Genius Hour

Genius Hour Explained

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.

In-Class Project

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.

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What is Genius Hour?

Run Time: 1:42 - Mar 9, 2017

Genius Hour Explained

Run Time: 3:09 - Sep 6, 2013

Reasons For Genius Hour

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At the Genius Hour Guidebook website, you’ll find many resources from the book by Denise Krebs & Gallit Zvi, plus bonus articles and materials. Best of all, you’ll be able to engage with colleagues eager to support each other as we implement Genius Hour in our classrooms and schools.

Genius Hour Guide-Book

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Genius Hour (or 20% Time) projects begin with a simple idea: give students a dedicated period of time to pursue their passions, interests, and questions in a creative way. In this blog post and podcast, you will learn about the benefits of doing Genius Hour projects.

6 Steps to Genius Hour Poster

Genius Hour Guidebook

The Genius Hour Guidebook, written by Denise Krebs and Gallit Zvi shows you how to implement Genius Hour – a special classroom time when students can develop their own passion-driven, inquiry-based projects and take more ownership of their work and their learning.

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The book takes you step by step through planning and facilitating Genius Hour. You’ll learn how to guide your students as they:

  • Develop inquiry questions based on their interests;

  • Conduct research to learn more about their topic of choice;

  • Create presentations to teach their fellow students in creative ways; and

  • Present their finished product to the world!

At the end of The Genius Hour Guidebook, you’ll find handy FAQs and ready-made lessons and resources. In addition, this companion website,, the book offers bonus materials and regular updates to support you as you implement Genius Hour in your own classroom.

Genius Hour Beginner's Guide

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Source: AJ Juliani Website

Genius Hour Blueprint - Slides

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Source: AJ Juliani Website

Genius Hour LiveBinder

Video Presentation: How to Navigate the LiveBinder

LiveBinder Website Source

5 Ways Student Choice Impacts Learning | AJ Juliani | Choice gives students the ability to go above and beyond our curricular limitations. Learn about five specific ways student choice impacts learning.

5 Ways To Launch Your Genius Hour Projects to the World

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Genius Hour - For Students

Bigger Definition of Creativity

Run Time: 1:31 - Mar 6, 2016

Genius Hour Introduction 1

Run Time: 1:43 - Aug 25, 2017

Genius Hour Introduction 2

Run Time: 1:49 - Aug 15, 2014

Genius Hour Introduction 3

Run Time: 1:42 - Mar 17, 2017

Genius Hour Introduction 4

Run Time: 1:23 - Aug 24, 2017

Genius Hour Self Assessment

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Source: Integrating Technology & Genius Hour: My Journey as a Teacher & Learner Website

Picture Books to Introduce Genius Hour

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Picturing Genius

Elementary teacher and vice principal Gallit Zvi uses these seven picture books to introduce her students to Genius Hour.

  • The Most Magnificent Thing, by Ashley Spires. - “This book is perfect for teaching persistence, risk-taking, and flexibility. I read it after introducing Genius Hour.”

  • What Do You Do With an Idea? by Kobi Yamada, illustrated by Mae Besom. - “Handy to read to your class if they’re needing some fresh inspiration for Genius Hour.”

  • Rosie Revere, Engineer, by Andrea Beaty, illustrated by David Roberts. - “Use it to introduce a discussion on inquisitiveness, risk-taking, and generating ideas.”

  • Q Is for Question: An ABC Book of Philosophy, by Tiffany Poirier. - “I make sure this book is on hand for students to flip through when they need inspiration.”

  • It’s Okay to Make Mistakes, by Todd Parr. - “It helps us learn that even if things don’t go the way we expected, that’s part of trying new things!”

  • The Dot, by Peter H. Reynolds. - “So many teachers love this book [about starting small and building on an idea] that it has its own day—International Dot Day on September 15.”

  • Iggy Peck, Architect, by Andrea Beaty, illustrated by David Roberts. - “This is a great book to introduce the concept of passion.”

Source: Scholastic

Additional Genius Hour Resources

This Could Fail

Run Time: 1:41 - Mar 12, 2016

Learning is Messy Poster

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Source: AJ Juliani Website

Growth Mindset: Learning Like A Skater

Run Time: 5:13 - Dec 4, 2018

The Five Biggest Mistakes I Made

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