There were merit badges to earn and STEM lessons to learn at the Hawk Mountain Council’s third annual STEM University event, which is why troops from across the area gathered at Albright College this January, despite the frigid winter weather.
The Reading Eagle told the story of how participants, cozy inside the college’s Computing Math and Science Center, all but forgot about the falling snow as they enjoyed fun activities in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), discovering new interests along the way.
The event was an opportunity for Boy Scouts to get together, have fun, and earn merit badges—specifically, merit badges pertaining to STEM-related topics such as chemistry and robotics.
Fresh from learning about nuclear science and chemistry, Scout Cole C., 13, told Reading Eagle,“I am getting a lot of experience in a lot of different fields here.”
But these lessons weren’t limited to the sciences. In addition to teaching fun skills like geocaching and coding, “Scouting teaches leadership qualities and team-building,” Cole said.
The event was organized by Joshua Potts, Hawk Mountain Council’s director of special programs and STEM Scouts— a BSA pilot program designed to captivate young people and pique their interests in STEM topics.
Potts, according to Reading Eagle, was pleased with the turnout—especially considering the inclement weather. In all, nearly 200 Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts attended the event.
Potts explained that these entertaining activities actually help the Scouts develop skills and interests that could lead to future careers, build character, and learn about current STEM topics.
One of these topics was taught by Scoutmaster Eric Silva, who lead a computer programming class for the event. According to Silva, computer science is a valuable skill to learn.
“They are learning how to break down codes,” the Scoutmaster said. “We are learning the history of programming. That’s how all of the video games and internet programs are developed.”
Silva’s take on computer programming is a perfect example of how STEM education really can be an exciting experience for young people—STEM can be found in a multitude of activities they already enjoy!