The astronauts deftly dodge the oncoming trickle of rocks and debris from the meteor shower, and as the rubble clears they see the Moon up ahead. It is at this site that they?ll soon establish the first permanent human base. Though it sounds like science fiction, novice astronauts attempt this feat daily at Challenger Learning Center-St. Louis. Part of the Challenger Center for Space Science Education?a nonprofit founded by the families of the astronauts who died in the 1986 Challenger space-shuttle mission?the center educates visitors in science and teamwork with its space simulators. Whether navigating a spacecraft or abetting astronauts at a Mission Control modeled after NASA?s Johnson Space Center, student, community, and corporate groups must maintain a cooperative spirit while assembling a probe, or being the first human to land on Mars.
Before airplanes or helicopters, there were trapeze artists. Defying gravity for a chance at aerial artistry, they quickly became the stars of circuses and traveling shows the world over. At Circus Harmony Flying Trapeze Center ? Union Station, trapeze artists of today carry on this graceful discipline with the next generation of high-flying performers. Seasoned instructors?led by St. Louis native and triple somersault expert Matt Viverito?lead classes designed for all ages and skill levels, from curious adults to kids looking to be the next great circus stars. The only trapeze school in St. Louis recently celebrated the opening of a new facility; there, a state-of-the-art rig complete with brand-new equipment keeps students safe as they pursue jumps 25 feet off the ground.
The well-trained tone teachers at the American School of Music enlighten aspiring musicians with custom private lessons in a variety of instruments. During a 30-minute lesson, music mavens—many of them professional musicians or degree-holding music educators—can teach a 10-year-old his or her first guitar chords, or help an experienced adult drummer hammer out the difficult timpani solo from The Odd Couple’s theme. Before the lesson, administrative staff gathers information about each student’s goals, experience level, and preferred musical style so that instructors can tailor the experience to his or her needs. Beginning singers and instrumentalists will also receive a complimentary lesson book whose sentient pages whisper words of encouragement during at-home practice sessions.
The staff members at Sylvan Learning Center's numerous study facilities understand that each child learns differently. Therefore, they don’t try to implement a uniform tutoring system; instead, they design custom lesson programs based on the results of standardized testing, diagnostic tools, and one-on-one interviews.
Tutors work with students from kindergarten through grade 12, illuminating topics ranging from basic reading and writing to remembering complex algebraic formulas without having them tattooed on your chest. Many of Sylvan’s instructors work in local schools, so they are intimately familiar with common curricula and understand how to gear lessons toward optimal results. After-school and summer classes can ready high-schoolers for the rigors of the ACT or the SAT, or they can help students to wow college-admissions officers with their superior essay-writing skills.