As part of the 6 weeks project (twice a week beginning in early May), the students write a question “How can I build a skateboard ramp”, “How big of a bubble can I make?” “What kind of cat house might my cat like?” “How can I build a car that runs on CO2?” They research the project, spend time talking with their parents and peers to flesh it out, explore the internet for designs and ideas, and then write up a proposal that indicates their question and the materials or resources they need. This proposal has to be approved by both the teacher and the parents.
Teacher reflections: Steve values Genius Hour. He loves to watch the kids totally engrossed in their projects, excited to learn and share their learning, displaying such respect and cooperation with each other. “They are at peace with themselves and each other”. It is a fabulous way to end the year.” Steve noted that one of the challenges for him is not rescuing the kids… “it is hard sometimes to let go or not step in. I am repeatedly saying ‘If you get stuck come and see me’ but then staying hands off unless I’m invited in.” The kids disappointments are also key – “their plans don’t always go the way they think they should but they learn a lot from that, and I am there to support.” All in it is “just so worth it. You just have to watch them to know that”.