Summer Camps!

2021 Summer Academies

Three more weeks to Register!

Three age groups, completing a week of captivating, interactive subjects that will keep campers entertained while practicing real-world STEM solutions. Bring your children to Challenger this summer for days packed with enriching, active, activities, leaving them happy and tired when they go home! ūü¶ĺ Time is running out, Learn more & Register Now

June 14-18 2021 (Day Camp Only)
3rd-4th Grade Material Science: Build, Bust, and Burn Academy Study materials by building, busting, and making things go BOOM!

$325 June 21-25 2021 (Day Camp Only)
5th-6th Grade Forensic Science: CSI Academy Unravel the mysteries of crime scene investigation! 

$400 June 29-July 1 2021 (Day Camp Only)
K- 2nd Grade Space Academy Explore what the future of space colonization might encompass.
$200

Register Here

For more information visit http://www.akchallenger.org/camps

Contact: 
Laura Mese, Administrative Assistant
laura.mese@akchallenger.org 
907.283.2000

Earth Day Challenges

Happy Earth Day!

Today we celebrate our Earth and think about what we can do to make it more sustainable. Living in Alaska we have a lot of land and natural resources available to us to ski, hike, fish, boat, camp, hunt…but having so much at our disposal means we need to do more to keep it like that. Start today doing one small thing that will impact our world, even if that means making a recycled craft with your child, or pick up one piece of litter that has been revealed by the melting snow.

Challenger focuses our education in S.T.E.M. (science, technology, engineering, and math). STEM isn’t just about these fields of study though. The model of teaching STEM incorporates hands-on learning, building confidence, and the connection in how we can better our world. Here are some fun ways of explaining and teaching Earth Day to your kids!

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Photo by Zachary DeBottis on Pexels.com

Make recycled Egg Shell Gardens and watch grass grow.

Learn about biomes and Build a Desert Biome!

Learn about Global Warming with Earth Day Toast.

Try the Carbon Footprint Activity and learn how much damage we do to the ecosystem!

Learn about Animal Habitats and find out how animals adapt to changes in the world.

Make a Water Cycle in a Bag to learn about the water cycle.

Earth Day Seed Planters are a popular STEM activity for Earth Day!

Make a Terrarium in a Jar and create your own ecosystem.

Make a Model Waterworks and learn how water is filtered.

Melt Crayons with Solar Energy and see how heat can be used as energy!

Create Your Own Mini Landfill!

Try the Earth Day Robot Design Challenge and build a robot who recycles for you.

Try the Exploring Solar Heat experiment.

Play this simple Sort the Recycling Game.

These Water Pollution Activities are perfect for elementary kids.

Learn how you can make a difference in the planet with science, technology, engineering, and math activities with these STEM activities for Earth Day!

DIVE IN AND HAVE FUN!

Enroll Virtual Missions

5 MORE DAYS TO SIGN UP FOR VIRTUAL MISSION OPEN ENROLLMENT

Been waiting to sign your child up for a Challenger simulated mission? We now offer two new missions that are 100% virtual! This is the last call to sign up for these open enrollments!
Registration for Destination Mars and Destination Moon virtual simulated missions will close on April 12th- don’t miss your chance to join in on the excitement!

Students are challenged throughout the program, with realistic mission control assignments they must complete with their virtual team members to assess things like what is the safest location for launch or to determine the best location to land a rover. Using real-life scenarios and STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) skills, combined with being on a graphic and responsive simulation program, the virtual missions create an inviting environment for students to gain confidence and interest in STEM topics. Register now at http://www.akchallenger.org/individualstudents and click on the Virtual Programs tab. We are excited to be able to reach more students around Alaska that have not had a chance to come to Kenai for programming.


Both virtual missions are simulated stories, administered online, in real-time by a Challenger Flight Director. These programs feature group collaboration while allowing the students to log in from anywhere.

