Thanks to our partner Raytheon, kids and adults of all ages who visited Challenger Learning Centers in Downey, California and Colorado Springs, Colorado celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Moon landing with our special Next Giant Leap STEM activities.

Community members who attended these special science events participated in an exciting learning experience as they traveled through different stations to explore the seven phases of lunar exploration. During the ‘Prepare for Launch’ station, kids built a spacecraft using plastic cups and aluminum foil as a heat shield. Once they completed the spacecraft, they moved on to a new station, like building a stomp rocket out of construction paper or programming a rover. Throughout the event, you could see students launching paper rockets in the air, dropping “astronauts” (large marshmallows) onto a landing pad, analyzing rocks using robotic arms, but most importantly, you could see children having fun and learning important STEM concepts.

The events also featured a presentation from a Raytheon representative. Community members got to hear from this industry leader about the importance of STEM in the workforce. Not only did kids engage in STEM activities and learn important STEM concepts, they also heard firsthand how those concepts will help them in their future careers.

“From building the transmitter that beamed Neil Armstrong’s words back to Earth, to training the astronauts working onboard the International Space Station, Raytheon has supported America’s space program nearly from its inception. We’re excited to train the next generation of engineers, scientists and astronauts who will take us to Mars and unravel the mysteries of our universe,” said Todd Probert, Vice President, Raytheon Intelligence, Information and Services.

These special Next Giant Leap activities were part of a huge Apollo 50th celebration that the Centers hosted in their communities. To celebrate the milestone, the Center in Downey took their guests back to 1969 as they dressed like the 60s and watched historical footage of astronauts landing on the Moon. Event attendees also had the opportunity to meet Apollo spacecraft engineers. The Center in Colorado Springs celebrated by opening the doors of their brand-new Center to the public for the first time. Guests got a first view of the Center, enjoyed a star show in a new planetarium, and interacted with an Apollo-era mission control console.