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

Preschoolers Take to Space

Fri May 29 2009

Annie Morgan reads from Dr. Seuss' There's No Place Like Space.Some Wheeling-area youngsters discovered that outer space is as close as the dinner table during an event this week at the Northern Panhandle Head Start in Triadelphia.

Sharon Morgan and Annie Morgan of the Challenger Learning Center in the Center for Educational Technologies visited the Head Start classroom of Mary Murphy and Tim Midget on Tuesday to teach the 4- and 5-year-olds about space. To accomplish that mission, Annie Morgan read Dr. Seuss' There's No Place Like Space to the rapt audience.

Then the kids went to work. Using preprinted placemats showing the orbit of each of the planets in our solar system, the kids found the corresponding planet on a sheet of cutout stickers and placed the planet on its orbit on the placemat. There were also stickers showing astronauts, a space shuttle, a satellite, and other start clusters. The pupils were invited to place those stickers on the back of their placemats or within the planets on the front.

Sharon Morgan helps a student with his placemat.Sharon and Annie collected the placemats and will laminate them and return them to the pupils when they visit the Challenger Learning Center June 3, where they will tour the on-site spaceship simulator and mission control. The children have been studying space for a couple of months and have even created their own space station in their classroom.

"We don't think they're ever too young to start learning about space," Sharon Morgan said.

The Challenger Learning Center has received a $282,000 grant from NASA 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 simulator is expected to be open in the fall with the new school year.

Challenger will host a number of summer day camps for children entering grades 4-7. Return to the Moon will run June 23 and June 29, and Voyage to the Moon will run July 15 and July 28 and Aug. 5 and Aug. 7. Children entering grades 1-3 can take part in Explore the World and Beyond on June 30, July 30, or Aug. 6. Visit the website to learn more and sign up, or call 304-243-8740.

View more photos from this event.