Some classrooms are adopting “genius hour” time — inspired by Google’s 20% time idea — to allow students to pursue passion projects. But how do students spend their time?
Here, fourth grader Mushkale Uppal collaborated with friends to build a robot for genius hour in Robyn Thiessen’s class at Green Timbers Elementary in Surrey, British Columbia. “It opened up my creative side,” he said.
Mushkale’s classmate Kiran Rai says she learned an important lesson while attempting to make cookies in the shape of sunglasses for genius hour: It’s OK to mess up. She also discovered she could learn from mistakes to improve her technique and that she could pivot — that led to these tasty cookie flowers with licorice for stems.
“I asked my students what they liked about this project and the most common response was that they loved the freedom to explore what they are passionate about instead of just doing the work they have been assigned by teachers. That freedom is what motivates them to explore big ideas and take ownership of their learning.