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Center for Educational Technologies projects have ended (except Challenger Learning Center) and are no longer funded.

Weather Missions, Space Station Simulator Coming

Wed Jan 16 2008

Elementary school students will benefit from two new programs to be created at the Center for Educational Technologies® and the Challenger Learning Center® housed here.

The omnibus spending bill for 2008 passed by Congress and signed by President Bush Dec. 26 includes $470,000 in funding for the two programs at Wheeling Jesuit University, said U.S. Rep. Alan B. Mollohan of West Virginia, a senior member of the House Appropriations Committee who helped craft the federal government’s fiscal year 2008 budget.

The Challenger Learning Center received $282,000 to build the Micronauts Education Simulator within the ground floor of the Center for Educational Technologies. This space education simulator will focus on math and science for students in the lower elementary grades. Two classrooms will be modified into a simulated space station and multipurpose room where the students will conduct experiments and explorations with the guidance of Challenger Learning Center flight directors. The funding will be provided through NASA.

The Micronauts program is considered an important intervention tool to instill in students an excitement and interest in science and math.

In the other project the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is providing the Center for Educational Technologies $188,000 to develop science education tools for students in grades 4-6 using the existing distance learning capabilities of the Challenger Learning Center. The program will create four weather models, with one specific to West Virginia, including flooding and other extreme weather. The new modules will build on the successful STORM-E e-Mission™ created by the Center for Educational Technologies in 2005.

In STORM-E students in grades 4-6 evaluate weather maps and data in two scenarios to determine whether to hold an air show in Dayton, OH, as a tornado looms, or whether a nor'easter may cause problems for the annual New Year’s Eve celebration in New York City’s Times Square. More than 90 STORM-E missions were conducted with schools across the country in 2007.

"Our Challenger Learning Center contributes to real life science learning through the adventure of astronaut role playing," said Dr. Charles Wood, executive director of the Center for Educational Technologies. "By adding Micronauts and STORM-E to our existing programs, the Challenger Learning Center will offer authentic and exciting science experiences to kids from kindergarten through 12th grade."

Mollohan said the goal of the NOAA program is to attract more students to science and science careers and help educate our youth about natural risks and their management.

"Wheeling Jesuit's work in developing new ways to teach and learn is well-known," Mollohan said. "NASA and NOAA are natural allies in the drive to encourage our young people to pursue careers in math and science. I am delighted that these programs are receiving the support they need."

Wheeling Jesuit Vice President for Sponsored Programs Davitt McAteer said. "We are pleased to work with Congressman Mollohan and we remain excited about the prospects for both endeavors," he said. "It builds upon our past experience and will serve not only West Virginia, but the nation as well."