Cadette STEM Career Badge Activity


Explore The Future

Find out how a career in STEM can help you make a difference for other people, animals, and the environment. You’ll complete a challenge and discover jobs in six different fields of STEM.

Activity Details

Time needed: 60 minutes

Materials needed:

  • For the Computer Science Challenge: Paper and pencil
  • For the CreativeTechnology & Design Challenge: Paper, pencil, and colored pencils
  • For the Engineering Challenge: Paper and pencil; Optional: Building supplies like toilet paper tubes, dowels, newspaper, tape, scissors, and any other materials from around the house 
  • For the Food & Agriculture Challenge: Paper, pencil, graham crackers, chocolate, marshmallows, and other assorted snacks or ingredients (like pretzels, dried fruit, chips, etc.) 

Note to Volunteers: Snacks and food should be prepared with considerations for food allergies such as nuts and gluten.

  • For the Health & Wellness Challenge: Newspapers, towel, cardboard, tape, string, and any other materials from around the house
  • For the Nature & the Environment Challenge: Paper and pencil
  • Computer or internet-connected device to look at profiles of women working in STEM and stream videos in the list below. 

Video List:

For a longer list of videos for each field, check out the list at the bottom of each section in the activity. 


STEM has helped us discover everything from things smaller than our eyes can see to bones of dinosaurs that lived millions of years ago and things as big as a new planet. People have discovered new animal and plant species here on earth and entire galaxies far away from our own. 

You can use also use STEM to invent and build new things that make life easier and more fun, like bicycles, airplanes, and board games. 


Explore careers in STEM by learning about six different STEM fields, watching a video from a STEM professional and completing a challenge for each field. 

Field 1: Computer Science

The field of computer science focuses on the study of computers, the Internet, and how they’re used. There are programmers, whose job it is to write code that can build websites, animate movies, design apps, program video games, and so much more. There are also cybersecurity professionals whose job it is to keep computer networks, systems, and information safe. 

Here are some ways you can make a difference with a career in computer science: 

  • Build devices:  Computer hardware engineers design, develop, and test computer parts, such as circuit boards and memory chips. They stay on top of what’s new and innovative in tech to make sure the new device, like a phone, tablet, or computer, can run the latest apps and other programs. 
  • Design robots:  Roboticists build robots that can do jobs that are too hard, dangerous, or boring for humans.  
  • Solve cybercrimes:  Digital forensics experts search for digital clues to keep us, our computers, and all of our data safe.  
  • Analyze “big data”: Data engineers write code, or instructions, for computers to collect and store large amounts of data (that’s information!) 
  • Keep data safe:  Cryptographers write code, or instructions, to encrypt sensitive data. This keeps the data safe from hackers and provides privacy for people and businesses. 

To explore what it’s like to have a career in computer science:

  1. Check out the IF/THEN Ambassador profile and watch the video for Anamita Guha, Global Lead of Product Management at IBM.

  2. An algorithm is a set of instructions to perform a task. Computer scientists design algorithms to tell computers what to do. For the challenge, create a simple maze on a sheet of grid paper. Make sure your maze can be solved!

  3. Use these commands to write an algorithm that could navigate a robot through the maze: Go forward, go back, turn left, turn right. 

If you want to learn more about the field, check out these other profiles and videos from IF/THEN Ambassadors:

Field 2: Creative Technology & Design

The field of creative technology and design combines art, design, and computer science to create things that are both useful and fun, from apps to sound effects. For example, people working in the field might build clothing that lights up or that responds when the weather is hot or cold. They might design buildings or new products, from sneakers to lighting systems, using computer software. They might even build their ideas with technology like a 3D printer.

Here are some ways you can make a difference with a career in creative technology and design:

  • Code apps, websites, or video games: Programmers write code to design things that are both useful and fun, from creating an app, website, or video game to animating a movie or TV show. 
  • Create digital designs: Tons of jobs use technology to bring an idea to life! Architects use computer software to sketch building plans. Entertainment engineers create museum exhibits that light up and respond to the viewer. 
  • Design clothing and products: Industrial designers might use a 3D printer to build a new pair of sneakers. Fashion designers might use sensors to create clothing styles that react to changes in weather and body temperature. 
  • Create sound effects: Sound producers build the noises you hear in movies, TV shows, and video games. They use computers and other technology to record the sounds before careful mixing them to fit the project. 
  • Make a statement: Visual designers create everything from logos and products to brochures, ads, and even websites. They use software and other digital tools to illustrate and design products for brands and companies. 

