernova Award for a total of eight. (Note: These may be earned at any time after becoming a Boy Scout.)
4. Complete TWO additional Supernova activity topics, one each in the two STEM areas NOT completed for the Harris Supernova Award. (Note: The intent is that upon completion of the Edison Supernova Award the Scout will have completed one Supernova activity topic in each of the four STEM areas.)
5. Participate in a local, state, or national science fair or mathematics competition OR any other equally challenging STEM-oriented competition or workshop approved by your mentor. An example of this would be an X-Prize type competition. (Note: The intent is that upon completion of the Edison Supernova Award, the Scout will have participated in two such events.)
6. Working with your mentor, organize and present a Nova award or other STEM-related program to a Cub Scout den or pack meeting. Be sure to receive approval from the appropriate unit leader. If a Cub Scout den or pack is not available, your presentation may be given to another youth group, such as your troop or at your place of worship. (Note: The intent is that upon completion of the Edison Supernova Award the Scout will have completed two such presentations.)
7. Research a scientific, technical, engineering, or mathematical breakthrough or invention of the past 100 years that has affected our society in a meaningful way and present your hypothesis on how it might further affect our society during your lifetime. Present either a 30-minute oral report or a 1,500-word written report to your mentor.
8. Submit an application to the district or council Nova or advancement committee for approval.

Supernova Activity Topics

Each STEM field—science, technology, engineering, mathematics—offers a choice of three Supernova activity topics. 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 STEM fields, so this will be good preparation for future career demands. Notice 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, but the report itself may be created and presented in any number of ways. Use your imagination!

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

  • Oral report
  • Written report
  • Poster presentation
  • Virtual poster (See www.Glogster.com 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 can 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, or a poster presentation might include a slide show. 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.

Supernova Activity Topic: Science

If you are fascinated by how things work and you want to help contribute to a better planet Earth, the Supernova activity topic choices for science give you a hands-onchance to:

  • Reduce your environmental impact on Earth.
  • Explore the wonders of space technology.
  • See why carbonation and candy create an explosive experiment.

Choose any one of these activities and discover how it drives your imagination, your curiosity, and your fascination with science.

Environmental Science: New Things From Old

This activity can be done individually or in a group. Your task is to investigate the logistics and environmental value of recycling and repurposing used items into new products and to invent a product that is predominantly made from used item(s).

Part 1: Research

1. Find two products made primarily from recycled materials. Describe the recycling process and the production process for each of these products. Discuss with your mentor:
A. The impact of these recycled products on the environment compared with the impact of the same products made with all-new materials
B. The environmental impact of the two products regarding pollution control and remediation, such as hazardous byproducts in the air, water, and waste
C. The environmental impact of the two products regarding resource conservation and management, such as animal life, plant life, water, fuel, and protected lands/sites
D. The environmental impact of the two products regarding production infrastructure, such as land use, municipal planning, transportation, and energy

Part 2: Product Invention and Report

1. Develop your own design for a product that can be made by recycling or repurposing other items. The items being recycled or repurposed should form the bulk of the new product. For instance, avoid designs that are 5 percent recycled and 95 percent new materials. Use ONE of the following two approaches.
A. Find an item that isn’t environmentally friendly, doesn’t break down easily, and is typically thrown away. Invent a new product that would repurpose that item. The recycling of tires into road surfacing material and into playground mulch is an example of this approach.
B. Think of an often-used product that is typically made with all-new materials. Develop a way to make that product out of recycled or repurposed materials. (The production of paper grocery bags made from recycled paper instead of "new" paper is an example of this approach.)
2. Summarize design specifications of the product you invented for requirement 1, and create a drawing, model, or prototype. What resources would be needed to carry out a large-scale production of your invention? Speculate on the environmental impact of using your product over a comparable product made with all-new materials. Create a report that includes your design specifications, photos or illustrations, a summary of how your product can be mass produced, and a case for the environmental soundness of your product.

Movie "Science": Misconceptions, Misunderstandings, and Mistakes

This activity can be done individually or in a group. There are many popular movies and television shows with plots that involve space travel in the near or distant future. Your task in this activity is to watch one such production and identify scientific or technological advances that appear to be possible and those that appear to be impossible and explain.

Part 1: Research

1. View a movie or television show involving space, space travel, or life in space. In the movie or show, identify two instances of scientific "principles" or technological"advances" that violate currently accepted scientific principles or misrepresent currently available technology. Discuss the following with your mentor:
A. The scientific principle that is violated and how. Describe the technology that is misrepresented and how.
B. Two potentially plausible technological or scientific advances in your chosen movie—show and explain how these could potentially come to be in the future. Discuss the hurdles that would have to be overcome in order to develop those advances.
C. The scientifically based reasoning that leads you to believe scientists, engineers, mathematicians, and technology specialists can overcome these hurdles.

Part 2: Report

Create a report that is addressed to the producers of your chosen movie or show, from the perspective of a scientist hired as a consultant on the production. Include suggestions for the producers to make the movie more scientifically or technologically accurate, realistic, and plausible.

Household Chemistry: Diet Coke and Mentos Explosions

This activity can be done individually or in a group, but it is much more fun as a group. For this experiment, you will investigate how and why dropping a Mentos candy into a two-liter bottle of Diet Coke creates a massive explosion.

Part 1: Research and Experiment Design

Research this Diet Coke and Mentos phenomenon by doing the following:

1. Find out what others have discovered about how and why this experiment works. Note who discovered what about the experiment. Keep track of your references and resources.
2. Formulate a hypothesis that you would like to test.
3. Design an experiment to test your hypothesis. Be sure to get approval from your mentor prior to conducting your experiment. Make sure your plans for the experiment include an outside location, a list of supplies needed (which should be inexpensive, readily available, and safe), adequate safety protocols and equipment (safety goggles, etc.), plans for accurate and precise measurements, a list of step by-step procedures, number of trials, and plans for recording and analysis of data.

Part 2: Experiment and Report

Conduct your experiment. You might want to videotape your experimental trials and include some video clips in your final report.

1. Discuss the following with your mentor:
A. What happened during the experiment.
B. How the evidence supported or contradicted your hypothesis.
C. Whether the experiment raised any new questions for you.
D. Whether something unexpected happened during the experiment. Tell how what happened might suggest about a future experiment on this same phenomenon.
2.Create a report that describes your hypothesis, experiment, and conclusions. (For guidance, see “Report Format Options” earlier in this section.)


Supernova Activity Topic: Technology

From the energy that keeps our homes comfortable and our lights on, to the communication that lets us talk to people around the world, to the special effects used in the movies, we depend on technology. Choose any one of the following projects and you will have fun while learning about today’s technology.

Energy Technology

This activity can be done individually or in a group. The technology to harness energy has always been a significant factor in human progress. The harnessing of energy from wind, sun, water, biomass, fossil fuels, and other sources has evolved dramatically over time.

Part 1: Field Trip

Arrange and go on a field trip to a site where you can learn about innovative and/or historical examples of energy production, storage, and use and the ways people are making such processes sustainable. Possible sites include power plants, fuel manufacturers or refineries, power generation sites, energy- or resource-efficient buildings, historical sites of energy use or production, educational centers, museums, and so on.

