Also called 20% Time or Passion Projects, Genius Hour stems from a practice at Google. Employees were allowed to use 20% of their work week to explore projects of their choosing, as long as it benefited the company. Gmail, Adsense, Google News, Google Glass and other innovations were created as a result of this self-directed research time.
to promote, support and model creative, innovative thinking and inventiveness
to allow students an opportunity to discover/investigate one of their passions and reflect on/share their learning with others
provide students and teachers an opportunity to develop skill sets** that are valuable in any learning situation (research, experimentation, collaboration, creativity, problem solving and critical thinking). **[These skill sets connect to the PYP ATLs and ideally should be explicitly taught prior to implementing Genius Hour - for example research skills could be taught during previous UOIs. This will provide students with prior knowledge about various research strategies as they dive into their passion project. The goal is to use Genius Hour as a vehicle to develop each student's disposition of when to apply a learned skill that will lead the best outcome. A. J Juliani wrote in his blog that we should reimagine Genius Hour as PBL Mastery Hour where the end point is a greater mastery of concepts, skills and ability.]
The goal of Genius Hour is to engage students through inquiry problem solving and critical thinking. Many students are interested in science but may want to pursue a branch of science that is not covered during the typical class curriculum. Genius Hour allows students the flexibility to choose a topic, research the content that is necessary to learn about their topic, and then solve a problem or present about a topic they are passionate about without the constraints of the typical teacher driven instructional time.
Genius Hour is a student-driven research project done at school and allotted 1 hour a week of class time. Students will be asked to select and pursue a science topic they feel passionate about. This project may be simply research-based or students may look into an answer to a problem, but each project will include a student generated question. Projects will be graded for participation and require an outcome at the end. Students will present their project to the class and create a version of their presentation that can be placed on the web and shared with others.