Destination Mars is for grades 3rd Р6th, April 15th, 1 hour from 9:30 am -10:30 am, via an online program portal. 
Destination Moon is for grades 7th – 8th, April 14th, 2 hours from 9:30 am – 11:30 pm, via an online program portal.
The cost is $50 for Destination Mars and $100 for Destination Moon plus material shipping. We can also direct bill your homeschool vendor.

See you soon!
Challenger Learning Center of Alaska

Women’s History Month & Challenger

Women’s History Month & Challenger

Since 1980, communities and organizations around the United States have celebrated Women’s History Month every March. The celebration recognizes women’s achievements and contributions to American history. At Challenger Center, the legacies of the two female Challenger crew members, Judith Resnik and Christa McAuliffe, motivate us every day to inspire the next generation of innovators and leaders through exciting STEM programs. Both Resnik and McAuliffe played integral parts in America’s space exploration and educational history and continue to hold a special place in Americans hearts. Learn more about them here.

Christa McAuliffe was to be the first teacher in space and had planned several lessons to do while aboard the Challenger STS. In the aftermath of the Challenger accident, the crew’s families came together, firmly committed to the belief that they must carry on the spirit of their loved ones by continuing the Challenger crew’s educational mission. Their efforts resulted in the creation of Challenger Center for Space Science Education.

CLCA was created to meet the educational needs of students throughout Alaska. Using simulated space and earth science missions, distance education and hands-on workshops, CLCA inspires youth to develop an interest in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), and to consider careers in these fields.  Through a variety of hands on mediums, participants work in an environment that spans academic areas while learning valuable skills in problem solving, communication, and teamwork.

We value and look up to all the women working to impact the fields of education and STEM. It is an honor to continue spreading inspiration in students to keep their mission alive.

Mars Significance

Mars Significance

February 18th the world was watching the rover, Perseverance land on Mars. There were nerves, excitement, and hope. Perseverance is the fifth rover to reach the surface of Mars though, so why is it so important? Why is everyone so excited? What is the significance of THIS rover?

Our team at Challenger Learning Center of Alaska sees this as an opportunity to make our world better. Perseverance will change the way we look at science, life, past life, and the Earth. The magnitude of new technology and the number of features included in this one rover is unbelievable.

In one mission we will be able to test a brand new technique in flying with the Mars helicopter, receive footage of the landing that we have never been able to witness before, test astronaut suit materials in the Mars atmosphere, test, take and store samples to later retrieve that will analyze signs of past life and resources similar to Earth’s, record sounds of natural events happening on the surface, and test a technology that could create oxygen from Mars’ CO2 atmosphere, to say the least!

All of this, to us, means if we can identify the resources for humans to survive on Mars, then we can discover how Mars reached the condition it is in now. We can learn how to revive Mars, how to grow a plant on Mars, and how to create oxygen on Mars. If we can do all this on a planet like Mars, can you imagine what we could do with that technology to save our home, Earth?

How is this mission significant to you? How did you feel watching Perseverance land on Mars? Join the conversation and leave a comment below to let us know!

#goperseverance

Perseverance Count Down!

Perseverance Count Down!

We are nine days away from the landing of Perseverance on Mars, the rover that was launched in 2020, seven months ago.

SO, what do you need to know for the live viewing?

This rover is not the first on mars but is the first of its kind. It will continue to conduct robotic field geology searching for signs of past life, as did its predecessors, but will also focus on tests that may determine the possibility for future human life. This new technology, called Moxie, tests the cabalilties of extracting oxygen from the CO2 atmosphere. Perseverance also carries a pair of microphones, which will provide historic audio of Martian sounds, such as arrival, landing, wind, and other ambient noise.

These studies help test ways to use Mar’s natural resources to support human explorers and improve designs for life support, transportation, and other systems for living and working on Mars.

Another unique feature on Perseverance is the terrain relative navigation. This new landing technique allows the rover to determine where it is landing and avoid hazardous terrain. To assist in landing it also has an extra feature called range trigger. It allows the parachute to open at the exact range necessary to accurately land the desired landing spot.