Part 2: Analysis and Report

1. Create a report that describes your field trip and what you learned.
2. For the energy production and/or use that you chose, find out about the current state of technology, its course in historical that led to today’s technology, and future directions for this technology. Discuss the following with your mentor.
A. The effect on the environment, our natural resources, and our economy of our current methods
B. Whether current methods are sustainable over the long term

Communication Technology

This activity can be done individually or in a group. It requires the participation of 20 to 30 people.

The scenario: You are the communication chair for a science fair being organized by your unit. Your responsibility is to gather contact information from all participants (contestants, judges, staff, and so on) and formulate a communication plan that will be effective for anticipated communications and necessary-but-unexpected communications as well. You will need to be able to communicate some information to everyone, other information to subgroups, and additional information to another group of individuals.

Part 1: Communication Plan

Before you get started, share your plan with your mentor. Then do the following:

1. Solicit volunteers to serve as participants. Give each participant a mock role in your mock science fair. You will need 20 to 30 such individuals.
2. From each participant, gather at least two ways to contact him or her, as well as an emergency contact. Participants should list their contact modes in order, from the most-likely-to-be-received to the least-likely-to-be-received.
3. Set up plans for how you will broadcast messages to various subgroups, how you will get emergency messages to groups or individuals who will have access to the contact information, how access will be maintained, and back-up plans in case you are suddenly unavailable.
4. Test your plan by playing a few Mad Libs via your communication plan. To test your communication plan, choose a particular Mad Lib and send out requests for various types of words (verbs, adjectives, nouns, and so on) to a group of individuals and subgroups. Make sure you cover your entire set of recipients or recipient groups, and be sure to give everyone a deadline for a response.

If you don’t get responses, follow up with additional messages, perhaps via different communication modes. When you have what you need, make sure you communicate the finished Mad Lib back to the relevant individuals.

Part 2: Analysis and Report

Gather some statistics relevant to your communication plan and your participants. Then do the following:

1. Discuss with your counselor:
A. The many distinct modes of communication your participants used
B. Any modes of communication used but with which you were unfamiliar
C. The technology used for your broadcast communication messages and whether that technology was the most effective mode of communication for one-on-one messages
2. Create a report that outlines your communication plan, how you implemented it, and how effective it was. Include information about the biggest hurdle, anything unexpected that happened, and what you would do differently if this had been a real assignment for you.

Entertainment Technology

This activity can be done individually or in a group. Many of today’s movies involve extensive use of technology to create illusions of magnificent landscapes, mythical beasts, epic battle scenes, and so on. This activity involves learning about some of these technologies and applying them in a real-life setting.

Part 1: Building Knowledge

Choose a favorite, recent movie that is heavily laden with special effects, available for home viewing, and accompanied by supplemental material that describes and shows how the special effects were created. After you have chosen a movie, do the following:

1. Watch and study the material on the special effects.
2. Do some supplemental research on some of these special effects to build your understanding of them.
3. Choose one scene in the movie, or even one frame, and describe in detail to your mentor how that scene or frame was put together using various special effects.
4. Discuss with your mentor which of the special effects you would implement (even if just crudely) if you were to take a still photo or make a short video and wanted to give the illusion of something magnificent or unusual happening.

Part 2: Creating a Grand Illusion

Develop a plan for creating a still photo or a short video that would require special effects to convey the image or action that you desire to show. Be sure you share your plan with your mentor before you get started. For a still photo, make a crude sketch of what you want the photo to look like. For a video, make a storyboard of the action sequence.

In either case, describe the special effects you would use to create each element of the piece. Discuss the following with your mentor:

1. What you would do first and how.
2. The sequence of special events and how everything goes together in the end. Do as many of the parts of the photo or video yourself as possible and describe what would best be done by highly trained and/or educated professionals

Supernova Activity Topic: Engineering

Have you ever studied how your bicycle works? To learn how a bicycle is put together (or engineered), here is a project for disassembling one. Or what about making a high-performance paper glider? Or having a contest to see who can drop a raw egg without breaking it? Choose any one of these activities to learn more about engineering.

Deconstruct and Analyze: Mechanical Designs

This activity can be done individually or in a small group. Your task is to take apart a bicycle (or other suitably complex mechanical device; see the note below), analyze the components, and describe how the components work (both separately and together).

Part 1: Preplanning and Set-Up

1. Do the following:
A. With your mentor’s assistance, choose an unwanted older bicycle—or any other complex mechanical device—perhaps not completely in working order, that is a bit beyond what you feel comfortable dismantling.
B. Find a location for the project where you can take things apart, leave the pieces undisturbed, and come back another time.
C. Determine and gather the necessary tools. You are encouraged to find resources to help you with the deconstruction, such as written instructions or a repair specialist willing to volunteer his/her time. (The specialist cannot touch the object or the parts, or handle the tools during dismantling. You and any fellow youth must do all of the dismantling.)

Part 2: Deconstruction, Analysis, and Report

This next phase involves deconstructing the device. Take pictures as you work, and make notes of what is happening in each picture.

1. Determine the following:
A. The major components of the bicycle
B. What parts make up each component
C. How the components work together
D. The mechanical or electronic advantages that a minimum of three parts or circuits convey
2. Discuss the following with your mentor:
A. What might cause a failure in one of the components
B. The kinds of failures that can be fixed if you are using the device away from home (for example, if you are out mountain biking)
C. The basic elements of keeping the device well maintained
D. Considering the intended owner/user and uses of this device, discuss improvements to the design that could be made.
3. Create a report that communicates your understanding of the experience and addresses the following points.
A. Document the deconstruction process, your analysis of the components, and how they work together
B. Document your analysis of failure possibilities plus maintenance requirements, and what these suggest about design improvements

Build and Test: High Performance Paper Gliders

This activity can be done individually, but works much better with at least two people. Your task is to measure how differences in design affect the flight characteristics of a glider. You will accomplish this by building and testing some high-performance paper gliders. These gliders use a laminated construction method that helps simulate a real glider much more closely than a simple folded piece of paper.

Part 1: Background Research, Baseline Design Selection, and Test

1. Research and discuss the following with your mentor:
A. The fundamental parts of a glider
B. The basic elements of the physics of stable flight
2. Choose a glider design from a kit or plans. (You do not need to design the glider yourself.) Then do the following:
A. Identify one quantitative characteristic to test, such as flight distance, flight time, average flight speed, and so on. Then identify one qualitative characteristic to test, such as presence of a stall, dive, flip, left turn, right turn, and so on.
B. Hypothesize how variations in one part of the glider, such as wing size, fuselage length, center of gravity, flap size, and so on, might influence these characteristics of the glider’s performance.
C. Build four high-performance gliders, identical except for variations in the relevant glider part.
D. Establish a consistent method to measure each characteristic during a test flight. Then find a way to launch the gliders in a consistent manner so that they are launched at the same speed every time. You should perform test flights with each model five to six times to account for variations in flight performance. Try to keep the conditions of each test flight the same as for all the other test flights. Keep records of the results for each test flight.

