The Challenger Learning Center Experience


In the aftermath of the Space Shuttle 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. Challenger Learning Centers use space-themed simulated learning and role-playing strategies to help students bring their classroom studies to life and cultivate skills needed for future success, such as problem solving, critical thinking, communication and teamwork.

James Keough presents information-about and programs-offered at the Challenger Learning Center of the Twin Tier Region in Allegany, NY, near the campus of St. Bonaventure University. There are three main components of the Challenger Learning Center experience: Pre-Visit Activities, The Mission, and Post-Visit Activities—each of which contributes to the strength of the learning process. Programs are tailored to students’ ages and are not just field trips. This is a chance for students to see themselves in successful roles as scientists, engineers and researchers.

The Martz-Kohl Observatory proudly offers this program to our public, in part because MKO’s and Challenger’s visions are so closely aligned toward serving our public. Challenger promises to “Build a scientifically literate public and shape our future leaders to help improve quality of life across the globe – not just through pragmatic teaching, but also by the power of vision, inspiration, and innovation.”

James Keough graduated from SUNY Geneseo with a BS in Education. He later became certified in K-12 Vocal Music and taught in that capacity at Scio (NY) Central School for 24 years before teaching 4th grade for seven years. He is a former St. Bonaventure University supervisor. Jim was also an applicant to the Teacher in Space Project back in 1985, so the Challenger mission is close to his heart. In his spare time, he enjoys flying radio controlled model aircrafts and geocaching.



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