Additional new functions:

-Sample collection and caching system, allows 20 samples to be collected for future retrieval and testing on Earth.

-The Mars Helicopter, if successful will be the first flying device on Mars. (This guy is VERY cool!)

-Rimfax, ground penitrating radar

-23 cameras

-Bringing Spacesuit materials for testing

Perseverance is loaded with advanced tools that are well worth extra research. This is one impressive, exciting rover! https://mars.nasa.gov/mars2020/

To prepare here is a list of fun activities you and your family can do:

  • Get Your Landing Resources
    Posters, stickers, fact sheets, mission patches and more.
  • Ways To Participate
    Try the Photo Booth, Send Your Name on the next mission to Mars, and check out other interactive experiences.
  • Watch Online
    Our quick guide to the TV programs coming up you can watch online.
  • Mission to Mars Student Challenge
    Get Mars-related webcasts for learners of all ages, along with lessons and activities for students.
  • Register for a Virtual Landing Event 
    Get notifications about landing opportunities, programming, and other mission information, plus a landing stamp for your virtual passport.
  • Virtual NASA Social 
    Connect online with other space enthusiasts, ask questions and get answers from NASA experts. Get a special badge to share online or print at home.

On Landing Day, Feb. 18, 2021:

After Landing:

  • Explore Mars with Perseverance
    As the rover begins its mission at Jezero Crater, visit the mission website for the latest news and images every day.

Pumpkin Volcano

PUMPKIN VOLCANO

Are you getting ready to carve pumpkins with your kids like you do year after year? Bring a new twist to pumpkin carving this time by adding STEM! This is such an easy and instantly rewarding activity. Your kids will be delighted by the exploding foam escaping out of their pumpkin’s face, as well as the fun to touch texture of baking soda, vinegar and soap.

To get started:

SUPPLIES

  • Pumpkin
  • Baking soda
  • Vinegar
  • Liquid dish soap
  • Cookie sheet or large flat container (optional to contain the pumpkin and fizz from the chemical reaction)

DIRECTIONS

1. Ahead of time, cut the top off the pumpkin and clean the inside of the pumpkin out like you would do when preparing to carve a pumpkin.

2. Carve any type of pumpkin face out of one side of the pumpkin.

3. Gather all your supplies and place them nearby.

4. Drop a heaping amount of baking soda into the pumpkin. We didn’t really measure the ingredients, but added about a cup of baking soda to our medium sized pumpkin.

5. Add dish soap to the baking soda. Again we did not measure. Have the kids squeeze a good amount into the pumpkin.

6. When ready,  Pour vinegar into the pumpkin until the mixture begins to react, and place the pumpkin top back on.

You can wash out the pumpkin and redo it as many times as you want. For an extra spooky look, add some food coloring!

HAVE FUN!

New Programs!

Challenger Has New Programs

For YOU

CLCA is offering Alaskan Teachers, the ever-growing Homeschool population and individual parents looking to enroll their child into additional hands-on, engaging science classes, the opportunity to schedule Virtual STEM programs! 

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For Individual Students at Home

Let us cover your home school science credits, or sign up your child just for extra fun activities! We are offering a new weekly theme every month! Classes are delivered via Zoom for 1 1/2 hours a day and materials are provided for hands on learning!

Learn More & Register¬†¬Ľ

Custom Virtual Teacher Programs

Bring Challenger to your classroom for week long science curriculum. We can build custom lessons to what you need. Materials are sent to you for hands on learning and it’s as easy as inviting us to your virtual classroom! Learn more¬†¬Ľ

 

In-Center Options

Homeschool STEM Ahead Days are also an option! Sign your K-8th grader up for one day or all, offered on Tuesdays. You can see the schedule of topics for each day, pricing and registration here -> STEAM Ahead

If you child still goes to school but you’d like them to come in for this program you may still sign them up!

