Challenger Learning Center Receives Grant from Monsanto Fund for ‘Sprouting Astronaut’ Program

FERGUSON, Mo. – The Challenger Learning Center-St. Louis has been awarded a grant of $65,600 from the Monsanto Fund to continue the “Monsanto Sprouting Astronauts Program.” The program, which is in its fourth year, provides professional development, hands-on science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM)-based activities and a simulated space mission at the Challenger Learning Center for all 5th grade teachers and students in the Ferguson-Florissant School District.

“The generosity of the Monsanto Fund allows us to continue providing this meaningful and impactful program that engages and ignites a student’s interest in science and provides teachers with the resources they need to help their students reach for the stars,” said Tasmyn Scarl Front, Director of the Challenger Learning Center.

The Monsanto Sprouting Astronauts Program includes teacher professional development workshops, curriculum materials and a planetarium and classroom program for participating schools. Students and their teachers also visit the Challenger Learning Center to participate in the Center’sJunior Astronauts program.

“The professional development workshop provided me with new, refreshing ideas on how to better engage my students in the learning process so that they can expand their critical thinking skills while learning science, said Sarah Jennings, 5th grade teacher, Parker Road Elementary. “After participating in the Challenger Center’s activities both in school and at the Center, my students are incredibly excited and motivated to actively participate in science lessons. They had a blast and have described their opportunities with the Challenger Center as ‘awesome.’ ”

“The Monsanto Sprouting Astronauts Program at the Challenger Learning Center gives students the opportunity to see a positive vision of their future selves as scientists, engineers and explorers,” said Michelle Insco, Monsanto Fund program officer. “The program also supports our area’s educators as they strive to find meaningful ways to connect classroom activities with real STEM careers.”

About the Challenger Learning Center-St. Louis
The award-winning Challenger Learning Center, located at 205 Brotherton Road in Ferguson, Missouri, provides simulated space missions and other science education programs for schools, scouts and corporate groups as well as for the general public. It features a replica Mission Control center and an orbiting space station.

The Challenger Learning Center-St. Louis is a partnership of the Ferguson-Florissant School District, the Saint Louis Science Center and the Cooperating School Districts and is part of the Challenger Center for Space Science Education, an international not-for-profit education organization founded in April 1986 by the families of the astronauts tragically lost during the Challenger space shuttle mission. For more information,

About the Monsanto Fund
The Monsanto Fund, the philanthropic arm of the Monsanto Company, is a nonprofit organization dedicated to strengthening the communities where farmers and Monsanto Company employees live and work. Visit the Monsanto Fund at