Perfect Match: RAFT Hands-on Learning and BSA STEM Nova Awards Program

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RAFT and BSA have long enjoyed a synergistic partnership fostered by their shared commitment to enhance the lives of the youth in our communities.

Scouts practice the STEM Nova Caesar Cipher Disc Activity

It’s critical to spark the love of STEM in our Cub Scouts now while they are open to learning about the world around them.

In keeping with this shared goal, Resource Area For Teaching (RAFT) is proud to support the Boy Scouts of America's Nova Awards (BSA Nova Awards) program. The BSA Nova Awards program incorporates learning with engaging hands-on learning activities and exposure in science, technology, engineering and mathematics for Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, and Venturers. RAFT has mapped the Nova Awards to nearly 200 RAFT Idea Sheets which contain engaging activities that specifically match the program objective of encouraging interest in STEM-related concepts.

The requirements and activities for earning these awards stimulate interest in STEM-related fields and show how science, technology, engineering and mathematics apply in a real world setting. Counselors and mentors help bring this educational, engaging, and fun program to life for youth members.

“It’s critical to spark the love of STEM in our Cub Scouts now while they are open to learning about the world around them. If they [children] realize now that they can be a part of the technological phenomenon known around the world as Silicon Valley, we might enable them to pursue the path to college and prepare them for STEM careers and compete in a global marketplace, shaping the future of our planet,” says Cubmaster Richard Hendricks.

Scouting provides out of school exposure to STEM which is important for today’s youth since many jobs now and in the future will require varying levels of mastery in these topics. For this reason, RAFT created an easy to use chart to quickly show Scout leaders and mentors which activities map to each STEM Nova award. Each activity, or RAFT Idea Sheet, is linked to additional information such as materials needed, main topics covered, and suggested grade range. The most popular activities are available from RAFT as prepackaged kits, with discounts available for all educators, including Scout leaders.

Nearly 200 RAFT Idea Sheets have been matched to the Boy Scout Nova Program. RAFT has over 700 Idea Sheets total, all aligned to the latest curriculum standards. The Idea Sheets Search Tool helps to pinpoint activities that are perfectly suited to specific grade level, subject area, and content standard. New search capability allows searching by tag to make it even easier to find Idea Sheets which match specific categories such as “Boy Scouts”, “Girl Scouts”, or “Khan Academy”. All RAFT Idea Sheets are based on readily-available, low-cost materials such as cardboard tubes, bottle caps, old CD's, etc.

Upcycling and recycling donated materials has been a major proponent of RAFT’s mission and has enabled RAFT to provide affordable and hands-on education tools – making it possible for all children to benefit from learning that is engaging and increases comprehension.

About Resource Area For Teaching

RAFT believes the best way to spark the love of learning for the next generation of thinkers, innovators, problem-solvers, and creators, is through hands-on learning. A nonprofit organization since 1994, RAFT serves 12,000 educators each year who teach over 900,000 students. Find out more about RAFT and how to get involved at http://www.raft.net.

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Brittany Coleman
@RAFTBayArea
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