Part 2: Analyze and Report

Present to your mentor your recorded data in a tabular format as well as a graphical format. (You may use Excel if you wish.) Then do the following:

1. Evaluate the data and determine how the variations in the tested glider part influenced the flight characteristics you observed. Based on the data you gathered, predict how the glider would perform relative to the flight characteristics you observed if you were to build a glider with another variation in the same glider part.
2. Suggest an ideal design of your tested glider part that would maximize the glider’s performance relative to the flight characteristics you observed and explain your reasoning for this design.
3. Create a report that describes your glider, the flight tests, the flight data, and your conclusions. Include the procedures you followed to ensure consistent test conditions.
4. Share the flight records and data you have gathered with your mentor. Discuss what you have learned.

Design and Redesign: Egg Drop Contest

This is a group activity and requires at least two youth. Your task is to design a container in which to place a raw egg, so that when the container with the egg is dropped, the egg survives the impact without breaking.

Part 1: Research, Design, and Contest Set-Up

Research and describe to your mentor:

1. The physical forces affecting the outcome of an egg drop test
2. Desirable characteristics of container materials
3. Rules for other egg drop contests. (With your parent’s or guardian’s permission, search online.)
4. As a group, come to a consensus about the constraints and rules for your egg drop contest. Adopt, adapt, or make up your own rules. You might want to break into divisions, each with its own rules. (Youth with stronger STEM backgrounds should adopt more challenging constraints and rules.) Here are some guidelines. You must:
A. Agree on constraints that the egg container must meet, such as dimensions, weight, allowable materials, disallowed elements, and so on.
B. Agree on rules to ensure fairness, such as judging decisions, conditions for elimination, scoring system, how to win, and so on. You may wish to have several different ways to win.
C. Communicate the constraints and competition rules to all participants.
D. Design and build your container.
E. Have fun—conduct the contest!

Part 2: Analysis, Redesign, and Report

Analyze how your container performed, and discuss with your mentor your design strategy and how well the container you designed performed. Then do the following:

1. Given your container’s performance, your knowledge of the physical forces acting on it during a test drop, and your observations of other participants’ containers and results, redesign your container. Your redesigned container should still fit within the contest constraints but offer improved performance.
2. Consider whether you would alter the constraints, how, and why. Create a report that communicates your understanding of the experience and addresses the following points.
A. Describe your original egg container, your original design strategy, and your analysis of its performance.
B. Describe your redesigned container and the reasoning that led to your new model.

Supernova Activity Topic: Mathematics

Have you ever watched bungee jumpers and wondered why they don’t hit the ground? You can make a model of your own and figure it out. Or, what about the Yellowstone geyser Old Faithful—how can you tell when it will erupt? What about voting—can you imagine how so many people in so many states can go in, cast a vote, and come out with a fair result? Mathematics is the key. Choose any one of these projects to learn how it’s done.

From Simulations to Real Life: Modeling Bungee Jumping

This activity requires at least two people and works much better with a group of three to six people.

The scenario: The Acme Daredevil Adventure Company provides rock climbing, skydiving, extreme skiing, and cliff diving adventures to the public. To appeal to a broader market, the board decided to add bungee jumping to its list of offerings. The details of this new venture now need to be worked.

The company has several sites planned for bungee jumping, and each site has a different jump height. Your task is to simulate bungee jumping using rubber bands and an action figure (doll) to determine the ultimate length, or the number of rubber bands to be used with your action figure at any given height to guarantee a safe jump. For maximum thrills, the jump must allow your action figure to come as close to the floor as possible.

Part 1: Set-Up and Simulation

Tape a weight(s) to the doll’s back so that it is heavy enough to stretch the rubber band "bungee cord." Tie one or two rubber bands (the unstretched size should be about 4 inches) to the doll’s feet and drop it, headfirst, from various heights. Keep raising the jump height until the head no longer hits the floor. Once you reach this height, perform three trials, measure the height of the drop each time, calculate the average, and calculate the maximum error between the average and the drop heights used to find that average. (Conduct a test drop several times to practice taking readings.)

Continue adding rubber bands to see what the average drop height will be for different numbers of rubber bands. Do the experiment with at least six different numbers of rubber bands. Use a tabular chart to help you organize and record your data. (You may use Excel or create your own tables.)

Part 2: Analysis and Report

1. Create a scatter plot of ordered pairs of the type (number of rubber bands, average drop height). You may do this by hand or using data analysis software, such as Excel.
2. Using the scatter plot you have created, determine whether the points appear to lie on or near a line. Find such a line. If your mathematics background is not yet extensive, then find such a line by “eyeballing it” and drawing it onto the scatter plot with a ruler. Otherwise use a graphing calculator or data analysis software of your choice to find the line of best fit for your data.
3. Describe to your mentor how to use the line (graphical form or symbolic form) to make predictions. Then complete the following sentence (hypothesis): "If the height of the drop is _________________, then I predict that the number of rubber bands needed is _________________."
4. Test your prediction and analyze the outcome. Determine whether the prediction matched reality, how far off the prediction was, and what errors or issues arose that may have thrown off the results of your simulation. Test and analyze three more predictions.
5. Analyze the maximum errors found in your tests. Then find out the height of your favorite location (such as the Statue of Liberty, Eiffel Tower, or Golden Gate Bridge). If you drop your action figure from the top of that location, how many rubber bands would you need for a safe drop from that height? What would you expect to be the maximum error in your prediction?
6. Now, consider the realities of bungee jumping with real human beings using real bungee cords and equipment. Discuss the following with your mentor:
A. The factors that need to be considered when testing this equipment to develop safety protocols
B. Reliable statistics on the risk of serious injury or death while bungee jumping
C. Bungee jumping is one of the high-adventure activities that is expressly not allowed by the Boy Scouts of America. What do you think of this policy?
7. Create a report addressed to the Risk Management Board of the Acme Daredevil Adventure Company. In your report, include the following:
A. A description of your simulation
B. Your simulation data displayed in a chart and graph
C. How your data led to your ability to make predictions about safe bungee jumping heights
D. The variables that might have affected your predictions

Linking the Past to the Future: Predicting Old Faithful’s Next Eruption

This activity can be done individually, but works much better with three to six people.

The scenario: You have lined up a summer job as a junior park ranger at Yellowstone National Park, where you know many visitors come to see the geyser Old Faithful. Many visitors arrive just after Old Faithful has erupted and they typically ask a nearby ranger when it is next expected to erupt. Your task is to analyze past data on Old Faithful’s eruptions in order to devise a strategy for predicting the next eruption.

Part 1: Data Gathering and Initial Analysis

1. Gather information about geysers in general and their behavior.
A. Find data on intervals (length of time) between eruptions for Old Faithful. Be aware that Old Faithful’s eruption behavior has changed over the years. Use the most current data you can find. For your analysis and to test your prediction strategy, you will need information on all of the intervals for three consecutive 24-hour periods, plus intervals for the fourth consecutive 24-hour period. Each additional youth must use intervals for different days.
B. Create two graphical displays of the data from three days of eruptions, analyze the patterns, and formulate your initial prediction strategy.

