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5th - 8th Simulated Space Missions

Bring the excitement of hands-on STEM experiences to your students. Face-to-face and virtual missions will be in full swing this fall. Call us at 309-268-8700  to reserve your spots! 

Students in Space Station

Fifth- through eighth-grade students are transported to an immersive STEM environment where they undergo astronaut simulation training  and critical thinking through hands-on experiences. 

A standard mission is a 2-hour simulation that includes commanding Mission Control, launching into space on the shuttle, and conducting research in the Space Lab. There are two standard mission scenarios: Rendezvous with a Comet and Expedition Mars. See details below.  

  • Mission Control:
    In Mission Control, students will take charge of their space mission when they become the flight control technicians responsible for guiding astronauts through their mission.
  • Spacecraft:
    In the Spacecraft, students become astronauts responsible for navigating through space, conducting experiments, monitoring crew health and safety, and building a probe to launch in space.
  • Crew Exchange: 
    Halfway through the mission, students will switch places, so that each participant has the opportunity to experience BOTH Mission Control and the Spacecraft.

The second portion of your visit takes a deeper dive into STEM with our unique challenges! 

  • Phenomenal Physics: A CLC staff member provides a presentation on physical science topics with exciting demonstrations and fun hands-on activities that will engage the entire class.
  • Mars Science Academy: Students experience hands-on science activities related to planning a mission to Mars. Students will work within teams utilizing NASA roles. In addition, students will work with other teams to reach decisions as they develop skills in the areas of teamwork, communication, and decision making. 
  • (Recommended 5/6th Grade): Embark on a mission to rendezvous with Comet Encke and send a probe to gather data on the comet. Students use their problem-solving skills to determine if the mission should continue as planned or if they should chart a different course. 

    Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) applied:

    • 5-PS1-3 Make observations and measurements to identify materials based on their properties
    • 5-PS2-1 Support an argument that the gravitational force exerted by Earth on objects is directed down
    • MS-ESS1-3 Analyze and interpret data to determine scale properties of objects in the solar system
    • MS-ESS1-2 Develop and use a model to describe the role of gravity in the motions within galaxies and the solar system
  • (Recommended 7/8th grade): Set in the future when humans have established mission control at the Martian Moon Phobos, spacecraft astronauts are on a mission to the surface of Mars to search for water and evidence of life. The astronauts find themselves in a high risk situation and must work together to solve the problems and complete the mission. 

    Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) applied:

    • MS-LS2-2. Conduct an explanation that predicts patterns of interactions among organisms across multiple ecosystems
    • MS-ESS2-2 Construct an explanation based on evidence for how geoscience processes have changed Earth’s surface at varying time and spatial scales
  •  

    Number of students Cost of mission and STEM challenge
    (4 hours total)
    Cost of optional boxed lunch (students may be bring sack lunch instead if they wish)
    12-30 $595 $6/student
    31-60 $1,190

    $6/student

    60+ Please contact our center for pricing or for bringing multiple groups on multiple days

    $6/student

    If you desire a shorter experience, please contact our center for pricing.

    Scholarships are available to public K-12 schools and their students participating in simulated space missions and programs.  Scholarships are based on the percentage of students on free and reduced lunch program and your school's geographic distance from the Challenger Learning Center.  

  • Call us at 309-268-8700 or fill out the form below. Scholarships are available to public K-12 schools and their students participating in simulated space missions and programs.  Scholarships are based on the percentage of students on free and reduced lunch program and your school's geographic distance from the Challenger Learning Center.  

  • Implement CLC curriculum to prepare your students for their experience. This curriculum may be used in conjunction with any school district's curriculum or as a stand-alone curriculum. After booking, teachers will have access to free online materials to help prepare your students. 

Contact Us

Challenger Learning Center
1500 W. Raab Rd.
Normal, IL 61761
Phone: 309-268-8700
Fax: 309-268-7984
Emailclc@heartland.edu