Here’s how to add more STEM to your troop meetings

scoutcast-logo1There’s one surefire way to keep your Boy Scouts coming back week after week: Make your troop meetings as fun as possible.

Give your Scouts pipe foam and duct tape so they can create an insane miniature roller coaster. Watch as they craft catapults out of sticks and rubber bands to fling marshmallows at other patrols. Let them build robots.

The Scouts will have a blast, and you’ll love knowing they’re learning about STEM — science, technology, engineering and math — in the process.

So how do you make your troop meetings more STEM-filled? Fire up the March 2015 ScoutCast.

The hosts interview Ron Colletti, a volunteer in the Greater St. Louis Council who’s a member of the National BSA STEM Committee.

He shares ideas for each letter of STEM. Here are a few highlights:

Science: Fun with Diet Coke and Mentos

“So I’ve got one that contains Diet Coke and Mentos and all the Mentos launch tubes and why we get that reaction when you mix those two together,” Colletti says. “One of the things we try to do is take the Diet Coke and we’ll put some outside in the heat and let it warm up. We’ll put some on ice, let it cool down, and then we can measure the temperature and look at how that affects that Diet Coke and Mentos reaction. Everyone likes working with that.”

Technology: Make a gadget

“Technology’s a little bit harder to put together an activity,” Colletti says. “It takes a little bit more planning but there are activities available — most of those around kits that the Scouts can obtain to build, like a working radio or a clock.”

Engineering: Build a catapult

“I ask the Scouts to build a catapult,” Colletti says. “This is what I want you to do with it, shooting projectiles, and you have to reach a certain distance and then we’re going to look at accuracy as well. So they have to build that catapult but then they also have to calibrate it. They have to figure out how to make it, not just shoot, but shoot where they want it to go, which is kind of interesting.”

Math: Fun with numbers (yes, really)

“This could be as simple as measuring physical sizes, the volume of a room, to making cyphers and codes, or even more involved in tracking of sports data leading to statistical evaluations,” Colletti says.

Hear or read the March 2015 ScoutCast

I’ve only scratched the surface of what’s covered here. Go here to listen to or go here to read the March 2015 ScoutCast.


About Bryan Wendell 3281 Articles
Bryan Wendell, an Eagle Scout, is the founder of Bryan on Scouting and a contributing writer.