During Genius Hour, fifth graders get to take a break from their usual routine, and learn about anything they want.
At Centennial Arts Academy, teacher Dallas Thompson encourages students to pursue their “passion project”. This is a project that really interest them. There are no tests, no studying, no curriculum. The students just enjoy learning about something they are truly interested in, by choice.
10 year o9ld William Scott used genius hour to learn about engineering and math by building a model roller coaster.
“In the beginning of the class, you were supposed to say what you would do if you had one day off of school, and I said go to Six Flags,” William said. “So (Mrs. Thompson) said that should be my project.”
His classmate Miranda Strickland used genius hour to learn more about self defense techniques. She became interested in this because she loves Karate. Gymnastics safety was the project chosen by Samantha Tate. The girls said they chose these projects as what they learned would help them share their interest with others \
“I did self-defense and karate in case kids or someone is in an emergency, they would know how to get out of it,” Miranda said.
“I love doing gymnastics, and I tried to teach my sister to do some because she wanted to, but she was scared to,” said Savannah.
Miranda already has plans to share another of her interests in her next project.
“I’m going to make a diorama of cats and get people to like cats,” she said.
It’s not a total free for all. Kids in Genius Hour choose their own projects and methods, but the class is structured. The only difference is that in Genius Hour, the students have a say in what they will learn. At the end of the projects, students share a presentation and both the research and presentations are graded.