Challenger Learning Center to Mark 15th Year with Community Celebration, Logo Contest

When a child joins their classmates on a Challenger Learning Center’s simulated space mission, it’s more than an afternoon of out-of-this-world adventure. It’s a launchpad for learning that encourages them to reach for the stars in the classroom and propels them into a world of discovery.

Since 2003, the Challenger Learning Center in Ferguson has provided more than 150,000 kids with hands-on, science-focused activities that fuel their passion for science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) and their teachers with the tools and resources they need to take what their students have learned to the next step.

On Saturday, November 3, the Challenger Learning Center will celebrate 15 years of shaping lives with a free community event that gives any child the chance to experience the wonders of outer space. But before lift-off this fall, the Center is hosting a special logo competition that will give one young artist the chance to put their stamp on history.

Carrying on the legacy of seven heroes

In 1986, following the death of seven crew members, including teacher Christa McAuliffe, aboard the Challenger space shuttle, their families united to launch an educational movement in their honor – one that would share their love of science with children for generations to come. Two years later, the first Challenger Learning Center opened in Houston, and by 2018, more than 45 Centers had opened around the world.

When the St. Louis location launched in 2003, it carried on a rich tradition of space exploration centered in the Gateway to the West. Besides being home base for McDonnell Douglas, which played a pivotal role in the Project Mercury and Project Gemini programs, Missouri has been the stomping ground for nine astronauts as well as Chris Brown, science coordinator for the Ferguson-Florissant School District, who was a semifinalist for the Teacher-in-Space program.

“It’s not just the historical ties that motivated St. Louis to bring a Challenger Learning Center to the community,” said Tasmyn Front, executive director for the St. Louis center. “There was, and continues to be, a critical need to increase the number of people entering the STEM field. An important step in fulfilling that need starts with capturing kids’ imagination and engaging them in experiences that will inspire them to pursue a degree in those fields.”

She added, “The St. Louis community recognized the important role that the Challenger Learning Center could play in helping students see themselves as a scientist or engineer by harnessing the power of the immersive and unique programming that the Challenger Learning Center experience provides. That was true 15 years ago and is still very much relevant today.”

Since opening its doors, the Challenger Learning Center has provided a wide variety of programming for students and adults alike. In addition to planetarium programs that bring outer space to schools around the region, design-challenge discovery workshops to elevate children’s creative spirit, and professional development workshops for teachers, its main highlight is its simulated space mission.

For two hours, kids can take a trip to Mars, rendezvous with a comet, or explore the livability of the moon. One half the group works aboard the spacecraft while the other half sits in Mission Control before they switch halfway through the mission.

While the Challenger Learning Center’s focus is sparking a child’s interest in STEM, its programming elevates learning in every subject.

“Throughout every mission experience, kids learn that they must use good communication and teamwork skills to be successful as well as creative problem solving and perseverance. These are the skills that current employers say are most lacking in the current workforce. Our programs allow students to understand that they need to be more than ‘book smart’ in order to succeed.”

Celebrating 15 years of powering STEM

Your family can be part of Challenger Learning Center’s 15th anniversary by marking your calendar for Saturday, November 3. Throughout the day, the organization will host a variety of free, fun activities that spotlight its programming and introduce kids to STEM. In addition to hands-on demonstrations, your kids can also enjoy giveaways, rocket launch competitions, and other special events.

But before the celebration begins, the Challenger Learning Center needs a logo to mark this milestone. Kids are invited to try their hand at designing the Challenger Learning Center’s 15th anniversary logo. Plus, kids can take part in a Rocket Design Competition! All entries will be displayed at the November celebration. 

Details about guidelines and prizes for both competitions can be found at challengerstl.org.

According to Front, the logo design contest is a way for students to get involved in the Challenger Learning Center and to see what the experience means to them through their eyes.

“We are, after all, here to continue the mission of the Challenger space shuttle crew to inspire the future generation of innovators and explorers.”

 

Share This Story

Metro East mom Nicole Plegge is the lifestyle and pop culture blogger for STL Parent. Besides working as a freelance writer & public relations specialist, and raising two daughters and a husband, Nicole's greatest achievements are finding her misplaced car keys each day and managing to leave the house in a stain-free shirt. Her biggest regret is never being accepted to the Eastland School for Girls. Follow Nicole on Twitter @STLWriterinIL 

Our Daily Things to Do email is the easiest way to plan your day.
Follow Us
   
Want daily ideas of things to do? How about special offers & giveaways? Sign up and we’ll handle the rest.
Things to Do

Books and Butterflies

Experience this storytelling adventure at The Butterfly House. Your little ones will enjoy fun storytime readings with some very special guests. Books and Butterflies is included with Butterfly House admission.

View this event »
Tuesday Tails
Tuesday, January 29, 2019
Tuesday, November 20, 2018
Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Visit the Animal Protective Association (APA) of Missouri for a free story time for preschoolers and help foster their love of animals.

View this event »
Preschool Science at the Saint Louis Science Center
Tuesday, November 20, 2018
Monday, November 26, 2018

Engage your young scientist in science-related learning at the Saint Louis Science Center's Preschool Science Series. Through interactive stories and hands-on exploration, children learn about science, as well as language, problem-solving and social skills.

View this event »
You Might Also Like...

From Our Sponsors
Popular Stories

Stop Telling Your Kids They're Smart

Perhaps the most important new discovery in early learning is the fact that children can either shut down or expand their learning successes based solely on the way they think about themselves as learners. Here's how to tell if your child needs an attitude check. 

 

Continue reading »
There's a Scientific Reason You Mix Up Your Kids' Names

If you’re like me, the dog makes an appearance in the list as well.

Continue reading »
Want to Maximize Your Child's Learning Potential? Talk, Talk, Talk

Parents know they should read to their children. It’s the right thing to do to help them gain reading readiness skills. But did you know that talking to children is equally important in getting them ready for learning? 

Continue reading »
The Importance of Traditional Play in a Digital World

Play comes naturally to kids. They use it as a way to express their feelings and learn new things. But in the age of electronics we live in, video games and screens can take over a child’s free time. Screen-free, or traditional play, offers benefits kids just don't get from playing on an iPad or on the latest game console.

Continue reading »
The Horror of the Homemade Halloween Costume

I will never be the mom whose kids show up at doorsteps on Halloween as anything other than what you can buy in a bag. No – mine are the children sporting the “five-piece pirate suit” and answering the question of “What are you this year?” with “A medium.”

Continue reading »
Follow Us