March 2, 2017

Genius Hour Project Ideas

Kayla Hammons
A chalk drawing of a bunch of small light bulbs with an arrow pointing to a big light bulb

You might be familiar with #GeniusHour floating around social media, but what is it? Although origins aren’t clear, Google is thought to be one of the initiators of this independent study. Genius Hour is showing up in classrooms around the country to encourage students to find their passions. If Google can set aside time to do it, you can, too!

What is Genius Hour?

Your students will use 20% of their week’s lesson to pursue their passions. You will actively be involved in guiding students through rough patches, but teachers are encouraged to have a hands off approach. It is up to you whether you grade students on projects, but you should have benchmark assessments to ensure that students are staying on task. Don’t worry, even though students are operating at their own pace, they are still maintaining productivity!

How to Implement Genius Hour?

Like with any other new concept in class, starting Genius Hour with excitement and energy is a good way to get students interested. Below, we’ve listed a few ways to get started igniting your students’ passions!

1. A Passion for the Community

A good idea for Genius Hour is to guide students toward causes that they enjoy, and find local chapters to help. For example, if your students love animals, as most do, they can research local humane societies or can research what actually happens at animal control. Remember, this is a time for their minds to come alive, and through these projects students could decide to become animal rights activists or veterinarians.

2. A Passion for Crafts

Many students like working with their hands and creating new things, whether they’re cupcakes, photo albums, or woodworking projects. Have students decide what they would enjoy creating, and then their Genius Hour will be devoted to coming up with plans, recipes, or new inventions.

3. A Passion for Technology

Every student is guided by the internet and social media, and as a result they are interested in creating digital content. During Genius Hour students can create short films, take photographs, and get an understanding of the media that they enjoy connecting with the most.