School Groups at The Nierman Challenger Learning Center
The Nierman Challenger Learning Center programs send students ages 8 and up to space using a realistic mock-up of a Mission Control center and a futuristic Space Station. The Fleet Science Center Flight Directors train crew members to work as a team, carry out the operations necessary for a successful mission, and collect valuable scientific data. Choose from three scenarios that meet state standards for grades 3-12. A one-hour visit to the exhibit galleries is included in the cost of the mission.
In addition to inspiring young audiences to pursue careers in science and technology and increasing the public's general scientific literacy, taking active part in the Nierman Challenger Learning Center programs will hone decision-making, teamwork, communication, and problem-solving skills.
Challenger Learning Center missions take place on weekdays for school groups starting at 9 a.m. or 12 p.m. Depending on the age level of the group, programs are 2 hours long.
|January||Voyage to Mars||Micronauts|
|February||Return to the Moon||Micronauts|
|March||Voyage to Mars||Micronauts|
|April||Return to the Moon||Micronauts|
|May||Voyage to Mars||Micronauts|
|June||Return to the Moon||Micronauts|
|July||Voyage to Mars||Micronauts|
|August||Return to the Moon||Micronauts|
|September||Voyage to Mars||Micronauts|
|October||Return to the Moon||Micronauts|
|November||Voyage to Mars||Micronauts|
|December||Return to the Moon||Micronauts|
Join our Flight Directors for a unique mission simulation. Each Micronauts program includes a 40 minute Mini Discovery Mission and a 40 minute Extra "Venue" Activity that addresses the themes of physical science and technology. On each Mini Discovery Mission, young astronauts are part of an elite team of scientists, engineers & mathematicians on the International Space Station. Traveling 230 miles above the Earth's surface, they conduct up to 10 different hands-on activities including:
- Testing the insulating properties of materials
- Classifying rocks
- Investigating objects under a microscope
- Exploring the planets in our solar system
- Measuring mass and volume & identify solids and liquids
- Learning how the sun’s energy powers the ISS
- Investigating sound waves
- Making predictions about magnetism
- Sorting and identifying types of rocks
- Exploring the visible light spectrum
Book your mission today and explore the wonders of our universe!
Return to the Moon
Grades 5 and up
The year is 2020, and for the first time since Apollo 17 in 1972, your crew of astronauts is traveling to the Moon. Their goals are to establish a permanent base to make further lunar observations, study the feasibility of creating a self-sustaining lunar settlement, and serve as a stepping stone for future manned planetary exploration. Navigating their way into lunar orbit, your group will:
- Launch a probe to deliver equipment to the Moon’s surface
- Analyze data to select a landing site for the S.S Phoenix Spacecraft
- Calculate the thrust needed to leave Earth’s orbit and enter lunar orbit
- Understand the gravitational attraction of the Moon to Earth
- Conduct investigations and make observations using scientific tools
- Understand lunar topography
Book your mission today and learn more about the mysteries of Earth's closest neighbor.
Voyage to Mars
Grades 5 and up
Voyage to Mars in the year 2076 to replace a crew working at Chryse Station – a permanent research base on the Martian surface. In addition to continuing research of the exciting planet, students calculate trajectories for entering and exiting Martian orbit and launch two probes to the Martian moons of Phobos and Deimos. During the course of their mission students will view stunning video images of some of the more famous geographic features of Mars. Students will also:
- Weigh components needed to build a probe and calculate its mass
- Record the vital signs of other astronauts on board the space craft
- Determine the nutritional value of foods available on the space craft
- Explore the planetary geology of Mars and its fascinating features
- Understand theories of the existence on the Martian moons
- Compare and contrast the location of Earth and Mars
Book your mission today to learn more about the mysterious red planet.
Requirements for Attending
Teacher Prep (Required)
Teachers are required to attend a Teacher Prep training session—preferably at least one month prior to their students' mission. The objectives of the Teacher Prep are to familiarize teachers with Challenger Learning Center procedures, to help teachers maximize the learning experience for their students during the mission and to provide teachers with resources for incorporating the mission into their curriculum. Educational materials will be provided. Teacher preps are held the second Wednesday of the month from 3:30 — 5:00p.m. and the second Saturday of the month from 10:00 — 11:30 a.m.
Resources for Your Classroom
- Information about the International Space Station
- Interactions and activities based on NASA missions
- Information and pictures from Mars expeditions
- General information about Astronomy and space exploration
- Space-related videos, activities, images, and games
- Kid-friendly information about NASA and space
- Online activities, teaching tools, and homework help
- Interactive information about the Solar System and space travel
- Living and working aboard the International Space Station
- Images of Earth from space
- Information and activities related to space
- Virtual Solar System
- Space-related games, projects, and videos
Summer Camp Registration Now Open
Registration is now open for Summer Camp. The Fleet runs weekly, half-day summer camps in 2013 from June 24 to August 23. The majority of our camps are geared for kids in Grades 1–2 and Grades 3–4, but we also offer camps for Pre-K and Grades 5–8 on selected weeks. The camps are designed to be fun, educational and hands-on and to incorporate the Fleet’s exhibit galleries. Camps are described below and are listed by grade level.
Camps will go on sale for Members on March 4. Camps will be available for sale to Nonmembers on March 11.
Nierman Challenger Learning Center
The Nierman Challenger Learning Center at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center is a part of a growing network of centers worldwide that are being established by the Challenger Center for Space Science Education in memory of the crew of Space Shuttle Challenger.