Part 2: Further Analysis, Refinement of Prediction Strategy, and Report

1. Do the following:
A. Using the data you have collected for part 1, determine how much variability you see from day to day. How much variability is there within a single 24-hour period? Is knowledge of one interval sufficient to predict the next eruption? Why or why not?
B. Determine what patterns in the data are illuminated (or perhaps obscured) in the different graphical displays. Of the graphs you used, which one best illustrated the wait time pattern for Old Faithful? Would you refine your prediction strategy? If so, why and how? If not, why not?
C. Use your prediction strategy to estimate all of the eruptions for the fourth 24-hour period, and compare your estimates to the actual eruption times. Calculate the differences between your estimates and the actual times. What is the maximum difference? Why are there patterns in the Old Faithful data? Is there a geological explanation?
D. Create a report that describes and addresses your prediction strategy, includes your graphical displays, and explains how your graphical displays support your strategy.
E. Discuss the data you have collected, your report, and what you have learned with your mentor.

Share your report with your mentor.

A Paradox of Counting: Voting Methods and Fair Decisions

This activity can be done individually or with a group of two to six people, and requires cooperation from about 20 to 30 individuals.

The scenario: Your unit wants to plan a superactivity for next summer but cannot agree on what that activity should be. There are four options under consideration, and your unit decides to vote. Your task is to collect ballots and tabulate results using several different voting methods.

Part 1: Ballot Setup, Gathering, and Tabulating

1. Decide on four superactivities that your unit would genuinely be interested in doing next summer. Aim for four genuine options, none of which is likely to receive a majority of the votes. Discuss these options with your mentor before doing the following:
A. Create ballots on which each voter can list his/her first, second, third, and fourth choices from among the four prospective superactivities.
B. Find 20 to 30 unit members, prospective guests for the superactivity, unit leaders, parents, and so on, to complete one ballot each. Each voter should vote sincerely, without trying to strategize.
C. Do some research and learn how to tabulate winners using each of the following four voting methods:
i. Plurality method
ii. Borda count method
iii. Plurality-with-elimination method (sometimes called the instant runoff method)
iv. Pair-wise comparison method (sometimes called Copeland’s method)

Part 2: Analysis and Report

1. As you tabulate the results using each voting method, evaluate each method and discuss the following with your mentor.
A. What do you notice? How fair is each method?
B. How would the results be affected if two or three voters had cast strategic ballots (instead of sincere ballots), in an effort to "not waste their votes"?
C. Which of the four voting methods do you believe is the right voting method for this decision in your unit? Why?
D. Consider how we elect the president of the United States of America.
i. What voting method do we use?
ii. What are its advantages and disadvantages?
iii. Do you believe each voting citizen in the United States has an equal say in the vote tabulation?
iv. Is it possible for citizens to cast strategic votes and influence the outcome of a presidential election?
2.Create a report that summarizes the results from the various voting methods, outlines your analysis, and comments on voting methods for the U.S. presidency. Share your report with your mentor

Venturing

You must be a Venturer to earn a Venturer Supernova award. 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).

These STEM exploration topics are approved for earning the Venturer Supernova awards: Animal Science, Archaeology, Architecture, Astronomy, Chemistry, Composite Materials, Computers, Dentistry, Drafting, Electricity, Electronics, Energy, Engineering, Farm Mechanics, Geocaching, Geology, Medicine, Nuclear Science, Oceanography, Plant Science, Pulp and Paper, Radio, Robotics, Scholarship, Scuba Diving, Space Exploration, Surveying, Veterinary Medicine, Weather, Welding

Dr. Sally Ride Bronze Supernova Award

First-Level Supernova Award for Venturers

Requirements

1. Complete THREE of the Venturer Nova Awards. (Note: These may be done at any time after becoming a Venturer.)

2. Complete the Scholarship STEM exploration. (The following requirement was inadvertently left out of the guidebook.)

A. Do ONE of the following:
i. Show that you have had an average grade of B or higher (80 percent or higher) for one term or semester.
ii. Show that for one term or semester you have improved your school grades over the previous period
B. Do TWO of the following:
i. Discuss with your mentor the following situation: Suppose you are writing a research paper and you find a resource in which the author’s words are so perfectly aligned with your perspectives and understanding that you cannot imagine a better way to put it in your paper than to use the author’s own words. How can you handle such a situation while still maintaining scholarly integrity?
ii. Discuss with your mentor the following situation: Suppose you are writing a research paper and you find resources with conflicting “facts” and/or conflicting conclusions. What are some viable strategies for resolving these conflicts and deciding which resources are trustworthy?
iii. Discuss with your mentor the following situation: Suppose you are writing a research paper and have acquired dozens of resources. How would you keep track of the resources, summarize the salient parts of each resource, and synthesize the collection of resources into a coherent research paper?
C. Get a note from an instructor* of yours that states that during the past term you have demonstrated satisfactory abilities or progress in independently completing scholarly endeavors and proactively seeking help when needed
D. Do ONE of the following:
i. Show that you have taken part in a scholarly activity (in school or in Scouting) that required teamwork, and discuss with your mentor what you learned about how a team of people can work together effectively, fairly, and efficiently.
ii. Find three resources (online, in a library, personal interview, etc.) of expert advice on successful teamwork strategies and discuss with your mentor what you learned about how a team of people can work together effectively, fairly, and efficiently.
E. Do ONE of the following:
i. Write an argument of approximately 500 words that defends or opposes the principle that, “Students should be obligated to report instances of cheating by others.” Discuss with your mentor.
ii. Conduct an ethical controversy discussion that addresses the question, “Should students be obligated to report instances of cheating by others?”

(*)If you are home-schooled, you may obtain a note from a counterpart such as your parent. If you are near the end of your current term, you may ask a current instructor. Otherwise, you should ask an instructor from the immediate past term

3.Using the guidelines found in the "Venturing STEM Explorations", complete STEM explorations for four of the topics listed above. (Note: These may be completed at any time after becoming a Venturer.)

4.Complete TWO Supernova activity topics, one each in two different STEM areas.

5.Participate in a local, state, or national science fair or mathematics competition OR in any equally challenging STEM-oriented competition or workshop approved by your mentor. An example of this would be an X-Prize type competition

6. Do ONE of the following:

A. Spend at least one day “shadowing” a local scientist or engineer. After your visit, discuss with your mentor your experience and what you learned about STEM careers.
B. Learn about a career that is heavily involved with STEM. Make a presentation to your mentor about what you learned

7. Working with your mentor, organize and present a Nova award or other STEM-related program at a Cub Scout den or pack meeting. Be sure to receive permission from the appropriate unit leader, and plan accordingly. If a Cub Scout den or pack is not available, your presentation may be given to another youth group

8. Review the scientific method (you may know this as the scientific process) and note how scientists establish hypotheses, theories, and laws. Compare how the establishment of "facts" or "rules" using the scientific method differs from the establishment of "facts" or "rules" in other environments, such as legal, cultural, religious, military, mathematical, or social environments. Then do each of the following:

A. Choose a current subject with at least two competing theories on the subject and learn as much as possible about each theory. Analyze the competing theories, decide which one is most convincing to you, and explain why to your mentor.
B. Make a presentation to your mentor that describes the controversy, the competing theories, and your conclusions about how the scientific method can or cannot contribute to the resolution of the controversy

9.Submit an application to the district or council Nova or advancement committee for approval

Wright Brothers Silver Supernova Award

Second-Level Supernova Award for Venturers

Option 1: For those who earned the Dr. Sally Ride Supernova Award as a registered Venturer

Requirements

1.Earn the Dr. Sally Ride Supernova Award while a registered Venturer.

