K - 4th Young Explorers' Missions


Kindergarten through fourth grade students experience an exploration mission in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). The NO PLACE LIKE EARTH (K-2nd) or LOST SATELLITE (3rd-4th) mission consists of three 40-minute components:

Activity 1: Athena Transport Module
As astronauts, students enter the 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 through three labs: physical 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 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.

A K-4th Young Explorers' mission accommodates 6-48 students and costs $500 (September - December) or $600 (January - May). Scholarships are available.

Mission times are 9:00 - 11:30 am and 11:45 am - 2:15 pm, Monday through Friday (except holidays).


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

Scholarship are available to K-12 schools and their students participating in simulated space missions and programs.  Awards, ranging from 25%-75% of mission and program costs, are based on demonstrated need, student information, educational impact and fund availability.  Schools and/or students with extenuating circumstances may qualify for additional funding.  Listing a request amount does not guarantee award for requested amount.  Teacher will be notified approximately one week after the application is received.  Contact the CLC at 309-268-8700 with any questions.  Email completed application to clc@heartland.edu or fax to 309-268-7984. To be eligible for a scholarship:

  • Each individual teacher must complete a separate application.
  • Teacher must register and attend a CLC Teacher Training Workshop.
  • School provides transportation to bring students to CLC on scheduled date(s).
  • Failure to comply with scholarship award terms may result in denial of funds.

Scholarship Grant Application

K-4 School Mission Registration Form

Step 2: Register for a Teacher Training Workshop.

Register for a Workshop

Teacher training workshops equip you with knowledge, skills, and resources necessary to prepare students for their K-4th Young Explorers' mission. While there is no charge for teacher training workshops, it is strongly recommended that you attend a workshop prior to your scheduled mission. 

Upcoming workshops are scheduled for January 10, 2018 from 9am-1pm.  Classroom activities, lunch and four CEUs are included.

Step 3: Prepare your students.

After your teacher-training workshop, implement CLC curriculum to prepare your students for their mission. Curriculum can be used in conjunction with any school district's curriculum or as a stand-alone curriculum.

K-2nd Grade Science Curriculum

Exploration K-2nd Curriculum Map

3rd-4th Grade Solar System Curriculum

Exploration 3rd-4th Curriculum Map

Step 4: Extend the mission.

Phenomenal Physics presentation is available to enhance and extend your CLC mission. Cost is $75 per group (10-48 students). Demonstrations and fun hands-on activities about motion, waves, and electricity will engage the entire class. Click "YES" on your mission registration form to register for Phenomenal Physics.

Avanti's lunches are available for purchase. Students may bring sack lunches to eat at the CLC or order lunch from Avanti's. Lunches include sandwich, chips, cookie or applesauce, and water and range from $3 to $6 per lunch. Click "YES" on your mission registration form if you plan to order Avanti's lunches.

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

Avanti's Order Form Packet 
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.
K-4 School Mission Crew Manifest
This form is used by the teacher to assign students to a team for the mission.
Student Data Form 
This form is filled out by a parent or guardian on behalf of the student and returned to the Challenger Learning Center by the teacher prior to the mission.
Educator Data Form
This form is completed by the teacher and staff and returned to the Challenger Learning Center by the teacher prior to the mission.


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

Stacey Shrewsbury

Lead Flight Director
Phone: 309-268-8701

Susan Evens

Flight Director
Phone: 309-268-8704

Libby Torbeck

Flight Director
Phone: 309-268-8702

Crystal Johnson

Program Assistant
Phone: 309-268-8374

Jenna Brewer

Registration & Records Assistant
Phone: 309-268-8707