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5th through 12th Grade Academic Program Information

The Challenger Center uses a student's natural curiosity and enthusiasm for space to create innovative problem-based learning experiences for young minds. Students transform themselves into scientists, engineers, researchers, and astronauts through their participation in the Center's simulated space adventures. The Mission Control and Spacecraft simulators within the Center allow students to apply Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics (STEM) concepts to an authentic, real-world experience that is truly out-of-this-world!

Through scheduled team missions for students in grades 5 through 12, the Town of Ramapo Challenger Center promotes 21st Century Skills including teamwork, communication, problem solving, and critical thinking skills, all of which support Common Core, and Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS).

Working with a team, accepting responsibility, experiencing shared trust, and building communication & problem solving skills are lessons that extend far beyond the classroom - In education, this is the right stuff.

The Challenger Mission Experience

A class attending the Challenger Center is divided into two groups, with half of the students assigned to Mission Control while the other half are transported to the spacecraft. At the mission's midpoint, the two teams exchange places so every student can experience both learning environments. During the mission, students must accomplish specific tasks in order for the mission to be a success.

Astronauts on board the spacecraft build a space probe, monitor life support functions, conduct experiments and plot navigation courses for the spacecraft.

Engineers in Mission Control support these endeavors by monitoring the astronauts' progress and providing necessary research to evaluate any changing conditions as the crew continues toward its ultimate destination.

At any moment, emergency alarms and flashing lights may signal hazardous conditions for the astronauts that need to be quickly solved using analysis and critical thinking skills. Everyone must continue working to ensure that the mission's goal is accomplished. The simulation provides students with numerous opportunities to apply the skills they've learned in the classroom. Even when they aren't necessarily aware that they're doing so, students are using critical thinking, teamwork and communications skills to complete their mission.

Programs for grades 5 through 12

Our programs for students in grades 5th through 12th include six exciting mission scenarios. During any of the simulated space missions, students will apply the skills they have learned in the classroom in an authentic learning environment, performing STEM skills done by real scientists, engineers and astronauts.

  • 2.5-hour mission in our mission control and spacecraft NASA-designed simulators.
  • Students have the opportunity to improve their critical thinking, decision making, and communication skills by performing activities using scientific instruments including robotic arms, glove boxes, and computers.
  • Students will assume the roles of scientists, engineers, and astronauts as they work at scientific, technological, environmental, geological, and medical research stations.
  • This program can accommodate a class of up to 30 students.
  • $500 per mission for up to 30 students.

Plan Your Class Trip

  1. Choose one of our Mission Scenarios.
    Classic:   Return to the Moon, Voyage To Mars, Rendezvous With A Comet
    Complete Pre-Mission Forms.

"Come for the Day" Program

Take advantage of our "Come for the Day" Program. With this program a school can send two classes to the Center on one bus and while one class of students is experiencing the mission simulation the other class of students can use our briefing room to watch a space-related video, work on assignments and projects brought from school, and even eat lunch, before it is time for their mission simulation. A school participating in this "Come for the Day" program should be able to realize substantial transportation savings by eliminating half of the buses it would normally need for its schedule of missions here at the Challenger Center.

Experience Our Planetarium! CURRENTLY UNAVAILABLE

We also offer planetarium programs for an additional fee. These programs may be substituted for the movie in our "Come for the Day" Program.

Professional Development Information

We offer FREE Professional Development training for teachers participating in the Town of Ramapo Challenger Center school programs. Your students will now experience our updated software missions that meet New York State Common Core standards, Next Generation Science Standards, feature 21st Century Skills, and include Problem Based Learning and STEM! This means more student-centered learning activities which emphasize critical thinking, problem solving, communication, cooperation and teamwork! Training is highly recommended. Schedule Your FREE Training Session Today! For more information about or question regarding professional development offered at the Town of Ramapo Challenger Center, contact our director at: 845-357-3416 or e-mail us at: huibregtsej@ramapo.org.