2.Complete ONE additional Venturer Nova award for a total of four. (Note: This may be done at any time after becoming a Venturer.)

3.Using the guidelines found in the "Venturing STEM Explorations", complete FOUR of the topics listed above. The four topics must be different from those completed while working on the Dr. Sally Ride Supernova Award, for a total of eight different topics. (Note: These awards may be earned at any time after becoming a Venturer.)

4.Complete TWO additional Supernova activity topics, one each in the two STEM areas not completed for the Dr. Sally Ride Supernova Award. (Note: The intent is that upon completion of the Wright Brothers Supernova Award, the Venturer will have completed one Supernova activity topic in each of the four STEM areas.)

5.Participate in a local, state, or national science fair or mathematics competition OR any other equally challenging STEM-oriented competition or workshop approved by your mentor. An example of this would be an X-Prize type competition. (Note: The intent is that upon completion of the Wright Brothers Supernova Award, the Venturer will have participated in two such events.)

6.Working with your mentor, organize and present a Nova awards or other STEM-related program at a Cub Scout den or pack meeting. Be sure to receive permission from the appropriate unit leader. If a Cub Scout den or pack is not available, your presentation may be given to another group. (Note: The intent is that upon completion of the Wright Brothers Supernova Award, the Venturer will have completed two such presentations.)

7.Research a scientific, technical, engineering, or mathematical breakthrough or invention of the past 100 years that has affected our society in a meaningful way. Develop your hypothesis on how this invention might further affect our society during your lifetime. Present either a 30-minute oral report or a 1,500-word written report to your mentor

8.Submit an application to the district or council Nova or advancement committee for approval


Option 2: For those who earned the Dr. Bernard Harris Supernova Award as a registered Boy Scout

Requirements

1.Earn the Dr. Bernard Harris Supernova Award while a registered Boy Scout.

2.Complete ONE additional Venturer Nova award for a total of four. (Note: This may be done at any time after becoming a Venturer.) The Venturer Nova award completed should be different from the Boy Scout Nova awards previously completed.

3.Using the guidelines found in the "Venturing STEM Explorations", complete FOUR of the topics listed above. The four topics must be different from those completed while working on the Dr. Bernard Harris Supernova Award, for a total of eight different topics. (Note: These awards may be earned at any time after becoming a Venturer.) Additional merit badges earned while a Boy Scout may not be used in lieu of the STEM explorations required for this award.

4.Complete TWO additional Supernova activity topics, one each in the two STEM areas not completed for the Harris Supernova Award. (Note: The intent is that upon completion of the Wright Brothers Supernova Award, the Venturer will have completed one Supernova activity topic in each of the four STEM areas.)

5.Participate in a local, state, or national science fair or mathematics competition OR any other equally challenging STEM-oriented competition or workshop approved by your mentor. An example of this would be an X-Prize type competition. (Note: The intent is that, upon completion of the Wright Brothers Supernova Award, the Venturer will have participated in two such events.)

6.Working with your mentor, organize and present a Nova award or other STEM-related program to a Cub Scout den or pack meeting. Be sure to receive permission from the appropriate unit leader. If a Cub Scout den or pack is not available, your presentation may be given to another youth group. (Note: The intent is that upon completion of the Wright Brothers Supernova award the Venturer will have completed two such presentations.)

7.Research a scientific, technical, engineering, or mathematical breakthrough or invention of the past 100 years that has affected our society in a meaningful way. Develop your hypothesis on how this invention might further affect our society during your lifetime. Present either a 30-minute oral report or a 1,500-word written report to your mentor

8.Submit an application to the district or council Nova or advancement committee for approval

Dr. Albert Einstein Gold Supernova Award

Third-Level Supernova Award for Venturers

Requirements

1. Earn either the Thomas Edison Supernova Award while a registered Boy Scout or the Wright Brothers Supernova Award while a registered Venturer

2. Complete FOUR additional Supernova activity topics, one in each of the four different STEM areas. (Note: The intent is that upon completion of the Dr. Albert Einstein Supernova Award the Venturer will have completed two Supernova activity topics in each of the four STEM areas for a total of eight.)

3. Create and propose a new Nova awards topic for any program (Cub Scout, Webelos, Boy Scouts, or Venturing) comparable to the existing Nova awards topics at that program level. Prepare a written outline for this proposed Nova awards topic and submit it to your mentor

4. With guidance from your mentor, select an area of current STEM-related concern and develop a research project or experiment related to that area. This research project or experiment should be challenging and should require a significant investment of time and effort on your part. (A guideline would be approximately 100 hours.) If your mentor is not a specialist in the area of your project or experiment, he or she will solicit assistance from a specialist who to serve as a STEM consultant. Execute the project or experiment. Prepare a complete and well-documented written report AND an oral presentation. Present both to your mentor and your local council Nova committee

5. Submit an application to the national Nova committee for approval

Supernova Activity Topics

Each STEM field—science, technology, engineering, mathematics—offers a choice of three Supernova activity topics. 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 STEM fields, so this will be good preparation for future career demands. Notice 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, but the report itself may be created and presented in any number of ways. Use your imagination!

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

  • Oral report
  • Written report
  • Poster presentation
  • Virtual poster (See www.Glogster.com 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 can 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, or a poster presentation might include a slide show. 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.

Supernova Activity Topic: Science

If you are fascinated by how things work and you want to help contribute to a better planet Earth, the Supernova activity topic choices for science give you a hands-onchance to:

  • Reduce your environmental impact on Earth.
  • Explore the wonders of space technology.
  • See why carbonation and candy create an explosive experiment.

Choose any one of these activities and discover how it drives your imagination, your curiosity, and your fascination with science.

Environmental Science: New Things From Old

This activity can be done individually or in a group. Your task is to investigate the logistics and environmental value of recycling and repurposing used items into new products and to invent a product that is predominantly made from used item(s).

