In the aftermath of the Challenger accident, the crew’s families came together, firmly committed to the belief that they must carry on the spirit of their loved ones by continuing the Challenger crew’s educational mission. Their efforts resulted in the creation of Challenger Center for Space Science Education.
Challenger Centers use space-themed simulated learning and role-playing strategies to help students bring their classroom studies to life and cultivate skills needed for future success, such as problem solving, critical thinking, communication and teamwork.
A not-for-profit 501(c)(3) education organization, Challenger Center reaches hundreds of thousands of students, and tens of thousands of teachers every year.
In his own words, Challenger Center CEO Lance Bush explains what a Challenger Center is, and how each center provides inspiration, in memory and in celebration of the Challenger crew, to students all over the world.
- With over 40 Challenger Centers throughout the United States and in 4 countries around the world, more than 5 million students have been encouraged and inspired to pursue STEM careers. Students who attend range from pre-K up to adult, but focus mainly on middle school students.
- When a student attends a center, they have to work together as a team and as individuals to “overcome anomalies” during their “missions” in order to achieve success…
- Alumni often write to the centers sharing their professional STEM career success based on their experiences that began at a Challenger Center. Some alumni are part of the biggest space companies in the US including Lockheed Martin, Blue Origin, and NASA, and they pay it back- even as young professionals- come back to volunteer at their local Challenger Centers to impact future generations.
- Christa McAuliffe’s lesson plans (Teacher in Space Mission) were recently flown on board the International Space Station, where NASA Astronauts Ricky Arnold and Joe Acaba completed her lessons, filmed them and are now currently available to download and implement for any classroom! https://www.challenger.org/challenger_lessons/christas-lost-lessons/
- You never know where inspiration can be found for young students, who may be the next people on the Moon and Mars.
- The impact of the Challenger crew; Christa McAuliffe, Gregory Jarvis, Judy Resnik, Dick Scobee, Ronald McNair, Michael Smith and Ellison Onizuka continues through the work of the Challenger Center.
- Classroom Adventures take the mission experience from the Challenger Centers and bring them directly into the classroom, and will be available in 2020!https://www.challenger.org/what-we-do/#classroomAdventures
“I think I have one of the best jobs in the world, all because we (the Challenger Center team and staff) get to see the mission fly, and experience seeing the students come out of a mission high-fiving, then hearing teachers say they’re much more motivated and engaged in the related STEM topics presented in the classroom as a result”-Lance Bush, Challenger Center CEO
About The Challenger Center(s):
As a leader in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education, Challenger Center provides more than 260,000 students annually with experiential education programs that engage students in hands-on learning opportunities. These programs, delivered in Challenger Learning Centers and classrooms, increase engagement in STEM subjects and inspire students to pursue careers in these important fields. Challenger Center was created by the Challenger families to honor the crew of shuttle flight STS-51-L.
Casual Space Show BONUS Links & Resources:
- Website: Challenger.org
- Facebook: @ChallengerCtr
- Twitter: @ChallengerCtr
Christa’s Lessons: Challenger.org/christa
STEM Resources: Challenger.org/stem-resources