Exploration can be FUN and should be a part of Cub Scouting even if it might later lead to NASA career. Cub Scouts can explore STEM topics associated with a variety of NASA careers through both Adventures as well as STEM Nova Award modules. The latter can be earned by Wolves, Bears, Webelos, and Arrow of Light Scouts.
Some awards, such as the Tiger elective Sky is the Limit Adventure and the Out of this World STEM Nova Award module, are obviously related to NASA work. Meanwhile, others are more subtly related to NASA. For example, learning how to play tabletop games through the Tigeriffic! elective can be a good step towards programming and a computer career because both games and programming rely on careful attention to procedures.
There are other Cub Scout activities that connect to NASA, for example nature hikes and conservation projects which might be done to earn the Cub Scout Outdoor Activity Award. NASA studies the Earth to learn about the climate, erosion, and more. What is learned can help us improve life on Earth and it can also help us understand the other planets in our solar system and beyond. As an example of how environmental science can lead to a NASA career, Ricky Arnold—a former Cub Scout—worked in the marine sciences (and as a teacher) before his selection as an astronaut.
And NASA is learning about how plants, animals, and people adapt to life in space and exploring how to look for alien life! For the latter, NASA researchers are investigating extremophiles, creatures which live in in extreme Earth environments that may be acidic, dry, hot, salty, etc. So, learning about life on our planet may help us discover life elsewhere.
NASA’s Earth measurements, which can peer through jungles for example, are also used by archaeologists to help them find ruins from long ago as described in the online article Peering through the Sands of Time. And that’s related to the Uncovering the Past STEM Nova Award module. You can see how other modules align with NASA careers in the figure below. And these are just a few of the ways in which Cub Scout activities and advancement tie to NASA exploration!
• NASA for Students in Grades K-5
• NASA for Students in Grades 5-8
• Space Archaeology: Uncovering the Past: Includes instructions for an Ancient Civilization Sandbox.
• What are Extremophiles?
• Where are Extremophiles?