Let It Grow!

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Submit any questions regarding the STEM Nova or Supernova awards to [email protected]

Let It Grow!

This patch is worn as a temporary emblem
on the right uniform pocket.
Last updated:
Level:Scouts BSA

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, Scouts, Venturers, and Sea Scouts. Youth may earn all STEM Nova awards for their program. The Supernova awards are designed to inspire further study. It is recommended that you complete at least two STEM Nova awards before starting the requirements for the Supernova award.

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

This module is designed to help you explore where your food comes from and how agriculture affects your life each day. Agriculture includes growing crops and raising animals to provide food and other products. Let It Grow! is part of the Science category.

Let It Grow! requirements

  1. Choose A or B or C and complete ALL the requirements.
    A.Watch about three hours total of shows or documentaries related to agriculture or farming. 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.
    Some examples include—but are not limited to—shows found on PBS ("NOVA"), Discovery Channel, Science Channel, National Geographic Channel, TED Talks (online videos), and the History Channel. You may choose to watch a live performance or movie at a planetarium or science museum instead of watching a media production. You may watch online productions with your counselor’s approval and under your parent’s supervision; appropriate websites include http://www.americasheartland.org/ and http://www.neok12.com/Agriculture.htm.
    B. Read (about three hours total) about anything related to agriculture or farming. Then do the following:
    1. Make a list of at least five questions or ideas from each article.
    2. Discuss two of the questions or ideas with your counselor.
    Books on these topics may be found at your local library. Examples of magazines include—but are not limited to—Odyssey, Kids Discover, National Geographic Kids, Highlights, and Owl.
    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 agriculture.
    Animal ScienceFishingMammal Study
    Farm MechanicsGardeningPlant Science
    Fish and Wildlife ManagementInsect StudySoil and Water Conservation
  3. Act like a farmer! Think about crops or animals that are found on a farm, and think about the different kinds of farms. Then choose TWO from A or B or C.
    A. With your counselor, choose two of the following topics related to food production or processing, and investigate them. Discuss your findings with your counselor.
    1. Where did the food you ate for dinner last night come from? Pick one food item and learn more about each of its ingredients. Where were those ingredients grown, and how did the food item get to your table?
    2. What kind of equipment is used on a farm?
    3. How were food plants invented? Where do most food plants come from?
    4. How and why are scientists working to develop plants that don’t need as much water?
    5. If a big disaster wiped out a lot of food plants, how would we get more of them? How do seed banks work?
    B. Define and learn about two of the following, and discuss with your counselor.
    1. Farming practice categories (conventional, sustainable, till, low-till, and no-till)
    2. Conventional, organic, and biotech farming (compare and contrast)
    3. Effects of weather on farming
    4. Converting biomass into energy
    5. STEM careers in agriculture (food science, plant science, farming, agricultural engineering)
    C. Do an “agriscience” experiment and discuss the results with your counselor. Examples of experiments include—but are not limited to—the following:
    1. Grow different types of seeds and compare the seedling plants. Use fast-growing seeds such as carrots, castor beans, lima beans, onions, radishes, soybeans, or tomatoes.
    2. Select and study a specific growing variable such as the type of liquid used to water a seed, the type of light, the growing temperature, or the soil type. (Examples of growing studies can be found at https://www.agclassroom.org/student/ and http://www.sciencekids.co.nz/projects/plants.html.)
    3. People often think of microorganisms as germs, but many of the ones found in soil are good for agriculture. How can plants grow in soil if no microorganisms are present? Search the internet—with your parent’s permission—and find an experiment that can be done to test the effect of microorganisms. Then perform the experiment.
  4. Visit a farm, botanical garden, grocery store, or any other location where farm produce can be found. If a visit is not possible, you can do a virtual tour online with your parent’s permission and counselor’s approval.
    A. During your visit, talk with someone in charge about how the plants are grown or animals are raised, and how the food is processed.
    Discuss with your counselor the food science involved at the place you visited.
  5. Discuss with your counselor how farming affects your everyday life.

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Please note any errors found in the above requirements on this article's Talk Page.


Worksheet A FREE workbook for Let It Grow! is available here! (PDF or Word) with the maps, charts, links, diagrams, and checklists you need! Or click here to print just the Let It Grow! requirements. usscouts.org has PDF and Word versions of workbooks for Scouts BSA ranks and merit badges, Cub Scouting ranks and adventures, and STEM Nova awards.

External links

STEM Nova Awards Program Advancement
Award Overview:STEM Nova awards
Worksheets:Nova & Supernova Award Worksheets
Cub Scout
Nova:Science: Science EverywhereDown and DirtyNova WILD!Out of This WorldUncovering the PastTechnology: Tech TalkCub Scouts Can CodeEngineering: Swing!Up and AwayMath: 1-2-3 Go!Fearful Symmetry
Supernova:Dr. Luis W. Alvarez Supernova Award (Wolf/Bear only) • Dr. Charles H. Townes Supernova Award (Webelos only)
Scouts BSA
Nova:Science: Shoot!Let It Grow!Splash!Mendel's MinionsTechnology: Start Your Engines!Hello, WorldEngineering: Whoosh!Up and AwayNext Big ThingMath: Designed to Crunch
Supernova:Dr. Bernard Harris Bronze Supernova AwardThomas Edison Silver Supernova Award
Venturer / Sea Scout
Nova:Science: Launch!Wade!What a LifeTechnology: Power UpExecuteSomething from NothingEngineering: Hang On!Up and AwayMath: Numbers Don't Lie
Supernova:Dr. Sally Ride Bronze Supernova AwardWright Brothers Silver Supernova AwardDr. Albert Einstein Gold Supernova Award
Scouter:Dr. Paul A. Siple Bronze Supernova Award

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