Let’s face it, pitching tents and canoeing are skill sets that are not as practical as they once were. So, in an attempt to stay relevant, the Boy Scouts have teamed up with NASA to offer a merit badge that promotes achievement in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).
In order to earn the badge, Scouts must design, build and demonstrate a robot they created. Ken Berry, the assistant director of the Science and Engineering Education Center at the University of Texas at Dallas lead the effort, and explains how the experience can be beneficial for a Scout’s future:
“One of the biggest problems we have for high school kids and Boy Scouts included, is that there aren’t a lot of opportunities to tinker and experience what it’s like to be an engineer, so when they get to the college level, students are often ill prepared to do an engineering degree,” he said.
NASA, which allowed its Mars rover to be depicted on the badge, also agreed to take 100 patches into space on the Endeavour shuttle mission. Those badges will be distributed through an online contest.