To explore what it’s like to have a career in creative technology and design: 

  1. Check out the IF/THEN Ambassador profile and watch the video for Crystal R. Emery, Founder and CEO of URU The Right To Be, Inc.

  2. Criteria are the goals for a product and what’s included in its design. For the challenge, pretend you’re designing a new robotic exoskeleton for emergency workers to wear for protection in wildfire situations. Create a sketch and creative brief that explains: 1) the special features of the suit, 2) the technology involved in building the suit, and 3) any other important criteria or information about the product, like materials, cost, testing involved, etc. 

If you want to learn more about the field, check out these other profiles and videos from IF/THEN Ambassadors:

Field 3: Engineering

The field of engineering focuses on building things like bridges, cars, and other products. Engineers look for ways to improve and create new products that make life easier and more efficient. Engineers may work in many different areas, with careers designing things like prosthetics for the medical field, agricultural systems to grow more food, or clean energy systems that aren’t harmful to the environment.

Here are some ways you can make a difference with a career in engineering:

  • Engineer our world: Engineers have jobs in every kind of field! They help to build solutions to problems big and small. 
  • Understand our world: Chemical engineers work in chemistry, physics, and biology to design new foods, medicines, and materials. 
  • Build our world: Civil engineers design infrastructure like bridges, water systems, and roads. 
  • Power our world: Electrical engineers build electronics like motors and sensors. 
  • Invent our world: Mechanical engineers create all types of machines, from batteries to refrigerators.

To explore what it’s like to have a career in engineering:

  1. Check out the IF/THEN Ambassador profile and watch the video for Aisha Lawrey, Senior Director, Programs and Scholarships at the National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering (NACME).

  2. Engineers use a process called quick prototyping where they make lots of sketches to brainstorm new ideas. For the challenge, think about a task you do every day, like washing the dishes. Brainstorm a few ways a machine can help to make it easier.

  3. Draw or write down your ideas on a piece of paper. 

  4. If you have other materials and extra time, build a simple prototype, or model, of one of your ideas.

If you want to learn more about the field, check out these other profiles and videos from IF/THEN Ambassadors:

Field 4: Food & Agriculture

The field of food and agriculture focuses on growing, cooking, and consuming food. While you may think of a chef, baker, or farmer, there are tons of careers that help to feed the world!

Here are some ways you can make a difference with a career in food and agriculture:

  • Cook and bake: Chefs and bakers have the important job of making food that’s delicious! A baker makes tasty food using algorithms (recipes!) and the science of mixing different ingredients together. Research chefs create and test new recipes and menus for places like restaurants and hotels.
  • Farm in a city: Urban farmers create green space in vacant lots, backyards, and even rooftops to create gardens and farms in city settings.
  • Design new recipes: Food scientists come up with new flavors and food combinations to create a new dish or product to be made in a factory.
  • Grow more food: Agricultural engineers find new ways for farmers to grow food and feed more people, like using drones or vertical farming.
  • Innovate agriculture: Agricultural scientists study how plants, land, and animals are used to grow food. They look for ways to improve the quality of the food, the efficiency of the farming, and the impact on the environment.

To explore what it’s like to have a career in food and agriculture:

  1. Check out the IF/THEN Ambassador profile and watch the video for Chavonda Jacobs-Young, ARS Administrator and Acting USDA Chief Scientist.

  2. Food scientists and research chefs might take existing recipes and find ways to make them even more delicious. For the challenge, use the graham crackers, marshmallows, and chocolate to create a classic s’more.

  3. Design a new recipe that innovates the s’more. For example, how could you use the ingredients from your kitchen to make a new flavor combination? Would you keep it a sweet treat? Would you add in something salty or savory? What happens if you add something unexpected, like a pickle slice?

  4. Once you have a surprising new combination that you think is delicious, write down your final recipe to share with others.

