Genius Hour Blog – We’re Learning to Research

Genius Hour Research Week #1

This week for genius hour the students are starting to research their ideas. It couldn’t have come at a better time because this week our department received a cart of 30 Chromebooks. The students were thrilled to be able to research their projects from their own desks instead of having to go to the computer lab.

Each week I’m going to throw out some tips that the students can use that will help them with their projects along the way. I’m calling them ‘pro tips’.

Genius Hour Pro Tip #1

This week I showed students how to use a Google Doc as a dumping ground for their research. I showed them how to copy and paste information from the web as well as how to copy URL’s and pictures for later use. I also explained to them that it was OK to copy information for our own research processes, but that when they create their own projects the verbiage needs to be either cited or in their own words.

Most of students did a good job getting started. I did have a few that messed around a little more than they should have and one of them I had to even shut down and given an alternative assignment to. The class was really focused after that. I hated to have to remove someone from the project this early.  I felt like I needed to set the expectations now that just because we are doing something fun that it isn’t a time to play around.  That student will be back with the group next week.

At the end of the class period I took a very unstructured poll about how much time the students felt like they needed for research. The majority said that a total of 3-4 weeks would be sufficient time to get the data that they need to begin the creation phase of their projects.

I’ve posted a few pictures of students working on their projects. I’m still not 100% sure about posting students pictures from our school online, so it’s better to be safe than sorry. I’ve made a note to myself  to figure out our districts digital policy as it relates to students.  There’s a lot of gray area and I want to be sure that I’m not crossing into any zone that I shouldn’t be.

Researching how technology effects the human body

Researching how technology effects the human body

Researching how to make hair bows

Researching how to make hair bows

Two 6th graders developing a website on web coding.

Two 6th graders developing a website on web coding.

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I am an 8th grade science teacher that is passionate about Genius Hour in the classroom. I blog about genius hour, ed tech, and ways to make learning more engaging and fun.

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