Kindernauts is a once a week program for your K-2nd grader, Thursdays for 1 1/2 hours. They will be immersed in a variety of goopy, wonderous and wacky STEM activities! Pricing, more details and registration can be found here-> Kindernauts

 

Teachers looking for more in class options?

We have ELearning programs, like Classroom Adventures virtually taking your class on a one hour team adventure!¬† Increase your students’ engagement in STEM subjects with an interactive team online adventure! Classroom Adventures takes the entire class on journeys to reach collective goals as they research, work together to answer questions, and collaborate to find solutions to urgent challenges. Choose from Aquatic Investigators, Dirt Decoders, or Nature Rangers! Call or email us to sign your class up. Licences are given to you to access these programs from your computers in your classroom! Contact Suzanne.phillips@akchallenger.org

You Are A Part Of CLCA and We Thank You!

Challenger Learning Center of Alaska, CLCA, is excited to share with you that we were the recipient of the Arthur C. Clarke Award for Innovation in Education, August 12th! As a nonprofit, our educational programs live on because of the support we receive from Alaskan communities. Assisting teachers, groups, and businesses fulfil their science curriculum, safety training or being here for team building retreats, is important to our mission. Community input, sponsorships and partners around Alaska is what makes our mission possible to achieve, therefore this award goes to all of you as well!

During the Challenger Center Annual Conference, Dr. Pelton recognized how important the student engagement and cultural exchange opportunity is that the Alaska meets Bermuda camp CLCA administered this summer, provides. Dr. Pelton also mentioned how exciting it was for him to see the virtual use of NASA’s equipment from the Artemis program, the Orion capsule, and the Natural Buoyancy Lab, being demonstrated to the students throughout the camp.  Dr. Pelton himself has played an enormous role in the space and STEM industries.Programs CLCA has been serving Alaskans for 20 years, providing STEM workshops and camps, simulated space missions, and water and land survival courses.

We are rolling out new programs and content throughout the year, So keep an eye on our website and social medias!

International Observe the Moon Day

International Observe the Moon Day

The Moon, the big bright circle in the sky that everyone is introduced to as the first introduction to our solar system and space, when we are little. Many of us, around the world, have most likely been read to about it at least once growing up. So, why not celebrate it when we are adults? International Observe the Moon Day, is recognized annually, this year falling on September 26th.

If you don’t have a local event happening that you can attend, there are several virtual events available from September 19th, through October 3rd. By visiting Here you can search and find one for you and your family to virtually attend. You can also register to put your home on the map of observers and share photos of your activities!

If you want to talk to your kids about the Moon but don’t know quite what to say, do not worry! NASA also has a handy Viewing Guide that beautifully pays tribute to all of the Moon’s best features.

If you celebrate the day, please share your activities and pictures with us! Tag @CLCAlaska on Facebook or @akclca on Instagram!

National Moon Day, 51st Anniversary

Today, July, 20th, 2020, marks an important day in history. Each year the world together, celebrates and remembers mans first accomplishment of landing on the moon. 1969, Neil Armstrong’s first step on the moon was a day to remember, opening up the endless possibilities for lunar exploration. Buzz Aldrin followed Neil Armstrong, stepping on the surface. The duo collected 47.5 pounds of lunar material to bring back to Earth. Michael Collins, the pilot, waited two and a half hours for them to return to the command module.

Celebrate with your kids and let them know the importance of this day. You can start by sharing this restored Apollo 11 video from NASA and feel like you were there!

There are several moon books you can also look for to help your kids understand and marvel at the moon’s importance.

Hello, Moon!, Francesca Simon

Margaret and the Moon: How Margaret Hamilton Saved the First Lunar Landing, Dean Robbins

Papa, please get the moon for me, Eric Carle

Goodnight Moon, Margaret Wise Brown

Moonshot: The Fight of Apollo 11, Brian Floca

The Moon’s First Friends: How the Moon Met the Astronauts from Apollo 11, Susanna Leaonard Hill

If You Decide To Go To The Moon, Faith McNulty

Reaching for the Moon, Buzz Aldrin