A Challenger Learning Center mission is more than a field trip or a computer game. Our mission simulations are learning environments embedded with activities and lessons aligned with national Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and Common Core State Standards (CCSS). While students become astronauts and engineers at Challenger Learning Centers they are solving real-world problems as they share the thrill of discovery on missions through the Solar System.
How A Challenger Learning Center Mission Simulation Works:
Prior to the visit, educators receive curriculum to help students understand the theme and topic of their mission and to work on communication skills. After arriving at the Center, students are partnered up and assigned to a certain team. Teams vary by mission, but may include Communications, Data, Life Support, and Navigation. One student on each team is assigned to Mission Control, while the other team member is transported to the Space Station. At mission midpoint, the partners exchange places so every student can experience both learning environments. During the mission, students must accomplish specific tasks for the mission to be a success. Astronauts on board the Space Station build space probes, monitor life support functions, conduct experiments on items taken from the surfaces of Mars or the Moon, and plot navigation courses for the spacecraft. Engineers at Mission Control support these endeavors by answering the astronauts’ questions and providing necessary research. Following the mission at the Center, educators use specific programs designed to help extend the Learning Center mission when they return to the classroom.