A team of educators plans to open a new space education center in Cache Valley, modeled after the Christa McCauliffe Space Center in Utah County. David Sidwell, executive director for the project, said the organization will be a hands-on arts and science lab with a Starship Simulator at its heart.
The center, planned for construction inside two existing classrooms at Wilson Elementary in Logan, is scheduled to open May 27 and will accommodate students from Cache and Logan school districts as well as schools around the region. Sidwell said the center will be a learning tool that incorporates both science and creativity.
"In our educational climate today, kids are not getting a lot of the curriculum they should be learning," said Sidwell, "especially in arts and in STEM subjects - science, technology, engineering and math."
The new center will house both a small science exploration center and starship simulator – a mock-up of a futuristic space ship. Visitors take on roles of various crew members on an imaginary mission through space while encountering aliens and space phenomena. The overall goal, said Sidwell, is to help students see the relationship between science and art and create opportunities for kids to build communication skills and creativity. Pairing art and science, he said, is key to educating future scientists and artists.
"How can you be a painter if you don't know a little color theory?" he said. "And how can you be a business leader if you've never led a team?"
Co-creator James Porter said the simulator will integrate science, math, and the arts while crew members work together to solve problems. The Space Education Center will also be open to the general public, starting with summer camps and overnight “Space Camps” beginning in June.