Caribou and Limestone students rendezvous with a comet

Jordan Theriault of Caribou Middle School conducted experiments in Challenger's simulated space lab.
Jordan Theriault of Caribou Middle School conducted experiments in Challenger’s simulated space lab, applying skills in math and science and discovering how they relate to real-world experiences.

Thanks to the Challenger Learning Center of Maine for sharing this article with the Maine DOE for publication.

Sixth and seventh grade students from Caribou Middle School and Limestone Community School worked together to become astronauts and mission controllers at the Challenger Learning Center of Maine in Bangor on Nov. 15.
Their simulated space science mission took them into orbit to encounter a comet. As they shared the thrill of discovery, students had to effectively communicate, follow directions, solve real-world problems, and work remotely in mission control and space lab simulators.

Individual teams focused on space communication, navigation, medicine, aeronautical engineering, weather, robotics, HazMat, life support, and biology. Astronaut-for-a-day and student Gabby Marquis, of the life support team, said her favorite part of flying the mission was knowing what the experience was actually like.

Before Mrs. Alden’s classroom’s mission got underway, she reported to Communications Officer Riley McNeal that she hoped the students would learn about working together to solve problems and gain information about science and space exploration.

Student Kyleigh DeMerchant said that she was more interested in learning science after flying the mission than she was before the mission. She also understood the importance of math and science better as a result of flying a mission at the Challenger Center.

Challenger Center for Space Science Education was founded in 1986 by the families of the astronauts tragically lost in the Challenger 51-L mission. Dedicated to the educational spirit of that mission, Challenger Center programs continue the crew’s mission of engaging students in science, math and technology and foster in them an interest to pursue careers in those fields.