Day 16: 20 Minutes into Genius Hour

I dove into Genius Hour again for the second year in a row. Last year was with a 7/8 intermediate class, this year is 2/3 primary…same game with a few variations. I think the majority of meaningful projects/ideas can include all grades with some changes. Genius Hour (GH) is no example.

Here is a quick video to get an idea of what GH is if you are not sure. Today we finished our first phase of selecting the idea. Students are excited, and their ideas are wide reaching and somewhat out of my comfort zone, which is always a great place to be.

Parents are excited, although I feel like I over did it. I tried to explain GH with an oversized double sided handout of the overview (including assessment and pedagogical approach)…it was too much. Parents want to help, and make sure their child is on track, they are used to expecting a  one-size fits all layout. The issue is, I have 20 students exploring in 20 different directions. This will result in a variety of outcomes and experiences.

To better organize and calm all involved, I am chunking the project into weeks.

  • Week 1: Start thinking about passion, interests, ideas
  • Week 2: Narrow the search, involve the family, start making decisions on 1 topic
  • Week 3: Answer specific research questions based on idea
  • Week 4: Turn research into action- gather the materials
  • Week 5: Build it, make it, struggle!
  • Week 6: Buffer week…
  • Week 7: Prepare Presentation
  • Week 8: Show the world

*I have an extra 2 weeks built in on top of this as I know schedules need to be flexible.

I am currently at week 3. Students have picked their topics, and through conferencing I have helped shape their research questions. This is new to them, the idea of research. It is important that I stay true to their ideas while I facilitate and guide them through thoughtful data collection. Their ideas make this easy to do as well…

I am excited for the next step, and will keep you updated through #the100daysproject. I leave you with some ideas we are working on:

  • Building a life-size robot that is flexible
  • Building a puppy robot
  • Building the Golden Gate Bridge
  • Creating a portable farm
  • Making lip-gloss
  • Building a battleship
  • Making a box car
  • Building a solar panel (that lights up a light in a model house)
  • 3D Printing a plastic car (Ok…I gently guided this one from building a plastic car)
  • Creating comfortable stadium seats
  • Designing a brand new hockey arena
  • Designing a brand new soccer stadium
  • Creating Energy (designing and testing circuits)
  • Making a roller coaster

…plus 6 more!

What is your passion project?


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