Part 1: Research

1. Find two products made primarily from recycled materials. Describe the recycling process and the production process for each of these products. Discuss with your mentor:
A. The impact of these recycled products on the environment compared with the impact of the same products made with all-new materials
B. The environmental impact of the two products regarding pollution control and remediation, such as hazardous byproducts in the air, water, and waste
C. The environmental impact of the two products regarding resource conservation and management, such as animal life, plant life, water, fuel, and protected lands/sites
D. The environmental impact of the two products regarding production infrastructure, such as land use, municipal planning, transportation, and energy

Part 2: Product Invention and Report

1. Develop your own design for a product that can be made by recycling or repurposing other items. The items being recycled or repurposed should form the bulk of the new product. For instance, avoid designs that are 5 percent recycled and 95 percent new materials. Use ONE of the following two approaches.
A. Find an item that isn’t environmentally friendly, doesn’t break down easily, and is typically thrown away. Invent a new product that would repurpose that item. The recycling of tires into road surfacing material and into playground mulch is an example of this approach.
B. Think of an often-used product that is typically made with all-new materials. Develop a way to make that product out of recycled or repurposed materials. (The production of paper grocery bags made from recycled paper instead of "new" paper is an example of this approach.)
2. Summarize design specifications of the product you invented for requirement 1, and create a drawing, model, or prototype. What resources would be needed to carry out a large-scale production of your invention? Speculate on the environmental impact of using your product over a comparable product made with all-new materials. Create a report that includes your design specifications, photos or illustrations, a summary of how your product can be mass produced, and a case for the environmental soundness of your product.

Movie "Science": Misconceptions, Misunderstandings, and Mistakes

This activity can be done individually or in a group. There are many popular movies and television shows with plots that involve space travel in the near or distant future. Your task in this activity is to watch one such production and identify scientific or technological advances that appear to be possible and those that appear to be impossible and explain.

Part 1: Research

1. View a movie or television show involving space, space travel, or life in space. In the movie or show, identify two instances of scientific "principles" or technological"advances" that violate currently accepted scientific principles or misrepresent currently available technology. Discuss the following with your mentor:
A. The scientific principle that is violated and how. Describe the technology that is misrepresented and how.
B. Two potentially plausible technological or scientific advances in your chosen movie—show and explain how these could potentially come to be in the future. Discuss the hurdles that would have to be overcome in order to develop those advances.
C. The scientifically based reasoning that leads you to believe scientists, engineers, mathematicians, and technology specialists can overcome these hurdles.

Part 2: Report

Create a report that is addressed to the producers of your chosen movie or show, from the perspective of a scientist hired as a consultant on the production. Include suggestions for the producers to make the movie more scientifically or technologically accurate, realistic, and plausible.

Household Chemistry: Diet Coke and Mentos Explosions

This activity can be done individually or in a group, but it is much more fun as a group. For this experiment, you will investigate how and why dropping a Mentos candy into a two-liter bottle of Diet Coke creates a massive explosion.

Part 1: Research and Experiment Design

Research this Diet Coke and Mentos phenomenon by doing the following:

1. Find out what others have discovered about how and why this experiment works. Note who discovered what about the experiment. Keep track of your references and resources.
2. Formulate a hypothesis that you would like to test.
3. Design an experiment to test your hypothesis. Be sure to get approval from your mentor prior to conducting your experiment. Make sure your plans for the experiment include an outside location, a list of supplies needed (which should be inexpensive, readily available, and safe), adequate safety protocols and equipment (safety goggles, etc.), plans for accurate and precise measurements, a list of step by-step procedures, number of trials, and plans for recording and analysis of data.

Part 2: Experiment and Report

Conduct your experiment. You might want to videotape your experimental trials and include some video clips in your final report.

1. Discuss the following with your mentor:
A. What happened during the experiment.
B. How the evidence supported or contradicted your hypothesis.
C. Whether the experiment raised any new questions for you.
D. Whether something unexpected happened during the experiment. Tell how what happened might suggest about a future experiment on this same phenomenon.
2.Create a report that describes your hypothesis, experiment, and conclusions. (For guidance, see “Report Format Options” earlier in this section.)


Supernova Activity Topic: Technology

From the energy that keeps our homes comfortable and our lights on, to the communication that lets us talk to people around the world, to the special effects used in the movies, we depend on technology. Choose any one of the following projects and you will have fun while learning about today’s technology.

Energy Technology

This activity can be done individually or in a group. The technology to harness energy has always been a significant factor in human progress. The harnessing of energy from wind, sun, water, biomass, fossil fuels, and other sources has evolved dramatically over time.

Part 1: Field Trip

Arrange and go on a field trip to a site where you can learn about innovative and/or historical examples of energy production, storage, and use and the ways people are making such processes sustainable. Possible sites include power plants, fuel manufacturers or refineries, power generation sites, energy- or resource-efficient buildings, historical sites of energy use or production, educational centers, museums, and so on.

Part 2: Analysis and Report

1. Create a report that describes your field trip and what you learned.
2. For the energy production and/or use that you chose, find out about the current state of technology, its course in historical that led to today’s technology, and future directions for this technology. Discuss the following with your mentor.
A. The effect on the environment, our natural resources, and our economy of our current methods
B. Whether current methods are sustainable over the long term

Communication Technology

This activity can be done individually or in a group. It requires the participation of 20 to 30 people.

The scenario: You are the communication chair for a science fair being organized by your unit. Your responsibility is to gather contact information from all participants (contestants, judges, staff, and so on) and formulate a communication plan that will be effective for anticipated communications and necessary-but-unexpected communications as well. You will need to be able to communicate some information to everyone, other information to subgroups, and additional information to another group of individuals.

Part 1: Communication Plan

Before you get started, share your plan with your mentor. Then do the following:

1. Solicit volunteers to serve as participants. Give each participant a mock role in your mock science fair. You will need 20 to 30 such individuals.
2. From each participant, gather at least two ways to contact him or her, as well as an emergency contact. Participants should list their contact modes in order, from the most-likely-to-be-received to the least-likely-to-be-received.
3. Set up plans for how you will broadcast messages to various subgroups, how you will get emergency messages to groups or individuals who will have access to the contact information, how access will be maintained, and back-up plans in case you are suddenly unavailable.
4. Test your plan by playing a few Mad Libs via your communication plan. To test your communication plan, choose a particular Mad Lib and send out requests for various types of words (verbs, adjectives, nouns, and so on) to a group of individuals and subgroups. Make sure you cover your entire set of recipients or recipient groups, and be sure to give everyone a deadline for a response.

If you don’t get responses, follow up with additional messages, perhaps via different communication modes. When you have what you need, make sure you communicate the finished Mad Lib back to the relevant individuals.

Part 2: Analysis and Report

Gather some statistics relevant to your communication plan and your participants. Then do the following:

1. Discuss with your counselor:
A. The many distinct modes of communication your participants used
B. Any modes of communication used but with which you were unfamiliar
C. The technology used for your broadcast communication messages and whether that technology was the most effective mode of communication for one-on-one messages
2. Create a report that outlines your communication plan, how you implemented it, and how effective it was. Include information about the biggest hurdle, anything unexpected that happened, and what you would do differently if this had been a real assignment for you.

Entertainment Technology

This activity can be done individually or in a group. Many of today’s movies involve extensive use of technology to create illusions of magnificent landscapes, mythical beasts, epic battle scenes, and so on. This activity involves learning about some of these technologies and applying them in a real-life setting.

