skip to main content

Home School Missions

K-8 homeschool mission experiences are an exploration in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) for your students. Missions costs $500 (September - December) and $600 (January-May).   K-4th missions accommodate 6-48 students and 5th-8th missions accommodate 12-32 students. Scholarships are available.

Missions run twice each day: 9:00 -11:30 am and 11:45 am - 2:15 pm, Monday through Friday (except holidays). Participants should plan to arrive at least 15 minutes prior to the start of their mission.


NO PLACE LIKE EARTH (K - 2nd) or NEW HORIZONS: LOST SATELLITE (3rd - 4th) mission consists of three 40 minute components:

Activity 1: Athena Transport Module As astronauts, students take a ride in the CLC Athena spacecraft in a daring attempt to find the best home planet for humans (K-2nd) or track a lost satellite through the Solar System (3rd-4th).

Activity 2: Discovery Lab As scientists, students work in pairs as they rotate through three labs: physcial science, life science, and earth science.  Students build brush bots, study living plants, investigate topography and much more.

Activity 3: Engineering Venue Activity  As engineers, students are challenged to solve a problem posed to them by a CLC instructor. They design, build and test a prototype for the solution, taking into consideration time, materials, and technology restrictions.


After a short pre-mission briefing, students in RENDEZVOUS WITH A COMET (5th - 7th) or a EXPEDITION MARS (6th - 8th) take their places in the simulators to assume control of an exciting mission:

Mission Control In Mission Control, students will take charge of their space mission when they become the flight control technicians responsible for guiding astronauts through their mission.

Spacecraft In the Spacecraft, students become astronauts responsible for navigating through space, conducting experiments, monitoring crew health and safety, and building a probe to launch in space.

Crew Exchange  Halfway through the mission, students will switch places, so that each participant has the opportunity to experience BOTH Mission Control and the Spacecraft.

Click to learn how Rendezvous with a Comet and Voyage to Mars align with Common Core State Standards and Next Generation Science Standards.


Are you ready to sign up for a mission? Use the "pre-launch" checklist below to make sure that your mission goes off without any glitches.

Step 1: Schedule your mission.

Schedule Your Mission

You may also download and complete a paper registration form. Paper forms should be mailed or faxed to the CLC. Scholarships are available for homeschool group demonstrating a need. Scholarship applications may also be downloaded and sent to the CLC.
K-4 Exploration Mission Registration Form (PDF)

5-8 Space Mission Registration Form (PDF)

Scholarship Grant Application (PDF)

Step 2: Sign up for Professional Development.

Register for a Workshop

Teacher training workshops equip teachers with knowledge, skills, and resources necessary to prepare students for their mission. While there is no charge for teacher training workshops, it is strongly recommend that teachers attend a workshop prior to their scheduled mission. 

Upcoming workshops are scheduled for K-4 Young Explorers missions: January 18 and April 19, 2017 from 9am-1pm.  Classroom activities, lunch and 4 CEUs are included.

Upcoming workshops are scheduled for 5-8 Simulated Space missions: January 19 and April 20, 2017 from 9am-3pm.  Classroom activities, lunch and 6 CEUs are included. 

Step 3: Prepare your students.

After your teacher training workshop, implement CLC curriculum to prepare your students for their CLC. Students will need to be assigned a team and corresponding curriculum shared among families Introducing students to each other prior to the mission is strongly encouraged.

Rendezvous with a Comet Curriculum

Expedition Mars Curriculum

Step 4: Extend the mission.

Phenomenal Physics presentation is available to enhance and extend your CLC mission. Cost of presentation is $50 per group (10-48 students). Dr. Jay Ansher from Illinois State University Physics Department, an ISU college student, or a CLC staff member provide a presentation on physical science topics with exciting demonstrations and fun hands-on activities that will engage the entire class.

Mars Science Academy (Grades 5-8) Students experience hands-on science activities related to planning a mission to Mars. Students will work within teams utilizing NASA roles. In addition, students will work with other teams to reach decisions as they develop skills in the areas of teamwork, communication, and decision making. Each session is expected, but not guaranteed, to end with live interaction with a NASA or other STEM expert to discuss STEM careers with students and encourage future efforts. Cost of the MSA program is $75. Teachers may choose from one of three options:

• MSA: Launch focuses on the math and physical science behind launching a spacecraft to Mars.

• MSA: Land is an earth science based mission looking at the geology of Mars.

• MSA: Live is a life science based mission looking at keeping a crew alive on a Mars base.

Click "YES" on your mission registration form to register for one of the following programs: Phenomenal Physics, Mars Science Academy: Launch, Mars Science Academy: Land, or Mars Science Acadmey: Live.

Mars Science Academy is available in on-site at your location. Contact the CLC at (309) 268-8700 or email to schedule Mars Science Academy for your class.

Avanti's sack lunches are available for purchase. Students may bring sack lunches to eat at the Challenger Learning Center or order from Avanti's. Avanti's sack lunches include sandwich, chips, cookie or applesauce, and water. Prices range from $3 to $6 per lunch. If you are interested in ordering Avanti's, download and complete the Avanti's lunch form. Then mail or fax at least two weeks prior to your mission. Click "YES" on your mission registration form to register for Avanti's

Payment for Phenomenal Physics, Mars Science Academy and/or Avanti's, payable to the Challenger Learning Center, is due the day of the mission.

Avanti's Order Form Packet (PDF) Includes student and teacher order form.

Step 5: Complete necessary paperwork.

Don't forget to bring all of your paperwork to the Challenger Learning Center on the day of your mission:

2014-15 K-4 School Mission Crew Manifest (DOC)

2014-15 5-8 School Mission Crew Manifest (DOCX)

2014-15 Student Data Form (PDF)

2014-15 Educator Data Form (PDF) (Teachers only)


Commemorate your mission with Challenger Learning Center merchandise and apparel. 

View CLC Merchandise

Contact Us

Challenger Learning Center
1500 W. Raab Rd.
Normal, IL 61761
Phone: 309-268-8700
Fax: 309-268-7984