Shoot! Scouts BSA Nova Award (Astronomy and Projectile Science)
Shoot! is the Scouts BSA Nova Award for investigating astronomy and projectile science.
This module is designed to help you explore how science affects your life each day.
To earn this award, Scouts must complete one of their science related merit badges and learn about related topics such as space, aviation, and weather. Scouts also visit a museum or build a catapult, pitching machine, or marble run.
This award can be earned by young men and women who are members of Scouts BSA.
Answers and Helps
Shoot! Scouts BSA Nova Award for Astronomy and Projectile Science Requirement 1: Watch, Read, or Both
Choose A or B or C and complete ALL the requirements.
A. Watch about three hours total of science-related shows or documentaries that involve projectiles, aviation, weather, astronomy, or space technology. Then do the following:
A-1. Make a list of at least five questions or ideas from the show(s) you watched.
A-2. Discuss two of the questions or ideas with your counselor.
B. Read (about three hours total) about projectiles, aviation, space, weather, astronomy, or aviation or space technology. Then do the following:
B-1. Make a list of at least two questions or ideas from each article.
B-2. Discuss two of the questions or ideas with your counselor.
C. Do a combination of reading and watching (about three hours total). Then do the following:
C-1. Make a list of at least two questions or ideas from each article or show.
C-2. Discuss two of the questions or ideas with your counselor.
Requirement 1 Helps and Answers
Shoot! Scouts BSA Nova Award for Astronomy and Projectile Science Requirement 2: Merit Badge
Complete ONE merit badge from the following list. (Choose one that you have not already used toward another Nova award.) After completion, discuss with your counselor how the merit badge you earned uses science and projectiles.
Requirement 2 Helps and Answers
Scouts learn range safety rules. They also familiarize themselves with archery equipment and discover how to maintain it. Then they demonstrate their archery skills using a recurve bow, a longbow, or a compound bow.
Scouts learn about telescopes, binoculars, light pollution, planets, stars, and constellations. They visit a planetarium, spend some time observing the sky, or host a star party. They also explore careers related to astronomy.
Scouts learn about aircraft and the forces which act on them. They learn about maintaining aircraft and planning for a flight. They build and fly a model airplane and explore careers related to aviation.
Scouts learn how digital information is stored and transmitted. They explore how digital technology has changed over the years. They also investigate the practical aspects of digital technology and explore careers in the field.
Scouts learn about the different components of games. They investigate thematic elements, game play elements, and game analysis. They analyze an existing game and design a new game. Finally, Scouts explore careers related to game design. This is one of the newer merit badges.
This is one of the merit badges which teaches Scouts to safely handle firearms. Youth must also demonstrate their skill. The requirements for this badge may be completed using modern rifles, BB or pellet air rifles, or muzzleloaders.
This badge helps Scouts understand the many uses of robots. They learn how to design and test robots to perform simple tasks. Scouts also find out about competitive robotics and explore career opportunities related to robotics.
Scouts learn to safely care for shotguns and identify their parts. Then Scouts demonstrate their skills. The requirements for this merit badge can be completed using modern shotguns or muzzleloaders.
Scouts learn about spacecraft and the history of their use. They investigate the many aspects of venturing into space and consider how mankind might continue to explore the universe beyond our planet. They also find out about career opportunities related to space exploration.
Scouts learn about meteorology. They learn about weather hazards, high and low pressure systems, the science of weather, and the water cycle. They explore climates and the way humans alter their environment. They make a weather instrument and find out about careers related to weather.
Shoot! Scouts BSA Nova Award for Astronomy and Projectile Science Requirement 3: Simulations or Discover
Choose A or B and complete ALL the requirements.
A. Simulations. Find and use a projectile simulation applet on the Internet (with your parent’s or guardian’s permission). Then design and complete a hands-on experiment to demonstrate projectile motion.
(1) Keep a record of the angle, time, and distance.
(2) Graph the results of your experiment. (Note: Using a high-speed camera or video camera may make the graphing easier, as will doing many repetitions using variable heights from which the projectile can be launched.)
(3) Discuss with your counselor:
(a) What a projectile is
(b) What projectile motion is
(c) The factors affecting the path of a projectile
(d) The difference between forward velocity and acceleration due to gravity.
B. Discover. Explain to your counselor the difference between escape velocity (not the game), orbital velocity, and terminal velocity. Then answer TWO of the following questions. (With your parent’s or guardian’s permission, you may wish to explore
websites to find this information.)
