The Challenger Learning Center, in partnership with the School city of East Chicago and the Northwest Indiana Educational Service Center, through a grant received from the Foundations of East Chicago are collaborating to promote science and literacy on voyage to Mars. This collaboration proposes to improve the ability of East Chicago 6th grade educators to educate, inspire and engage their students in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields through problem-based learning modules that are technology based, integrate science and literacy and prepare students for a voyage to Mars at Challenger. Challenger Learning Center uses science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education to engage visitors of all ages.


On January 28, 1986, the seven crew members of the Space Shuttle Challenger/STS-51L “Teacher in Space” mission set out to broaden educational horizons and advance scientific knowledge. Their mission exemplified man’s noblest and most wondrous qualities – to explore, discover, and teach. To the nation’s shock and sorrow, their Space Shuttle exploded 73 seconds after liftoff.


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. In April 1986, they created Challenger Center for Space Science Education (Challenger Center).


They envisioned a place where children, teachers and citizens alike could touch the future: manipulate equipment, conduct experiments, solve problems, and work together-immersing themselves in space-like surroundings. The goal–to spark youth interest and joy in science and engineering–is a spark that could change their lives. The result: the creation of a Challenger Learning Center.


The first Learning Center opened in Houston in August 1988. Today, there are 42 Learning Centers in the U.S., Canada, South Korea, and the United Kingdom. Collectively, these centers reach more than 400,000 middle-school aged students and 40,000 teachers each year. Since 1986, Challenger Center has impacted more than 4 million students. It maintains strong partnerships with NASA, other federal agencies, universities and the aerospace industry who help keep curriculum current.


To learn more about how the Foundations of East Chicago supports education locally in East Chicago, check out our website, find us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter.


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