Geniuses In Fourth Grade

In our classroom with Mrs. Grady, we have Genius Hour. We wondered why she has it in her fourth grade classroom. Mrs. Grady loves kids being excited about learning and when she heard about Genius Hour two summers ago she thought it was a great idea. Genius Hour was an idea started by Google. It gave 20% of their employees’ work time to do whatever they were passionate about, which would lead to a product that would benefit the company. Mrs. Grady introduced Genius Hour last year to her class and they researched one question they were passionate about. This year we have done Genius Hour all year and will have completed 3 “Passion Projects.”

We created a survey to query what the students thoughts about Genius Hour in our classroom. All the students in our class took the survey except one who was absent. The first question we asked was if they liked Genius Hour.

Pie Chart showing 100% of the students surveyed in Mrs. Grady's class like Genius Hour.

Clearly, Genius Hour is a favorite in Mrs. Grady’s class! We were curious to know why they liked Genius Hour.

Pie Chart showing the reasons why Mrs. Grady's class like Genius Hour: topics of interest, fun learning, sharing interests, follow passions, learning!

We asked our class what was their favorite Genius Hour project and why. “How is NASA Preparing for the Mission to Mars” was a project by one of Mrs. Grady’s students. He picked the topic, “Because I love learning about space and this is the chance to do it.” The Battle of Gettysburg was another favorite of a student. He picked the topic, “because his cousins went to Gettysburg College and he wondered about the battle of Gettysburg.” A third student shared,  “Why are Starfish Becoming Extinct? She wrote, ”Because I learned the most information during the process of making it.” It seems clear from these few statements, that the students adore Genius Hour because they can follow their passions.

The survey queried whether other teachers should do Genius Hour. Pie chart showing 95.2% thought other teachers should do Genius Hour in their classroom. 4.8% said no.From the chat below you can see that there was a resounding “YES!” The single “No” vote was because the student shared, “I want my class to be the only one doing this special event.”  

The reasons students felt that it should be done is in the chart below.

Pie Chart showing reason to add Genius Hour to your classroom with the four reasons being: learn topics of choice, topics they love, fun, learn skill and fun, and others learn as well.

We asked the students if they wanted to change anything about Genius Hour; four students said YES, and the 17 left said NO!

Pie Chart showing 81% said they would not change anything about Genius House and 19% said would.

In addition they answered why they would like to change it and here are the answers! Lists means Ex. Top 10 list Baseball Cards. Here in Mrs. Grady’s class we base our research off of questions, such as, How is NASA Preparing for the Mission to Mars?, instead of just NASA.

Pie chart showing reasons to change Genius Hour: More time, Research topics not just questions and research lists of things.

One question we asked was “If there was a chance to do one more Genius Hour project what would you do?” One student added “How Stars were Formed” was a topic that intrigued them. Another interesting topic that someone would choose is “When would SWAT Units Respond?” Other ideas are “Exploring the Apple Company” and “Habitats of Meat-eating Plants”. We wonder what projects will be investigated next year in Mrs. Grady’s class.

Genius Hour is a favorite tradition in Mrs. Grady’s fourth grade classroom. Having Genius Hour is a great way to learn something you have never studied before. Other teachers should catch on and provide this experience with their class. To add to that we discovered that 17 people would not like to change anything about Genius Hour but 4 others would disagree about that. Thanks to our friends, Google, who came up with  the idea of Genius Hour. Have fun researching!

Reported by Andrew, Andy, and Alia