Who said STEM NOVA projects can’t be fun? Not Life Scout Austin from Troop 447 in Rockville Maryland. Austin combined doing his “Up & Away” NOVA project requirements with a COPE rock wall climbing adventure, check out the video here. I asked Austin to explain what he had to do and why he decided to do it the way he did:
“For the NOVA award requirement 3C I had to design a way to deliver rescue supplies to an area hit by a natural disaster, so with some scrap wood I had I built a box to hold a small bottle of water, a granola bar and a (empty) medicine bottle. Then I had to design a parachute to hang the supplies from. I asked my dad to cut and sew a ripped hammock we had into the parachute I designed and them I attached lines to it. There were 16 lines, so I grouped them into 4 groups so they would get tangled so much. On each group I put a leader line that I attached to each corner of the wooden box.
So then I had to test it, but I didn’t know any high buildings or bridges that I could use. So then Ms. Trisha told me perhaps I could do it from the COPE wall at Camp Snyder and I said YES PLEASE! On Saturday we drove to Camp Snyder in Haymarket, Virginia and Ms. Trisha asked Mr. Waisanen, the NCAC COPE & Climbing Chair, if I could do my project and he said yes. We had to figure out how to drop it and how to collect the data I needed for the requirements. There was another adult, Mr. Lesko, who talked to me about how to throw or drop the parachute from the 24’ high tower. I chose static drop, because that was easier and more reliable for deploying and collecting data. I also had to figure out how to pull the parachute back up after each drop and how to stay at the top of the climbing tower and still be able to use my hands. The COPE teachers showed me how I could put my feet against the wall so I could use my hands. That was really cool! I had a looped cord all the way down that they tied the parachute on, so I could pull it up every time and I dropped the parachute 3 times. My mom took the hang time with a stopwatch and my friend Keefer checked the box to make sure it wasn’t damaged and to check the supplies inside. The box was still good after 3 drops, so my experiment was successful. After that I climbed down and we had to clean all the equipment we used with soap and water to make it safe for the next person to use.”
Austin made a fun STEM project into an exciting adventure and put his own spin to a requirement. He is one step closer to earning one of the many BSA Nova Awards.
To learn more about BSA Nova Awards, visit https://www.scouting.org/stem-nova-awards/ or http://www.ncacbsa.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/stem-nova_program_overview.pdf .
To learn more about all the cool adventures at Camp William B. Snyder click here.
A big THANK YOU to Camp William B. Snyder, National Capital Area Council, Director of STEM & Exploring Ms. Trisha, PM COPE Mr. Tony Waisanen and NOVA advice from Mr. John Lesko.