Hello! I’m David Grubb and I’m here to talk to you about Tech Talk: a STEM Lock-in. What made our lock-in so special is that we combined it with an activity – a competition. Specifically for the Tech Talk, we did a Rainbow Regatta race. As you may know, there’s a little book out there about the STEM and the Nova awards, and that will help guide you through the requirements to be able to complete the Tech Talk.

The way we set ours up

– the first thing we did was choose a location that was convenient to be able to complete all the requirements for Tech Talk. Of the four requirements, one required us to visit a location that used technology in their everyday use. We decided to visit the police station, because they use technology in their police cars, in every day of their work cycle. So, we chose our Scout hut, because it was close to the police station, and then we had a lock-in.

The schedule – or the agenda

– that we followed was: we started at 7pm on a Friday night. This was after dinner, so that the Scouts were already fed, and we didn’t have to worry about putting food together. When the Scouts got there, we started with our opening ceremony, and then we did something fun to get it all going and build the excitement. We got our Raingutter Regatta boat boxes out and we started building those. We took it one step at a time, only taking the pieces out of the box that we needed to be able to work on as we went. Some of the guys were very creative and they had the chance to even paint their boats. So the whole idea that we do the lock-in is that we can build these boats, and then we can save them, we can paint them, and then they would dry overnight, and we would be able to race them the next day. Sometimes, you build them in one Den meeting, then you go home, and you come back…and the Scouts forget their boat at home and then they don’t get to race it. This way, we have all the boats there, we set them aside, and then we’re able to retrieve those and then have our race. After about our first hour or so – around 8, 8:30, we got finished up with our boats. The next thing we did was we did our discussion on technology. This completed, I believe, the third requirement in the Tech Talk. We talked about the communication, the technology, and so forth. The next thing we did was watch our movie, which I believe is the first requirement in Tech Talk. We watched our movie on the bionic man, which was fantastic! You can watch it on Netflix. Then, after that movie, we stopped and we had another discussion about how technology was used in the movie, following the format in the Tech Talk requirements. After that, we did another thing that was fun. We had some snacks (there’s actually a little recipe out there that you can make popcorn balls; this kind of eliminated a lot the trash on the floor from just regular popcorn, so that kept things a little bit neat for us) and then we got our pajamas on, we settled in, and we watched a fun movie. You can watch a rated-G or rated-PG movie…we made sure all the parents were ok with the film.

The Set Up

So we brought our TV in and we set it up on one side, we got all the boys to get their sleeping bags out and their mats and get comfortable, and we kind of wound down the evening with watching a fun movie. After the movie, it was lights out, no talking. It’s really important for those Scouts to get their rest and to get their sleep. The next morning – Saturday morning – we were up early, 7:30. Then we got dressed, got our uniforms on, and then, we moved on to the next segment, with another group discussion about technology and STEM. After that, we went into our breakout sessions. At the time, we didn’t have any Bears, so we separated just between the Wolves and the Webelos. However, the Bears and the Webelos – or the Bears and the Wolves, I’m sorry – could do something related to sound; that was one of the options for the Tech Talk belt loops. So be sure, when you’re planning your Tech Talk lock-in, or Tech Talk STEM activity, make sure those belt loops don’t overlap with some of the other STEM categories. So, the Bears did our World of Sound, and the Wolves did something, so we did this breakout session for about an hour, and the Webelos concentrated on their badge pin. After the breakout session, we came back together, took a break, made sure we had some snacks and water, and then we lined up, and we marched down to the police station that was only two blocks away. As a group, we were able to participate in how technology was used in the police force everyday. Once that hour was over, we came back to our Scout hut, where we had some of the other parents setting up the final stage of our activities, which was getting the Raingutter Regatta boat track set up.

The Derby Race

So it was inflated, it had the water in it, the boys had their boats that were already made, and they were ready to go. So we jumped right in to (after a quick break) setting up a chart for the boys to race by age. We got those done, we got through the races, and then we were able to have…we bought the awards ahead of time…and we gave them out on the spot. So, we gave medals to the boys for the first place winners, and we used ribbons for the second, third, and fourth place – basically, participation. So that everybody received something for their hard work on assembling the boat and being there that weekend and participating in the STEM activities. So, just simply being there, they are a winner for learning about technology. Then, afterward, we had our parents prepare a light snack or lunch so that when our awards were done, all of our activities were complete, all our requirements for the Tech Talk were finished. So everybody that was there completed the Tech Talk assignment. We had our lunch and we dismissed for the day. So this is how we planned, scheduled, and set up an agenda for our whole Tech Talk lock-in, and maybe this is something that will help your Cup Scout pack. What was your Tech Talk like? Leave us comments about creative ways that you made the Tech Talk fun and exciting.

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