(1) Why are satellites usually launched toward the east, and what is a launch window?
(2) What is the average terminal velocity of a skydiver? (What is the fastest you would go if you were to jump out of an airplane?)
(3) How fast does a bullet, baseball, airplane, or rocket have to travel in order to escape Earth’s gravitational field? (What is Earth’s escape velocity?)
Requirement 3 Helps and Answers
This web applet allows the user to create projectile simulations. Enter velocity and angle to calculate the trajectory and determine time, range, height, and final velocity.
This set of applets allows the user to perform simulations for many physics concepts, including projectile motion and projectile motion as a compound motion.
Shoot! Scouts BSA Nova Award for Astronomy and Projectile Science Requirement 4: Visit or Discover
Choose A or B and complete ALL the requirements.
A. Visit an observatory or a flight, aviation, or space museum.
(1) During your visit, talk to a docent or person in charge about a science topic related to the site.
(2) Discuss your visit with your counselor.
B. Discover the latitude and longitude coordinates of your current position. Then do the following:
(1) Find out what time a satellite will pass over your area.
(2) Watch the satellite using binoculars. Record the time of your viewing, the weather conditions, how long the satellite was visible, and the path of the satellite. Then discuss your viewing with your counselor.
Requirement 4 Helps and Answers
Satellite predictions and other astronomical data customized for your location. A good resource to find the times for satellite passes.
Shoot! Scouts BSA Nova Award for Astronomy and Projectile Science Requirement 5: Design
Choose A or B or C and complete ALL the requirements.
A. Design and build a catapult that will launch a marshmallow 4 feet. Then do the following:
(1) Keep track of your experimental data for every attempt. Include the angle of launch and the distance projected.
(2) Make sure you apply the same force each time, perhaps by using a weight to launch the marshmallow. Discuss your design, data, and experiments—both successes and failures—with your counselor.
B. Design a pitching machine that will lob a softball into the strike zone. Answer the following questions, and discuss your design, data, and experiments—both successes and failures—with your counselor.
(1) At what angle and velocity will your machine need to eject the softball for the ball to travel through the strike zone from the pitcher’s mound?
(2) How much force will you need to apply to power the ball to the plate?(3) If you were to use a power supply for your machine, what power source would you choose and why?
C. Design and build a marble run or roller coaster that includes an empty space where the marble has to jump from one part of the chute to the other. Do the following, then discuss your design, data, and experiments—both successes and failures—with your
(1) Keep track of your experimental data for every attempt. Include the vertical angle between the two parts of the chute and the horizontal distance between the two parts of the chute.
(2) Experiment with different starting heights for the marble. How do the starting heights affect the velocity of the marble? How does a higher starting height affect the jump distance?
Requirement 5 Helps and Answers
Building a catapult is a fun STEM activity for Scouts. They can learn about physics and energy. An easy way to do this is with a small scale catapult. This craft stick catapult is one of several small catapult designs in the book Mini Weapons of Mass Destruction. This is a little different than described in the book.
Shoot! Scouts BSA Nova Award for Astronomy and Projectile Science Requirement 6: Discuss
Discuss with your counselor how science affects your everyday life.
Requirement 6 Helps and Answers
Some Ways Projectile Science Affects Our Everyday Life
- Throwing a baseball or basketball
- Most sports and athletic events
- Satellites which help us communicate with our cell phones and use GPS are launched with projectile science
- Sneezing (think about it!)
Some Ways Astronomy Affects Our Everyday Life
- Precision atomic clocks
- Many scientific developments came from astronomy research, such as computers, understanding of radiation, x-ray technology
- Environmental science, carbon emissions, and greenhouse gasses
- A sense of wonder
Related Resources for Shoot! Scouts BSA Nova Award for Astronomy and Projectile Science
Launch into the Shoot! Nova award with these ideas and related achievements.
The Science troop program feature encourages Scouts to ask and investigate questions about the world. They learn how to form a hypothesis and test it.
STEM stands for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. The NOVA Awards program combines knowledge of STEM concepts with hands on activities.
This astronomy word search puzzle features space exploration terms. Use it as a gathering activity at a space themed meeting or for an astronomy related achievement.
If you are working on an astronomy related achievement, a good place to start is by learning about the solar system. Here is a worksheet I created which will help get you started.