Part 1: Building Knowledge

Choose a favorite, recent movie that is heavily laden with special effects, available for home viewing, and accompanied by supplemental material that describes and shows how the special effects were created. After you have chosen a movie, do the following:

1. Watch and study the material on the special effects.
2. Do some supplemental research on some of these special effects to build your understanding of them.
3. Choose one scene in the movie, or even one frame, and describe in detail to your mentor how that scene or frame was put together using various special effects.
4. Discuss with your mentor which of the special effects you would implement (even if just crudely) if you were to take a still photo or make a short video and wanted to give the illusion of something magnificent or unusual happening.

Part 2: Creating a Grand Illusion

Develop a plan for creating a still photo or a short video that would require special effects to convey the image or action that you desire to show. Be sure you share your plan with your mentor before you get started. For a still photo, make a crude sketch of what you want the photo to look like. For a video, make a storyboard of the action sequence.

In either case, describe the special effects you would use to create each element of the piece. Discuss the following with your mentor:

1. What you would do first and how.
2. The sequence of special events and how everything goes together in the end. Do as many of the parts of the photo or video yourself as possible and describe what would best be done by highly trained and/or educated professionals

Supernova Activity Topic: Engineering

Have you ever studied how your bicycle works? To learn how a bicycle is put together (or engineered), here is a project for disassembling one. Or what about making a high-performance paper glider? Or having a contest to see who can drop a raw egg without breaking it? Choose any one of these activities to learn more about engineering.

Deconstruct and Analyze: Mechanical Designs

This activity can be done individually or in a small group. Your task is to take apart a bicycle (or other suitably complex mechanical device; see the note below), analyze the components, and describe how the components work (both separately and together).

Part 1: Preplanning and Set-Up

1. Do the following:
A. With your mentor’s assistance, choose an unwanted older bicycle—or any other complex mechanical device—perhaps not completely in working order, that is a bit beyond what you feel comfortable dismantling.
B. Find a location for the project where you can take things apart, leave the pieces undisturbed, and come back another time.
C. Determine and gather the necessary tools. You are encouraged to find resources to help you with the deconstruction, such as written instructions or a repair specialist willing to volunteer his/her time. (The specialist cannot touch the object or the parts, or handle the tools during dismantling. You and any fellow youth must do all of the dismantling.)

Part 2: Deconstruction, Analysis, and Report

This next phase involves deconstructing the device. Take pictures as you work, and make notes of what is happening in each picture.

1. Determine the following:
A. The major components of the bicycle
B. What parts make up each component
C. How the components work together
D. The mechanical or electronic advantages that a minimum of three parts or circuits convey
2. Discuss the following with your mentor:
A. What might cause a failure in one of the components
B. The kinds of failures that can be fixed if you are using the device away from home (for example, if you are out mountain biking)
C. The basic elements of keeping the device well maintained
D. Considering the intended owner/user and uses of this device, discuss improvements to the design that could be made.
3. Create a report that communicates your understanding of the experience and addresses the following points.
A. Document the deconstruction process, your analysis of the components, and how they work together
B. Document your analysis of failure possibilities plus maintenance requirements, and what these suggest about design improvements

Build and Test: High Performance Paper Gliders

This activity can be done individually, but works much better with at least two people. Your task is to measure how differences in design affect the flight characteristics of a glider. You will accomplish this by building and testing some high-performance paper gliders. These gliders use a laminated construction method that helps simulate a real glider much more closely than a simple folded piece of paper.

Part 1: Background Research, Baseline Design Selection, and Test

1. Research and discuss the following with your mentor:
A. The fundamental parts of a glider
B. The basic elements of the physics of stable flight
2. Choose a glider design from a kit or plans. (You do not need to design the glider yourself.) Then do the following:
A. Identify one quantitative characteristic to test, such as flight distance, flight time, average flight speed, and so on. Then identify one qualitative characteristic to test, such as presence of a stall, dive, flip, left turn, right turn, and so on.
B. Hypothesize how variations in one part of the glider, such as wing size, fuselage length, center of gravity, flap size, and so on, might influence these characteristics of the glider’s performance.
C. Build four high-performance gliders, identical except for variations in the relevant glider part.
D. Establish a consistent method to measure each characteristic during a test flight. Then find a way to launch the gliders in a consistent manner so that they are launched at the same speed every time. You should perform test flights with each model five to six times to account for variations in flight performance. Try to keep the conditions of each test flight the same as for all the other test flights. Keep records of the results for each test flight.

Part 2: Analyze and Report

Present to your mentor your recorded data in a tabular format as well as a graphical format. (You may use Excel if you wish.) Then do the following:

1. Evaluate the data and determine how the variations in the tested glider part influenced the flight characteristics you observed. Based on the data you gathered, predict how the glider would perform relative to the flight characteristics you observed if you were to build a glider with another variation in the same glider part.
2. Suggest an ideal design of your tested glider part that would maximize the glider’s performance relative to the flight characteristics you observed and explain your reasoning for this design.
3. Create a report that describes your glider, the flight tests, the flight data, and your conclusions. Include the procedures you followed to ensure consistent test conditions.
4. Share the flight records and data you have gathered with your mentor. Discuss what you have learned.

Design and Redesign: Egg Drop Contest

This is a group activity and requires at least two youth. Your task is to design a container in which to place a raw egg, so that when the container with the egg is dropped, the egg survives the impact without breaking.

Part 1: Research, Design, and Contest Set-Up

Research and describe to your mentor:

1. The physical forces affecting the outcome of an egg drop test
2. Desirable characteristics of container materials
3. Rules for other egg drop contests. (With your parent’s or guardian’s permission, search online.)
4. As a group, come to a consensus about the constraints and rules for your egg drop contest. Adopt, adapt, or make up your own rules. You might want to break into divisions, each with its own rules. (Youth with stronger STEM backgrounds should adopt more challenging constraints and rules.) Here are some guidelines. You must:
A. Agree on constraints that the egg container must meet, such as dimensions, weight, allowable materials, disallowed elements, and so on.
B. Agree on rules to ensure fairness, such as judging decisions, conditions for elimination, scoring system, how to win, and so on. You may wish to have several different ways to win.
C. Communicate the constraints and competition rules to all participants.
D. Design and build your container.
E. Have fun—conduct the contest!

Part 2: Analysis, Redesign, and Report

Analyze how your container performed, and discuss with your mentor your design strategy and how well the container you designed performed. Then do the following:

1. Given your container’s performance, your knowledge of the physical forces acting on it during a test drop, and your observations of other participants’ containers and results, redesign your container. Your redesigned container should still fit within the contest constraints but offer improved performance.
2. Consider whether you would alter the constraints, how, and why. Create a report that communicates your understanding of the experience and addresses the following points.
A. Describe your original egg container, your original design strategy, and your analysis of its performance.
B. Describe your redesigned container and the reasoning that led to your new model.

Supernova Activity Topic: Mathematics

Have you ever watched bungee jumpers and wondered why they don’t hit the ground? You can make a model of your own and figure it out. Or, what about the Yellowstone geyser Old Faithful—how can you tell when it will erupt? What about voting—can you imagine how so many people in so many states can go in, cast a vote, and come out with a fair result? Mathematics is the key. Choose any one of these projects to learn how it’s done.

From Simulations to Real Life: Modeling Bungee Jumping

This activity requires at least two people and works much better with a group of three to six people.

