Fab Fridays 39: Ms. Fab Joins Synthesis

Because learning can and should feel like playing a fun game.

Hey Everyone!

I have some exciting news to share with you today...but first, story time!

The path for Synthesis opened up six years ago when Elon Musk walked into parent-teacher conference night…

He asked Josh Dahn, who taught his kids at the time, if he would be interested in starting a small lab school at SpaceX.

Why would Elon Musk want to start a school in the first place?

We know that:

a. He is extremely busy

b. He can afford any school he wants

Like many of us, Elon noticed that regular schools weren't doing a good job preparing kids for the real world.​

So he recruited Josh, who agreed there were better ways to do this, to build a school and rethink education from first principles.

But what principles?

In an 2015 interview, Elon shared two core principles that would guide his new school:

  1. Ditch the assembly line model — no grade levels or age segregation. Age segregation doesn't work because kids have different aptitudes and interests that vary across time.

  2. Problem-focused, not tool-focused. Learning to use tools is pointless and boring unless those tools help you solve a real problem.

Elon also shared something he noticed about his own kids when it comes to learning and games:

“I don't have to encourage them to play video games. To the degree that you can make learning like a game, the better.”

Kids are hard-wired to learn through play. The more we can gamify the process of learning, the more they will learn.

Based on these principles, Josh created Ad Astra: an innovative lab school in the shadow of the SpaceX rocket factory 🚀

​A few years later, Chrisman Frank went down to SpaceX to tour Ad Astra. He was blown away by the school, particularly with a class called Synthesis…

Synthesis was the real magic of Ad Astra: a class built around complex team games.

Students work through case studies, simulations, and game-based challenges that are simple to understand, but WILDLY complex and unique by design.

Above all, they’re a hell of a lot of fun.

​Synthesis was the class that best embodied the principles that Elon and Josh agreed upon.

"I had never seen a group of students so energized and invested in their learning, but it gave me a pit in my stomach. I knew I couldn't give my own kids anything like this” shared Chrisman.

​Or could he?

Fast forward a few years, now Josh and Chrisman are scaling the magic of Synthesis, starting with an enrichment club for kids 8-14 all over the world.

And that’s just the beginning... Synthesis is building a community of kids who want to make a ding in the universe.

Imagine a virtual playground where kids get to make tough decisions and develop the instincts, cognitive tools, and collaboration skills to deal with complexity... all while having a BLAST.

Because learning can and should feel like playing a fun game.

The future belongs to those who dare to think creatively and adapt.

Those who can make tough decisions and solve problems in novel ways.

Synthesis wants to equip kids with the toolkit for this future, but in a fun way that doesn’t feel like school.

This is one of the many reasons why I'm thrilled to announce…​

I’m joining Synthesis as Chief Evangelist!

It’s not often that you come across a talented and passionate team with such a bold vision for the future of education. We promise to put kids front and center of this adventure.

It’s going to be a wild ride.

"It was not with the expectation of great success that I started Tesla or SpaceX. It's just that I thought they were important enough to do anyway” —Elon Musk

​Do we have all the answers? No. Nobody does

​Are we certain it will work? No. Nothing is certain

​Is it worth a shot? You bet. 🚀

Next week I'll be hosting two AMAs with Chrisman Frank, Synthesis CEO to answer questions about Synthesis.​

Wednesday 12/16 at 8:30am and 4pm Pacific Time.

*If you are a parent* and this sounds interesting, email me back and I’ll send you the registration link!

In the meantime, you can check out and apply to Synthesis here.

Until next week!

Ana Lorena Fabrega