On February 6, NCAC kicked off the first STEM@Home of 2021! STEM@Home is a online Nova program that enables Cub Scouts to learn Novas from the comforts of their homes! To start off the year we had two cub scout Nova classes:
Cub scouts had the tremendous opportunity to learn about secret codes with the NSA National Cryptologic Museum. Ms. Jen Wilcox and cameraman Mr. Craig taught live from the museum, demonstrating the NSA cipher, Navajo Joe, and railroad codes. The NSA National Cryptologic Museum in Annapolis Junction in MD has taught the 1-2-3 Go Nova on-site pre-pandemic. Thankfully NCAC Nova Counselor Ms. Plano-Faber made the connection to Ms. Wilcox who practiced and tweaked the museum’s program for our STEM@Home virtual format, and together they guided cubs through a fantastic worksheet deciphering codes! (Have you ever heard of a rail fence cipher? ) We can’t wait to visit once the museum reopens!
In another section, the Senior Director of Innovation Research & Development from Intelligent Waves LLC, Mr. John Hammes taught cub scouts about the history of secret codes. Mr. Hammes was a cub scout as a youth and volunteered to give back as a SME (subject matter expert) guiding these cubs through the emergences and industry uses of codes.
NCAC Nova Counselor Dr. Jason Kralj then met with the combined cub scout group to teach the other elements of the 1-2-3 Go Nova Award: statistics! Cub scouts had submit survey questions in advance, which we ran as a poll in ZOOM so everyone could collect data from their peers to meet requirement 2 of the Nova. They then learned how to display the results before moving into the fun coin toss experiment!
Cub Scouts Can Code
In another class, cub scouts learned to code with NCAC Nova Counselor Mr. Mark Bruno. This is the second time Mr. Bruno taught this class in STEM@Home and the screenshot is from a step-coding game that he created and facilitated for the whole group! As you might imagine, this Nova Award covers a different type of codes than those in 1-2-3 Go. These cub scouts walked away with a better understanding of binary codes and algorithms; and those who completed the post-requisites even earned their full Nova Award!
Thank you to our guests, Mr. Hammes, Ms. Wilcox and Cameraman Craig as well as our very own NCAC Nova Counselors Dr. Kralj, Ms. Plano-Faber and Mr. Bruno for putting on this excellent event!
The next STEM@Home will be on April 17, 2021. This event will include Novas for Cub Scouts as well as Scouts BSA — be sure to check it out! https://scoutingevent.com/082-stemnova