Terraforming Mars

Our current challenge is to transform Mars from a barren wasteland into a world rich with life and fully suitable for human habitation–a process that scientists call “terraforming.”

Learn More About This Experiment »
Philosophy and Mission

Education programs are defined first by what they teach and second by the approach they take to teaching it. LabRats™ is developing the most comprehensive hands-on education program in physical and the biological sciences ever devised.


Our approach is built upon the following seven core principles…

To instill knowledge that will last a lifetime one must captivate and hold a child’s interest, not just her attention, and engage that child personally in every topic one exposes her to.

The best way to spark young people’s interest is first to encourage them to believe in themselves and second to inspire them to dream big. An important secret to unlocking children’s potential is to reward their creativity and to make them believe that they have to power within themselves to one day change the world.

Our goal is to give our students the tools they need to be successful in any science program. That's why our program is centered on what we call the “Jewel Concepts” of science. Some natural principles are so fundamental that they underlie all of the physical and biological sciences. It doesn’t matter what field one learns these principles from. Anyone who masters these Jewel Concepts will gain deep insights into all fields of science. That’s why LabRats™ teaches science “Jewels first.” We build all of our curricula around these all-important foundational principles.

Science is both facts and process. Science is everything we know about the physical universe and how we know it. Whereas most education programs focus almost entirely on the facts of science, LabRats™ focuses on the process of discovery. Doing science, we tell our students, is all about making sure you aren’t fooling yourself. LabRats™ schools its members in the art of not fooling themselves through a process we call Invention Learning™. Invention Learning™ is a problem-based approach that was developed by LabRats’ Founder, Dr. Shawn Carlson. It develops scientific creativity and problem solving skills first by getting young adults to dream big, and then by having them participate in a carefully designed system of competition, collaboration and rewards that bonds kids to the LabRats™ community and inspires them to learn more and more.

LabRats™ isn’t merely a curriculum. LabRats™ is a carefully crafted community of mentors and like-minded learners who inspire, encourage, and support each other throughout our members’ teenage years. LabRats™ takes the best community-building techniques from Scouting other successful youth programs to instill a strong sense of purpose and belonging that can both sustain teens through troubled times and create friendships that last a lifetime.

Knowledge by itself cannot lead to success in life. To meet the challenges they will eventually face, young people must develop a high quality of character. LabRats™ reinforces family values and actively cultivates character by instilling within its members the Great Virtues that define a great civilization. We teach that these virtues, including self-respect, honesty and service, lie at the heart of the scientific enterprise.

What child doesn’t daydream about saving the world? Although it is too often lost by adulthood, a desire to work towards a higher purpose is deeply ingrained into human nature. Children can touch it easily. And that desire, if properly encouraged and guided, can become a powerful motivating force in a person’s life. LabRats™ actively cultivates within its members the belief that they if are willing to work to prepare themselves now then they will one day be able to make a big difference in the world. This approach can motivate young people in powerful ways to learn everything they can about science and technology.