Challenger Learning Center at HCC

Challenger Learning Center at HCC

Engage students and teachers in dynamic, hands-on exploration and discovery opportunities.

As a leader in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education, Challenger Center and its international network of more than 40 Challenger Learning Centers use space-themed simulated learning environments to engage students in dynamic, hands-on opportunities. These experiences strengthen knowledge in STEM subjects and inspire students to pursue careers in these important fields. This new Center will be a part of the global network that reaches hundreds of thousands of students and tens of thousands of teachers each year. Founded in 1986, Challenger Center was created to honor the crew of shuttle flight STS-51L.

Learn more about the Challenger Learning Centers:

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Engage students and teachers in dynamic, hands-on exploration and discovery opportunities that strengthen knowledge in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), inspire students to pursue careers in these fields, and provide an outlet to learn and apply important life skills.

In the aftermath of the Challenger shuttle accident, the crew’s families came together, firmly committed to continue the Challenger crew’s educational mission. The result was the creation of Challenger Center, an organization that would excite students about STEM subjects and careers. The plan to open one Challenger Learning Center was met with overwhelming support. Interest from other communities resulted in significant expansion and the creation of a global footprint.

Challenger Center pioneered STEM education with the creation of its Challenger Learning Center. These Centers are housed in museums and science centers, K-12 school districts, higher education facilities, and in stand-alone STEM centers. More than 260,000 students experience a Challenger Center program every year.

The unique, interactive learning environment gives students the opportunity to be part of exciting simulated space-themed Missions. NASA, NOAA and various subject matter experts have consulted on content and provided real-life data.

Students are immediately immersed in a real-world scenario that exercisesimportant 21st century skills like problem solving and critical thinking while fostering teamwork and collaboration. In an exhilarating exploration of STEM careers and activities, students are transformed into astronauts, scientists, engineers, researchers, journalists and artists as they work together to achieve success.

Educational programs must evolve to meet the changing needs of today’s students and teachers. Most recently the organization redesigned the Challenger Learning Center to address these expectations. New Mission scenarios have been developed and released to ensure relevant alignment withcurrent education standards and inclusion of the most recent scientific data.

Students are learning differently than ever before and our approach to prepare them for their futures needs to reflect these changing trends. Recent research shows that computer simulations can enhance traditional STEM education by motivating students as they engage in problem solving, hypothesis testing and experiential learning. Moving beyond traditional instruction, Challenger Center builds on 30 years of experience using space science and key STEM concepts to design programs to engage students in real-world scenarios that drive teamwork, foster collaboration and create opportunities for unique hands-on learning experiences.