CONTACT: Ben Goldenberg
Sr. Manager of Marketing and Communications
Kentucky Science Center
Sixth Graders at Jefferson County Public Schools to Participate in Immersive Space Science Learning with Kentucky Science Center
LOUISVILLE, Ky., November 20, 2019 – Kentucky Science Center and Jefferson County Public Schools will pilot a sixth grade immersive space science program at Kentucky Science Center’s flagship facility in downtown Louisville and the Challenger Learning Center at Academy @ Shawnee. This pilot initiative is funded in part by Churchill Downs Foundation.
“This partnership provides an amazing opportunity for sixth grade students in our district to comprehend science and space curriculum through hands-on experience and application. By piloting the program with the select schools, we can test the logistical aspects of expanding this program to all sixth graders in JCPS,” said Dr. Marty Pollio, JCPS Superintendent.
The full-day curriculum will allow students to participate in a simulated mission to Mars at the Challenger Learning Center for half the day and classroom lessons at the science center for the other half of the school day. At the Challenger Center students will reprogram satellites, calculate and plot a course to Mars, evaluate soil analysis, and use technology to examine rocks and monitor crew health. At Kentucky Science Center, teachers will be able to select from a series of classroom options, led by KSC staff, individually catered to their classroom needs. Students will also explore exhibits including Sun, Earth, Universe Exhibition, which was created by a collaboration between NASA and the National Informal STEM Education Network.
“We are excited to expand our partnership with JCPS by helping students learn through informal, hands-on experiences. We are 1 of 43 NASA designated Challenger Centers in the country helping students apply STEM concepts in the context of real-world scenarios. The support from the Churchill Downs Foundation makes this collaboration possible and demonstrates the importance of corporate philanthropy in our community,” said Jo Haas, Chief Executive Officer, Kentucky Science Center.
Classes from Noe Middle, Olmsted South, Olmsted North, and Westport Middle were selected to take part in this pilot program with plans to expand to all JCPS sixth grade programs as part of the science and space curriculum.
“Churchill Downs is committed to being a responsible corporate citizen. When we can improve access and education, especially for our neighbors in South Louisville, we are motivated to support. The Challenger Pilot Program and the school-based STEM Clubs are crucial to inspiring children from every background to pursue academic and professional careers that better their future and the future of our Commonwealth,” said Tonya Abeln, President of Churchill Downs Foundation.
Kentucky Science Center is dedicated to expanding the public’s understanding of space and science. In addition to being home to a Gemini Trainer (which paved the way for astronauts to successfully reach the moon) this past September, the science center hosted a live question and answer session with the International Space Station for more than 700 middle school students. The KSC STEM Clubs partner with middle school students in Louisville and Lexington to expose students to careers in science, technology, engineering, and math through eight consecutive weeks of afterschool programming and mentoring.
About Kentucky Science Center (KYScienceCenter.org)
Kentucky Science Center is a nonprofit educational institution that encourages people of all ages to do science in engaging, educational and entertaining ways to inspire a lifetime of learning. Designated the “State Science Center of Kentucky” by the 2002 Kentucky General Assembly, Kentucky Science Center features interactive exhibits and engaging programs for children, families and adults. Kentucky Science Center is committed to growing a scientifically literate community that investigates, questions, and challenges.