Elon Musk created a private school for his children—called Ad Astra. It was quietly built inside the SpaceX campus, and it was nearly impossible to get your own child into.
Its goal was to reimagine education to see (1) if kids' intellectual development could be exponentially sped up and (2) if kids would actually want to go to school.
Its founder and curriculum designer, Joshua Dahn, is my co-founder at Synthesis. We've improved upon the brilliant games used to help SpaceX kids become strategic decision-makers at a young age.
Now your kids can play these games too.
You'll be surprised by the adult-level conversations your children will have with Synthesis. Kids will discuss game theory, complexity science, everyday financial planning, and more.
Kids were always capable of this. But schools don't push them enough. Here's the Synthesis approach: Fun thinking games where kids make friends from around the world while learning critical problem-solving strategies that prepare them for the real world.
We parents had to face the realities of post-college life to recognize how much school failed to teach us about problem-solving. Synthesis fixes that.
Synthesis unlocks your child's confidence in their communication and their intellectual abilities to prepare them for life, school, and science. Thousands of parents—whose testimonials line this page—will tell you their stories of awe.
School is great for waiting. Kids sit at a desk for over a decade listening to inert facts.
Pi is the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter. The chemical formula for water is H20.
In our industrial education complex, everyone assumes kids aren’t ready to experience the real world until they’ve memorized all these facts.
But this is patently false.
Kids are ready for complex problems. They’re hungry for a challenge. They want the chance to prove themselves. They want to feel powerful and efficacious. It’s the modern system that’s holding them back.
Synthesis Teams began as the most popular class at the SpaceX lab school. It was designed for the children of the most talented rocket scientists to receive the best possible education.
Our co-founder Joshua Dahn created a program that confronted young kids with difficult problems. It threw them into chaotic challenges without any context or background information. The intention was to give them the opportunity to create clarity out of ambiguity, make sense of complexity, and band together to make plans and execute them without any adult direction. It was not only exceptionally effective. Kids also loved it. Isn’t that interesting?
Here is how it works.
Students join anytime between 3-6pm (PT) on Wednesdays and 7-10am (PT) on Saturdays. They get to invite friends to join their team, and they’re also automatically paired with new faces from across the globe. They play a quick series of short games to prime the team and ease them into communication. And then they’re off.
The team dives headfirst into a complex challenge, where they collaborate to win against an opposing team. This week, they might be competing to build the most prosperous Greek city-state. Or design the strongest network of star constellations. Or create and defend the greatest intergalactic colony.
Each week unveils new games, new maps, new rules, and new teammates. No session is the same. Kids must constantly generate new ideas, test hypotheses, and collaborate to execute new tactics. It’s chaotic. It’s complex. It’s downright tough. And kids love the fact that every week brings fresh problems to solve.
Each game lasts for roughly ten minutes. Afterward, they take a breather to conduct a retrospective as a team. They review game footage, discuss what worked and what didn’t, and formulate a new plan to improve their communication, collaboration, and decision-making. Then they’re back at it again, diving into a whole new challenge. This structure shows kids the power of cycling through loops of course corrections. They learn the art of learning. Continuous improvement.
Throughout this process, adults moderate the sessions and provide live tech support. This ensures kids benefit from a healthy, productive learning environment. However, the adults very purposefully work behind the scenes. They’re not there to “teach” students. They don’t provide tips, tricks, coaching, or advice. Instead, kids get to experience the joy of achieving hard-won knowledge through their own determination and resourcefulness. There’s nothing more rewarding in the world.
In essence, Synthesis Teams is a practice arena for kids to learn how to solve the world’s most difficult problems. It is exactly what precocious and ambitious kids have always wanted.
As it turns out, these challenges not only enabled kids to start thinking and talking like adults, but it also reinvigorated their passion to make a difference in the world. Over ten thousand kids have gone through our program.