The Nova awards are available to all Boy Scouts and are optional. Requirements must be completed while registered as a Boy Scout and before turning age 18. There are four Boy Scout Nova awards (Shoot!, Start Your Engines!, Whoosh!, Designed to Crunch)—one for each STEM area—and a Scout can earn all four. Completion of any Nova award earns a Boy Scout the right to wear the respective Nova award patch. Completion of each additional STEM Nova award is recognized by a pi (π) pin placed on the patch. Each award builds on the STEM-related topic, involves hands-on activities, and often includes a field trip.
The Supernova awards recognize superior achievement in the STEM fields and require significantly more effort by the Boy Scout than the Nova awards. The two Supernova awards are available to all Boy Scouts who have achieved the rank of First Class. The Dr. Bernard Harris Supernova Bronze Award requires the Scout to have earned any three of the four Boy Scout Nova awards. The Thomas Edison Supernova Silver Award requires completion of the fourth Boy Scout Nova award in addition to the Harris Award as a prerequisite. For the Supernova awards, a mentor, who serves much like a merit badge counselor, is required.
For complete requirements and more information about the Nova and Supernova awards, refer to the Boy Scout Nova Awards Guidebook, or go to www.scouting.org/stem.