If you want to learn more about the field, check out these other profiles and videos from IF/THEN Ambassadors:

Field 5: Health & Wellness

The field of health and wellness focuses on helping people. Medical professionals specialize in all different things, like treating patients (children, adults, or the elderly); studying a disease, such as cancer or diabetes; or becoming an expert on a part of the body, like the heart (cardiology) or brain (neurology).

Here are some ways you can make a difference with a career in health and wellness:

  • Help others to be healthy: You might first think of being a doctor or nurse, but there are tons of jobs in medicine! For example, a sports conditioning specialist trains athletes to be game-ready and stay safe on and off the field.
  • Practice a specialty: Cardiologists are doctors that focus on the heart, and speech-language pathologists work with children and adults who have issues with speech, language, and swallowing.
  • Cure diseases: Medical scientists conduct research to investigate how to treat and prevent people from getting sick.
  • Invent medical devices: Biomedical engineers solve health-care problems by designing things like prosthetics and artificial organs.
  • Innovate healthcare: Medical robot designers build robots that can be used for everything from patient care to surgery. Robots can help make a hospital more productive, reduce the cost of health care, and most importantly, help the patient.

To explore what it’s like to have a career in health and wellness:

  1. Check out the IF/THEN Ambassador profile and watch the video for Jessica Taaffe, Global Health Scientist.

  2. For the challenge, imagine you’re on a hike when one of your friends or Girl Scout sisters trips and twists her ankle. 

  3. Use materials from around your house, like cardboard and tape, to create a temporary splint. A splint is a piece of medical equipment that can be used to keep an injured body part, like an arm or leg, from moving. It’s often used to keep a bone in place so it doesn’t get further damaged as the person is taken to the hospital.

If you want to learn more about the field, check out these other profiles and videos from IF/THEN Ambassadors:

Field 6: Nature & the Environment

The field of nature and the environment focuses on science, nature, space, and the outdoors. People in this field might look at rocks and fossils, study plants or animals, go to space, or explore the ocean. There are also people whose job it is to take care of all different types of animals.

Here are some ways you can make a difference with a career in nature and the environment:

  • Study earth and climate: Meteorologists predict weather and learn about how it affects the earth and people. Hydrologists do research to understand how water moves across the earth and solve problems related to accessing clean water.
  • Explore the universe: Aerospace engineers are experts on flight and help astronauts travel to space. They develop, design, test, and produce aircraft, spacecraft, satellites, missiles, and defense systems.
  • Care for animals: Some people have jobs that focus on animals—a veterinarian treats household animals like cats and dogs, a zoologist studies bigger animals like elephants, and a marine biologist looks at aquatic animals. 
  • Protect nature: Conservation scientists are experts on how best to use land without hurting the soil and water. They work at parks and forests to help communities have enough water, minerals, trees, and other resources for today and tomorrow.
  • Prevent pollution: Environmental scientists study how problems like pollution affect nature and human health.

To explore what it’s like to have a career in nature and the environment:

  1. Check out the IF/THEN Ambassador profile and watch the video for Sam Wynns, Biologist and Science Educator.

  2. Scientists collect and analyze data to understand more about how the world works. In scientific research, quantitative data includes numerical information and qualitative data includes non-numerical information. For the challenge, collect quantitative data about the room you’re in. For example, how many people are in the room? 

  3. Collect qualitative data about the room. For example, what’s the layout of the room?

If you want to learn more about the field, check out these other profiles and videos from IF/THEN Ambassadors:

And that’s it! You've explored how STEM can help to make a difference, and now you know more about careers in STEM. Even more, you’ve watched videos to hear directly from STEM professionals and completed challenges related to six different fields of STEM.  

If you had fun doing this, you might want to continue exploring your interests and how you can change the world with the Cadette STEM Career Exploration badge. 

If you want to continue learning more about STEM, search for STEM Journeys and Badges for Cadettes on the Girl Scout Award and Badge Explorer

Troop Leaders:  The instructions for all badge steps are available free of charge in your  Girl Scout Volunteer Toolkit.

Girl Scouts at Home activities have been adapted from existing Girl Scout programming and optimized for use at home during a period of social distancing.

Adapted from Steps 2 and 3 of the Cadette STEM Career Exploration badge. Contact your troop leader or your local Girl Scout council to become a Girl Scout member and learn all the requirements needed to earn the badge.

Made possible by a generous grant from Lyda Hill Philanthropies.