Published on February 27, 2014
From Tragedy... On January 28, 1986, the Challenger crew boarded their shuttle for the first Teacher in Space mission. At 11:30 a.m. Eastern, Space Shuttle Challenger lifted off. Seventy-three (73) seconds into flight, at an altitude of 48,000 feet, the Challenger Space Shuttle exploded.
…To Triumph The families of the Challenger crew chose to memorialize their loved ones with a living tribute. Together, they created Challenger Center for Space Science Education to continue the education mission of the heroic crew. Challenger Center’s Partner in Perpetuity
“On that day, we lost the beloved crew, but not their desire to help teach a nation of children waiting and watching with eager anticipation.” - Dr. June Scobee Rodgers Founding Chair of Challenger Center, Widow of Challenger Commander Dick Scobee
Our Mission Engage students and teachers in dynamic, hands-on exploration and discovery opportunities that strengthen knowledge in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), inspire students to pursue careers in these fields, and provide an outlet to learn and apply important life skills.
Why STEM Education?
The majority of the fastest growing occupations require significant math or science preparation to successfully compete for a job.
STEM jobs are projected to grow at a fast pace relative to other occupations Kelly Services – July 2012
Today, a lack of skills in STEM subject areas is said to be the reasoning for many of the nation’s vacant positions.
In the past three years, across the STEM fields, job postings outnumbered unemployed people by almost two to one. Change the Equation Vital Signs Report, “STEM Help Wanted”
We’re Losing Our Competitive Edge In science, U.S. eighth graders are outperformed by eighth grade students in eight countries. In math, U.S. eighth graders were outperformed by their peers in 14 countries. STEM Education, An Independent Supplement from MediaPlanet to the Washington Post, June 2012
The Importance of Reaching Our Students Early On “STEM Perceptions: Student & Parent Survey;” Harris Interactive online survey of 500 STEM college students and 854 parents of K-12 students; May 2011.
We must prepare today’s students for an increasingly competitive workforce so they can become our next generation of leaders and innovators. This is at the root of Challenger Center’s work.
Challenger Center is committed to helping students gain a deeper understanding of STEM subject areas.
Our Challenger Learning Centers give students the chance to take part in exciting, simulated space-mission adventures.
The Centers are located in schools, colleges and universities, in museums and science centers, or as stand alone facilities.
Each one features a computerized simulator with a mission control room patterned after the NASA Johnson Space Center...
…and an orbiting space station ready for exploration.
The missions are designed with the student and educator in mind.
The simulated environment is created from computer technology, real science data, hands-on activities, and STEM-related content.
Students are transported throughout the Solar System where they may rendezvous with a comet or voyage to the Moon or Mars.
Every student takes on a specific role with tasks and responsibilities.
The setting promotes cooperative learning and creative problem solving and decision making. It reinforces and brings relevance to concepts taught in their classroom.
Many Challenger Learning Center students have gone on to pursue careers in STEM fields.
Where Are They Now… “I want to be able to help kids experience the wonders of space and have just as much fun as I did when I went to the Challenger Learning Center, an experience that I know influenced my career decision and sparked my passion for space.” - Brianna, pursuing degree in physics and astronomy “It was a blessing in my life; it literally shaped who I am and the course I took. Before, [space] may have just turned into a hobby for me, but the experience I had at the Center helped me find my career.” - Meg, Aerospace Engineer based at NASA Goddard
Where Are They Now… “I can say, my final decision came down to doing it for the 5th grade boy [himself] who sat behind that NAV console in the Challenger Learning Center, and the choice became obvious. I am now a Space Shuttle Robotics Flight Controller in Mission Control here at NASA in Houston.” - Perry, reflecting on his career decision among two job offers at NASA where he had to decide between being an astronaut trainer or a flight controller in mission control. “My Challenger Center experience set me on a course that landed me as a Mission Control Operator here at Johnson Space Center in Houston.” – Tess, Johnson Space Center
The impact is real. The need is evident. The mission continues.
www.challenger.org @challengerctr @challengerctr
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