Challenger Centers are non-profit, informal science education centers whose beginnings came as a direct result of the Challenger space shuttle tragedy that occurred in January of 1986. The surviving family members wanted to create a living memorial in honor of the Challenger crew. Their ideas spawned centers of informal science education that would be used to excite young people to study science, math and technology in their exploration of learning.
This Challenger Learning Center was built on the campus of the University of Tennessee Chattanooga. We are formally aligned under the College of Education and as such have formed strong relationships with both the University's Teacher Preparation Academy and our local school systems, the largest of which is the Hamilton County Department of Education.
Although relatively young in terms of years of operation (this center opened in 1994), our student-based mission simulation programs are at maturity. Approximately ten thousand students visit our center each year. Students visit from Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama, North Carolina, and South Carolina. While here, students participate in simulated space missions that reinforce and introduce students to real-world applications of science principles and concepts discussed in their classrooms. In addition, we hold numerous teacher professional development workshops that strengthen math, science and technology concepts for teachers from those same states.
For more information about Challenger Learning Centers visit: http://www.challenger.org/