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.
The Challenger Learning Center of Northwest Indiana opened its doors in 1999 on the Purdue Calumet Campus through the hard work and dedication of its founding director Lisa Austgen. The center blossomed under her leadership and focused on developing curriculum materials that would enhance the mission program and provide teachers with resources for meeting not only science standard requirements, but language, math and social studies content. Lisa raised nearly $6 million to build only the second Challenger dual simulator site in the network, with potential to expand programming through a planetarium and science lab facility. She led operations at the center until 2007 when she lost her battle with leukemia.
Center staff continues Lisa’s legacy and the mission of the Challenger 51-L Crew by providing educationally robust space science based programs that work to inspire and engage students and the community in the sciences, technology, engineering and math. Our goal continues to be fostering a scientifically literate community prepared for the highly technical future that awaits us.