Five Wolf Cub Scouts in Pack 1967 and one Webelos Scout worked all year to earn the Dr. Luis W. Alvarez Cub Scout Supernova Award and the Dr. Charles H. Townes Webelos Supernova Award.
All six Scouts began their work on the award in July 2019, by learning that science, technology, engineering and math are an important part of almost every career. While the Scouts could have visited someone who works in a traditional STEM-based career, they met Mr. Kirkland, the manager of the Fairfax Duck Donuts, and learned that there was far more STEM involved in making doughnuts than they ever thought. And they learned that science can be delicious.
In August, they learned about the scientific method by testing which soda and configuration of Mentos would result in the tallest soda geyser using 2-liter bottles. The Wolves conducted a little research before the meeting and learned that diet sodas produced the tallest geysers. The Wolves designed their experiment to control as many variables as possible and tested 12 different diet sodas using six Mentos for each trial. The Wolves’ measuring stick was 10 feet tall, but for many of the geysers, that was not nearly enough. Both Diet Ginger Ale and Diet Tonic water had geysers estimated at 20 to 25 feet tall!
For the Dr. Charles H. Townes Webelos Supernova Award, Scouts must not only lead an experiment using the scientific method, but write a short report on their experiment. The Webelos Scout designed an experiment to calculate the density of, and then test whether, various types of soda cans would float or sink in a bucket of a mystery solution (mostly water). Noting that sinking cans were denser than the solution and floating cans were less dense than the solution, he was able to determine an upper and lower bound for the density of the solution.
Throughout the year, these six Scouts worked on their normal rank adventures and somehow also found time to research the award namesakes although with other scientists and inventors who impacted our lives by studying dinosaurs, inventing the printing press, studying chimpanzees, inventing the alternating current motor, inventing a robot, and inventing Coca-Cola.
The five Wolf Scouts completed the requirements for their Supernova Award on March 12 by visiting SunTrust bank and learning about interest. The used their new knowledge of interest to calculate sums using the current interest rate and a more math-friendly rate. While touring the bank, the Scouts’ parents received the email from NCAC announcing the cancellation of all in-person Council and District Scouting events starting on March 13. The Wolves literally finished the requirements for the award less than 24 hours before activities were suspended. Talk about timing!
And, as if completing the Supernova Awards were not enough for these six Scouts, during the course of the year, each of them completed at least two additional Nova awards for a grand total of 16 awards between the six of them!
Congratulations to Joseph Crowley, Henrik Mann, Henry Speidell, Brennan Goetz, Holden Riley, and Cormac Mann on their achievement!