So today we’re finishing up our Genius Hour projects. And they’ve been a huge success. Genius Hour is essentially where you let your students become a genius in something. What I found is that it encourages students to really get creative and delve deeper into something that they’re really, really passionate about.
The project takes place over about 3 months during which time we have 4 conferences and a video presentation. During the time, students are also responsible for creating a report every other week and placing them on a website they’ve created.
So far, we’ve completed all of the conferences and most of the videos and we’re going to finish them off this week.
Generally, I do my Genius Hour projects with older grades, high school, grade 11-12, but you can do with any grade and really all that changes is the topic that they’re discussing. I like to make sure that the topic my students choose is relevant so make sure your first conference occurs early on and really focusses on making sure they have the right topic.
I use this project in grades 11 and 12 physics so everything that they’re talking about has to do with physics. Some of the things that they’ve come up with are fascinating. I had one student do his on Archimedes and his thought experiment that if he had a lever long enough and a fulcrum to place it on, he could move the world. His entire project was based on this idea. All the math and all the physics that came from his calculations was just fascinating. I’ve had people do black holes, electricity, radios, and lots more. Generally, I encourage them to build something to go along with what they’re presenting. For instance, they can build a model, some have build computer programs, others, physical working examples.
It’s amazing the types of things that they are able to create and learn about when given the chance. And then the presentations that they give are generally very good too. The presentation also allows everyone else to become a genius in that topic as well through listening to the presentation.
Here’s the basic rundown but if you’d like the full download including all dates and criteria, just grab it below.
– Every student has chooses a topic that is relevant and important
– We go through the year and they have conferences and during every conference, they’re expected to reach a certain level of authority and genius. Also also need to come prepared to answer some questions and fulfill some criteria set out beforehand.
– They need to create a website and an annotated bibliography.
Over the course of the three or four months, they slowly become a genius within their topic and it shows by the end that they know a lot about their subject. And I’m very, very impressed by what they’ve come up with as I am every year. So if you’ve never tried it, I do encourage you to give it a go. It’s a fantastic tool to get your kids learning about the things that they’re interested in.
The way that I set it up is that every Friday, I give my kids most of the class to work on their Genius Hour projects. We get the computers out, they can research on their devices, they can write their blog posts, etc.
As I said above, I’ve attached my complete outline below so you can download it and have a look at exactly how I assess them. But the great part is, by the time their final assessment (video) comes up, they already have most of their marks allocated so there’s less stress. only about 30% of their project grade is left to their video presentation that they make at the end.
So give it a go.