STEM Resources2018-10-23T15:52:22+00:00

Challenger Lessons

Engage your students with a series of dynamic lessons, geared to prepare them for the missions they’ll experience during a visit to a Challenger Learning Center. In addition to creating excitement for your upcoming visit, these lessons will help reinforce skills and STEM principles that are valuable to your students.

Challenger Center Mission Prep

In order to prepare our students to think like the engineers of tomorrow, we need to challenge them with unique, creative design challenges that spark imagination and provide opportunities for brainstorming and rapid design iteration. In the Earth to Mars Design Challenge, students will discuss and display knowledge of engineering design, basic needs for a Martian habitat, and creative habitat structure design for use on Mars.

Earth to Mars Engineering Design Challenge

Had events happened differently, and the Challenger crew’s mission been completed, it would have brought Christa McAuliffe’s science lessons to children around the world. However, the lessons, prepared for the nation and the world’s children, were never officially performed. Educators can use these activities and videos of Christa and the team to replicate the lessons that were never shared from orbit.

Christa's Lost Lessons

For grades 6-8: These lessons highlight skills found and utilized within various aviation careers. These lessons include Fundamental Forces of Flight, Bernoulli’s Principle, Paper Airplane Design Challenge and Aviation Career Day. Each lesson is directly linked to a video from the ISTAT Foundation Careers in Aviation video series.

Aviation Career Lessons

Coming Soon!

Let's Launch

This action-packed science fiction trilogy, written by June Scobee Rodgers, founder of Challenger Center and New York Times bestselling authors Rebecca Moesta and Kevin J. Anderson, details the adventures of a group of young people using a Challenger Learning Center as a springboard for adventure-filled journeys into the future. Real life science is woven throughout the action in each book, so readers will learn basics of space science as they get caught up in the action.

Star Challengers Series

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

Elementary School

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How Do We Explore Strange Environments?

How Do We Explore Strange Environments?

Elementary School, Space Science
Grade K, Grade 1, Grade 2, Grade 3, Grade 4

In this activity, student teams will design, sketch, and build a model of a robot of their choice. Their robot will have a specific mission, and they must design the model in a way that supports the goals of their mission. When completed, the team will present their model to the class.

Where in the Solar System?

Where in the Solar System?

Elementary School, Space Science
Grade K, Grade 1, Grade 2, Grade 3, Grade 4

In this activity, student teams will design, sketch, and build a model of a robot of their choice. Their robot will have a specific mission, and they must design the model in a way that supports the goals of their mission. When completed, the team will present their model to the class.

Nano-Critters

Nano-Critters

Elementary School, Space Science
Grade 4, Grade 5, Grade 6, Grade 7, Grade 8

In groups or as individuals, students will use their knowledge of the current Martian climate and of the basic conditions necessary for life to develop a model of a nano‐critter able to survive the harsh environment of Mars.

Framing Stars

Framing Stars

Elementary School, Space Science
Grade 4, Grade 5, Grade 6, Grade 7, Grade 8

Shuttle Coordinates

Shuttle Coordinates

Elementary School, Math
Grade 4, Grade 5, Grade 6, Grade 7, Grade 8

Students will draw space shuttles on graph paper using x- and y-coordinates.

Make a Constellation

Make a Constellation

Elementary School, Language Arts
Grade 3, Grade 4

Students will create a new constellation as well as the myth that goes along with it.

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Middle School

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Watch Out!

Watch Out!

Middle School, Space Science
Grade 5, Grade 6

In this lesson, students craft a meteor impact to demonstrate the possible change in surface area and resulting spray of the meteor. The resulting model provides explanation and understanding of meteor impacts in space. The process of setting up and conducting experiments provides students with application of scientific inquiry.

Layers of the Moon

Layers of the Moon

Middle School, Space Science
Grade 1, Grade 2, Grade 3, Grade 4, Grade 5

Students will learn the current theory of the geology of the moon’s layers. Using this information, students will construct a scale model of the moon’s layers and cut a cross section to identify the layers.

How Shape, Size and Distance affect Viewpoints

How Shape, Size and Distance affect Viewpoints

Middle School, Space Science
Grade 7, Grade 8

The students will perform experiments investigating an object’s actual size compared to its apparent size, involving distance and perspective. The students will use the knowledge gained from these experiments to explain why a total solar eclipse and an annular eclipse appear the way they do from Earth.

Moon Mining

Moon Mining

Middle School, Math
Grade 7, Grade 8

The Moon is the only location in our Solar System that astronauts have set foot on. Of the many astronauts NASA has employed, only 12 astronauts were gathered and retrieved samples of the Moon and returned them to Earth. This lesson allows students to mine for M&Ms as a comparison to the astronauts mining for Moon samples. Students will have to use math skills to determine if their mine was profitable.

Moon Maneuvers

Moon Maneuvers

Middle School, Math
Grade 7, Grade 8

Students locate and plot Apollo Moon Missions and learn about a variety of lunar surface features by plotting and planning a moon trip that will visit designated lunar sites.

Celestial Review

Celestial Review

Middle School, Math
Grade 7, Grade 8

Students will become NEO (near-Earth object) hunters in this math and space science review game.

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High School

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Mission Meals

Mission Meals

High School, Space Science
Grade 5, Grade 6, Grade 7, Grade 8, Grade 9

In this activity students will plan meals needed for a voyage to Mars. They will decide on what types of meals to prepare based on their weight, nutritional content and ease to prepare.

Cometary Orbits

Cometary Orbits

High School, Space Science
Grade 5, Grade 6, Grade 7, Grade 8, Grade 9

This lesson introduces geometric elliptical concepts to students. They are tasked with using their math knowledge to create their own ellipses and relate those ellipses to different orbital models.

Gravity Well

Gravity Well

High School, Space Science
Grade 7, Grade 10, Grade 11, Grade 12

A Gravity Well is a pliable vinyl surface where balls of different sizes and masses are rolled around to visually demonstrate some of the properties of orbiting bodies, forces and motion in our solar system and beyond.

Lost!

Lost!

High School, Math
Grade 7, Grade 8, Grade 9

Students apply the principle of triangulation by using GPS receivers in the field. This is accomplished by participating in a simulation similar to the TV series, LOST! The students will engage in a GPS scavenger hunt at a nearby park. Teams will attempt to locate a first aid kit to assist an ʺinjuredʺ teammate by locating waypoint flags with their GPS receivers.

Lessons in Perspective

Lessons in Perspective

High School, Language Arts
Grade 7, Grade 8, Grade 9, Grade 10

Through the use of an Anticipatory Set or Hook (“Do Now”) students will be introduced to the nuance and complexity of the issue of whether or not the ends can be justified by the means. The students will then read the short biographies of the two scientists, Mr. X and Mr. Y, and make a judgment as to whether the scientists should be regarded as heroes or villains. The students will then visit various websites in order to ascertain additional information about the two men, and be asked to make refinements to their original judgments concerning the two scientists. The students will discover that Mr. X and Mr. Y are the same individual, Dr. Wernher Von Braun

Careers in Space

Careers in Space

High School, Language Arts
Grade 6, Grade 7, Grade 8, Grade 9

Students will research and report on careers at NASA other than that of an astronaut.

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Survey

We invite students, educators and alumni who have visited one of our centers to share their experience with us, so that we can continue to develop programs that are engaging and educational.

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