The scenario: The Acme Daredevil Adventure Company provides rock climbing, skydiving, extreme skiing, and cliff diving adventures to the public. To appeal to a broader market, the board decided to add bungee jumping to its list of offerings. The details of this new venture now need to be worked.

The company has several sites planned for bungee jumping, and each site has a different jump height. Your task is to simulate bungee jumping using rubber bands and an action figure (doll) to determine the ultimate length, or the number of rubber bands to be used with your action figure at any given height to guarantee a safe jump. For maximum thrills, the jump must allow your action figure to come as close to the floor as possible.

Part 1: Set-Up and Simulation

Tape a weight(s) to the doll’s back so that it is heavy enough to stretch the rubber band "bungee cord." Tie one or two rubber bands (the unstretched size should be about 4 inches) to the doll’s feet and drop it, headfirst, from various heights. Keep raising the jump height until the head no longer hits the floor. Once you reach this height, perform three trials, measure the height of the drop each time, calculate the average, and calculate the maximum error between the average and the drop heights used to find that average. (Conduct a test drop several times to practice taking readings.)

Continue adding rubber bands to see what the average drop height will be for different numbers of rubber bands. Do the experiment with at least six different numbers of rubber bands. Use a tabular chart to help you organize and record your data. (You may use Excel or create your own tables.)

Part 2: Analysis and Report

1. Create a scatter plot of ordered pairs of the type (number of rubber bands, average drop height). You may do this by hand or using data analysis software, such as Excel.
2. Using the scatter plot you have created, determine whether the points appear to lie on or near a line. Find such a line. If your mathematics background is not yet extensive, then find such a line by “eyeballing it” and drawing it onto the scatter plot with a ruler. Otherwise use a graphing calculator or data analysis software of your choice to find the line of best fit for your data.
3. Describe to your mentor how to use the line (graphical form or symbolic form) to make predictions. Then complete the following sentence (hypothesis): "If the height of the drop is _________________, then I predict that the number of rubber bands needed is _________________."
4. Test your prediction and analyze the outcome. Determine whether the prediction matched reality, how far off the prediction was, and what errors or issues arose that may have thrown off the results of your simulation. Test and analyze three more predictions.
5. Analyze the maximum errors found in your tests. Then find out the height of your favorite location (such as the Statue of Liberty, Eiffel Tower, or Golden Gate Bridge). If you drop your action figure from the top of that location, how many rubber bands would you need for a safe drop from that height? What would you expect to be the maximum error in your prediction?
6. Now, consider the realities of bungee jumping with real human beings using real bungee cords and equipment. Discuss the following with your mentor:
A. The factors that need to be considered when testing this equipment to develop safety protocols
B. Reliable statistics on the risk of serious injury or death while bungee jumping
C. Bungee jumping is one of the high-adventure activities that is expressly not allowed by the Boy Scouts of America. What do you think of this policy?
7. Create a report addressed to the Risk Management Board of the Acme Daredevil Adventure Company. In your report, include the following:
A. A description of your simulation
B. Your simulation data displayed in a chart and graph
C. How your data led to your ability to make predictions about safe bungee jumping heights
D. The variables that might have affected your predictions

Linking the Past to the Future: Predicting Old Faithful’s Next Eruption

This activity can be done individually, but works much better with three to six people.

The scenario: You have lined up a summer job as a junior park ranger at Yellowstone National Park, where you know many visitors come to see the geyser Old Faithful. Many visitors arrive just after Old Faithful has erupted and they typically ask a nearby ranger when it is next expected to erupt. Your task is to analyze past data on Old Faithful’s eruptions in order to devise a strategy for predicting the next eruption.

Part 1: Data Gathering and Initial Analysis

1. Gather information about geysers in general and their behavior.
A. Find data on intervals (length of time) between eruptions for Old Faithful. Be aware that Old Faithful’s eruption behavior has changed over the years. Use the most current data you can find. For your analysis and to test your prediction strategy, you will need information on all of the intervals for three consecutive 24-hour periods, plus intervals for the fourth consecutive 24-hour period. Each additional youth must use intervals for different days.
B. Create two graphical displays of the data from three days of eruptions, analyze the patterns, and formulate your initial prediction strategy.

Part 2: Further Analysis, Refinement of Prediction Strategy, and Report

1. Do the following:
A. Using the data you have collected for part 1, determine how much variability you see from day to day. How much variability is there within a single 24-hour period? Is knowledge of one interval sufficient to predict the next eruption? Why or why not?
B. Determine what patterns in the data are illuminated (or perhaps obscured) in the different graphical displays. Of the graphs you used, which one best illustrated the wait time pattern for Old Faithful? Would you refine your prediction strategy? If so, why and how? If not, why not?
C. Use your prediction strategy to estimate all of the eruptions for the fourth 24-hour period, and compare your estimates to the actual eruption times. Calculate the differences between your estimates and the actual times. What is the maximum difference? Why are there patterns in the Old Faithful data? Is there a geological explanation?
D. Create a report that describes and addresses your prediction strategy, includes your graphical displays, and explains how your graphical displays support your strategy.
E. Discuss the data you have collected, your report, and what you have learned with your mentor.

Share your report with your mentor.

A Paradox of Counting: Voting Methods and Fair Decisions

This activity can be done individually or with a group of two to six people, and requires cooperation from about 20 to 30 individuals.

The scenario: Your unit wants to plan a superactivity for next summer but cannot agree on what that activity should be. There are four options under consideration, and your unit decides to vote. Your task is to collect ballots and tabulate results using several different voting methods.

Part 1: Ballot Setup, Gathering, and Tabulating

1. Decide on four superactivities that your unit would genuinely be interested in doing next summer. Aim for four genuine options, none of which is likely to receive a majority of the votes. Discuss these options with your mentor before doing the following:
A. Create ballots on which each voter can list his/her first, second, third, and fourth choices from among the four prospective superactivities.
B. Find 20 to 30 unit members, prospective guests for the superactivity, unit leaders, parents, and so on, to complete one ballot each. Each voter should vote sincerely, without trying to strategize.
C. Do some research and learn how to tabulate winners using each of the following four voting methods:
i. Plurality method
ii. Borda count method
iii. Plurality-with-elimination method (sometimes called the instant runoff method)
iv. Pair-wise comparison method (sometimes called Copeland’s method)

Part 2: Analysis and Report

1. As you tabulate the results using each voting method, evaluate each method and discuss the following with your mentor.
A. What do you notice? How fair is each method?
B. How would the results be affected if two or three voters had cast strategic ballots (instead of sincere ballots), in an effort to "not waste their votes"?
C. Which of the four voting methods do you believe is the right voting method for this decision in your unit? Why?
D. Consider how we elect the president of the United States of America.
i. What voting method do we use?
ii. What are its advantages and disadvantages?
iii. Do you believe each voting citizen in the United States has an equal say in the vote tabulation?
iv. Is it possible for citizens to cast strategic votes and influence the outcome of a presidential election?
2.Create a report that summarizes the results from the various voting methods, outlines your analysis, and comments on voting methods for the U.S. presidency. Share your report with your mentor

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