H/Isaacman Next Generation Science Institute

Isaacman Next Generation Science Institute

Heading that reads "Isaacman Next Generation Science Institute", with a photo of a young boy looking through a telescope

The Isaacman Next Generation Science Institute is a Da Vinci Science Center educational initiative designed in partnership with local and national experts to provide learning opportunities for teachers, students, families, administrators, and school board members to prepare for next-generation science teaching and learning.

Next Gen teaching and learning is coming to PA

The adoption of new standards in Pennsylvania Science, Technology, Engineering, Environmental Literacy and Sustainability (PA STEELS) , effective July 1, 2025, creates an opportunity for schools to update their vision for science education.

The new standards, adapted from the national Next Generation Science Standards, are a dynamic representation of how science and engineering work in the real world. 

Heading that reads "Da Vinci Science Center is ready to help your district and our community make the shift"

Da Vinci Science Center is ready to help your district and our community make the shift. 

Da Vinci Science Center has programs and experiences that will support school districts in making the new vision for science a reality while keeping key stakeholders included and informed along the way.

The initiative is sponsored by renowned astronaut, pilot, philanthropist, and entrepreneur, Jared Isaacman, and his wife Monica.

Heading that reads "Isaacman Next Generation Science Institute Methodology"

ISAACMAN NEXT GENERATION SCIENCE INSTITUTE METHODOLOGY

Three-dimensional teaching and learning

In Next Generation classrooms, there are three distinct and equally important dimensions to learning science. Students actively engage in Science and Engineering Practices and apply Crosscutting Concepts to deepen their understanding of Disciplinary Core Ideas in the domains of life science, physical science, earth and space science, environmental literacy and sustainability, and technology and engineering.

Knowledge and abilities in each of the dimensions is built progressively throughout a students’ K-12 scientific education. Through this approach, students learn that science is a process of discovery and not simply a collection of facts that are unrelatable to their own lives. They develop individual understandings based on evidence and become flexible thinkers with transferable skills needed not only for STEM careers, but to advance personal and community priorities as scientifically literate members of society.

Each performance expectation in the PA STEELS standards comprises the three dimensions (https://ssec.si.edu/ngss-three-dimensional-learning-and-assessment)

Figuring out instead of learning about

Students ask questions, engage in argument from evidence, create and revise models, and have discussions with each other to figure out how and why things work in the real world. Next Generation lessons focus on real-world phenomena and problems that affect people. Instead of learning about the motion of the Earth, moon, and sun, students in grades 6-8 develop and usea model to predict when and where an eclipse on earth will happen, and where it can be viewed. Instead of learning about plants and animals, kindergarteners use their observations to identify patterns and present evidence for what these organisms need to live and grow.

Promoting Equity 

The Next Generation approach is designed to provide learning opportunities in both classrooms and informal settings that are accessible to all students.

Lessons are centered on real world phenomena

  •  Collectively experienced by all students in the room at the inception
  • Students connect their real world experiences to the topic, regardless of home language or prior experience with the content

Connections to Common Core Math and English Language Arts Standards

  • Shared norms for classroom dialogue across disciplines
  • Overlapping practices such as arguing from evidence, constructing explanations, and communicating information

Inclusion of Engineering

  • Solving problems using engineering can be motivating and encourage connection to a student’s daily life
  • Exposure to engineering can lead to greater interest in STEM careers
Heading that reads "Professional Learning"

PROFESSIONAL LEARNING

Da Vinci Science Center Professional Development programs for educators are Act 48 approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Education and address the demands of the new STEELS standards. 

  • Job-embedded coaching and co-teaching
  • Training and support of science visioning, curriculm development and selection of materials
  • Access to specialized equipment and STEM professionals

Educator Professional Development is presented by the Ryan Family Foundation

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SCHOOL PROGRAMMING

Traveling Science Programs, aligned with the new standards, provide opportunities for students to engage in Next Generation science learning and for teachers to observe or co-teach with Da Vinci Science Center educators, or observe instruction in their classrooms. This is a great opportunity for support while piloting a new curriculum or instructional materials. All of our programs are offered in English and Spanish!

  • Hands-on student experiences available to schools within 125 miles of the science center.
  • Access to specialized equipment and STEM professionals.
Heading that reads "Public Experiences"

PUBLIC EXPERIENCES

Everyone can experience Da Vinci Science Center’s fun and engaging brand of interactive science in a variety of ways including summer camps, community festivals and more! 
Heading that reads "Jared and Monica Isaacman"

JARED & MONICA ISAACMAN

The initiative is sponsored by renowned astronaut, pilot, philanthropist, and entrepreneur, Jared Isaacman, and his wife Monica.

In addition to making a significant financial investment, Jared and Monica, along with his team, will support the development of multimedia assets and educational programs for the Institute that are related to his experiences in space.

Jared Isaacman was commander of Inspiration4, the first all civilian mission to orbit. Jared is currently training for his next mission, Polaris Dawn. Polaris Dawn is part of the Polaris Program, three human spaceflight missions that will demonstrate new technologies, conduct extensive research and ultimately culminate in the first flight of SpaceX’s Starship with humans on board. Polaris Dawn is currently scheduled to launch in 2024.

A Message from Jared Isaacman, Announcing the Isaacman Next Generation Science Institute

Check out Jared in the Netflix documentary Countdown: Inspiration4 Mission to Space