March 2023 Update
Dear Challenger Learning Center Liaisons,
Congratulations again to all of you for working so hard and adapting to all the changes to meet your students’ needs. As you know, during the Covid remote instruction time, we created a virtual Challenger Mission for districts that could not participate in person. We are thrilled that this year so far, all districts have participated in the mission in person. We continue to offer the virtual mission as well as many other video conferences.
Next year, we will again offer both our virtual mission, and our in-person mission at our state-of-the-art facility. The cost will be the same for either option simply because it requires the same amount of synchronous instruction and technical support on our end.
The rate for the 2023-24 school year will be $894.00 per mission. We will continue to offer one Challenger pre-flight video conference per elementary building at no additional charge.
This year many more districts are participating in Challenger. As a result, we have hired a third Mission Commander, Lauren Raines. Lauren has been a teacher for several years. Before that she was an intern at the Challenger Center. Please welcome Lauren if you haven’t already met her. She has done a fantastic job so far this year. Due to the increased district participation, we have had to make some scheduling adjustments. Schools that start early and end early will get preference for morning missions. Schools that start late and end late will usually need to be scheduled in the afternoon. We know this sometimes causes busing issues, but we are constrained by start and end times. We need to get two missions done each day. That means we need a 5-hour block of time in the middle of the day. We can start as early in the day as you like, and end as late in the day as you like. The challenge is district transportation. So early schools, please book as early in the morning as you can. Late schools, we will do our best to book your mission as early in the afternoon as we can.
A huge help in scheduling will be districts arriving on time, especially for morning missions. We will not be able to go beyond your end time if you are late. We are just too booked. Thank you for your understanding.
The Challenger Virtual Mission is fully operational. We have run close to 300 successful virtual missions. The virtual mission consists of three parts, providing two hours of synchronous learning and one to seven hours of asynchronous learning. Part 1 sets the stage, assigns jobs, and motivates students to get to work supporting our commanders as they journey to Mars. In Part 2 students are assigned to a specific job that requires approximately one hour of computer work. They must complete this job for the mission to succeed, however, they can complete all the stations in the mission if they choose, requiring approximately seven hours of independent work. Part 3 is the culmination of their work, launching the probe and rescuing a crew. While we realize nothing can be more engaging than an actual trip to our new facility, we know this remote option is engaging and motivating for students. Teacher and student feedback continues to be very positive.
Many of you participate in our hands-on video conferences. Andy Raab, Lauren Raines, and Peter Robson have created standards-based lessons that incorporate hands-on challenges where students work with materials while they video conference with our science experts, Commanders Raab, Raines, and Robson.
All our video conferences were rewritten so they can also now be presented remotely to each individual student should schools ever need to pivot to remote instruction. These conferences have been presented successfully since May 2020. The hands-on materials were altered, and tasks changed so that basic household items can be used instead of the materials provided in the kits.
Next year’s video conference rate is $325.00 per class.
Mobile Lab – Great Lakes Mystery
We continue to offer the Great Lakes bird scenario on site. We no longer offer the CSI investigation in sensitivity to student experiences with Covid-19. We had to retire the actual Green Machine vehicle due to cost-prohibitive repairs. So instead of a trailer set up outside, we set up in your building in two locations of your choice. The content and scenario are the same and the students use all the same programs and scientific equipment.
Director of Instructional Programs and Services