About Us
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The Challenger Learning Center (CLCofMe) is a private, non-profit, 501(c)3 tax-exempt corporation offering educational programs for students and families throughout Maine. Our Mission:

Through a diversity of programs we educate students and teachers in order to inspire an active lifelong passion for space and Earth science.

Currently, an unacceptably high proportion of Maine's middle school students do not meet state standards for educational attainment in mathematics and science. And while a high percentage of our students graduate from high school, too few go on to college - largely because of low aspirations. The Challenger Learning Center of Maine directly addresses these problems. Our programs are designed to:

  • Inspire our young students to achieve higher levels of education, particularly in the areas of mathematics and science;
  • Encourage students to choose careers more aligned with mathematics and science;
  • Motivate more of our local graduates to pursue technology-based opportunities within the State of Maine.

In addition to simulated space missions, the Challenger Center offers professional development opportunities for educators, science education camps during school year and summer vacations, and a variety of family events promoting scientific literacy in everyday life.

 

History

In January 1986, the world watched in horror as the space shuttle Challenger exploded just 73 seconds after liftoff. No ordinary shuttle launch, this flight's seven astronauts included America's first Teacher-In-Space, Christa McAuliffe - and the hopes and dreams of millions of school children.

A few months after the accident, the families of the seven Challenger astronauts traveled to Arizona, where they met with educators from around the nation to decide how to memorialize their loved ones. As a result of that meeting, the Challenger Center for Space Science Education, an international not-for-profit organization, was founded with the goal of continuing the crew's educational mission - to learn, to explore, and to inspire.

Using the concept of simulation as an instructional tool, Challenger Center programs create an exciting, cooperative learning environment that fosters interest in science, math, and technology. Thanks to the efforts of thousands of dedicated individuals, Challenger Center continues this important mission today.

The nation's first Challenger Learning Center opened in August of 1988 at the Houston Museum of Natural Science. Currently there are over 40 Challenger Learning Centers in the United States, Canada, and Europe.

On June 15, 2001, the Challenger Learning Center of Maine became site number forty-four! As a part of the Challenger network, Maine's Center is part of a successful tradition of hands-on discovery.