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Inquiry Science Education Consortium

What is ISEC?

Experience and research tell us that to move the needle in education in New Mexico, we must engage our students in innovative, student-centered learning that is real, multifaceted, and values individual critical thinking and voice.

The Inquiry Science Education Consortium (ISEC) nurtures partnerships and cultivates excellence in public education in Northern New Mexico. ISEC is the LANL Foundation's flagship K-12 Program, dedicated to increasing equity and access to quality STEM education for students in grades K–6 throughout Northern New Mexico. The program initiated early alignment with the Next Generation Science Standards and supported the State in advocating for its NM STEM Ready! Science Standards.

ISEC’s Three Core Components

  1. Research-based science and engineering curriculum
  2. High-quality and on-going professional development for educators
  3. Logistical and materials support for schools and teachers

Since its inception in 2010, ISEC has grown from 29 schools across 6 school districts to now serve 8 districts, 47 elementary schools, 570 teachers and approximately 11,000 students. The spectrum of 14 curriculum module titles (7 physical science and 7 Earth science, each with multiple lessons) are delivered free of charge to K–6 classrooms. Our Science Resource Center staff collects the modules and refurbishes materials between use. In 2019, Santa Fe Public Schools adopted ISEC as its official curriculum for grades K–5.

LANL Foundation has invested $14 million in inquiry STEM education over the last 9 years.

What is Inquiry STEM Education?

The Smithsonian Science Education Center (SSEC) defines inquiry STEM education as allowing “students to conceptualize a question and then seek a possible explanation that responds to that question.” This encompasses much more than “hands-on” or open-ended science teaching:
  • Teaches students how to think—not just what to think
  • Assesses students’ current knowledge and skills, then builds upon them
  • Encourages students to conceptualize a question and then seek a possible explanation
  • Actively engages children
  • Promotes teamwork and collaboration
  • Accommodates different learning styles
  • Enhances learning in other content areas, especially reading, mathematics, and social studies

Meet Our Team

Learn more about ISEC by contacting a member of our team:

Additional Program Offerings

Want to know more?

Interested in supporting ISEC or partnering with us? Please contact Bryan Maestas at or 505-753-8890.