A "Must Try" Project for Middle School Students

A “Must Try” Project for Middle School Students

As educators, we know that our students are capable of great things, and we want to encourage them to explore their interests and passions. However, it can be challenging to find the time and resources to allow for this kind of creative exploration in the classroom. This is where the concept of Genius Hour comes in. In this post, we’ll explore what Genius Hour is and why it’s an excellent project for middle school students.

What is Genius Hour?

The term “Genius Hour” is relatively new, and it is most commonly associated with Google, although Google is not the only company to utilize it. Companies like Google give employees time (in Google’s case, 20% of the workweek) to pursue their own interests and passions, exploring ideas and creating projects that they are curious or passionate about. This level of creative freedom has led to key discoveries and innovations that help the company thrive.

Genius Hour in the classroom

Benefits of Genius Hour

It fosters student autonomy.

By allowing students to choose their own topics and approach to their projects, they are empowered to take ownership of their learning. This level of freedom and flexibility can help students to develop a sense of responsibility and independence that will benefit them in all areas of their lives.

It encourages students to engage in deeper learning.

When students are invested in their projects, they are more likely to take the time to research, experiment, and develop their ideas fully. This kind of inquiry-based learning can help students to develop a deeper understanding of their chosen topics, as well as a range of critical thinking and problem-solving skills.

How to foster a love of learning

It can foster a love of learning in students.

When students are given the freedom to explore their interests, they are more likely to develop a passion for learning that will carry them through their academic careers and beyond.

It helps to prepare students for the real world.

In today’s rapidly changing job market, it is becoming increasingly important for students to develop a range of skills that will enable them to adapt and thrive in any situation. Genius Hour provides an opportunity for students to develop these skills, including creativity, critical thinking, problem-solving, and self-directed learning.

Genius Hour project

Introducing Genius Hour 

Step 1: Students write a proposal to the teacher explaining the topic they want to research and why.

This is an important step because it allows students to take ownership of their project and commit to producing a final project showcasing what they’ve learned. Tip: give students a fill-in-the-blank template so you can learn more about students’ topic and give it your stamp of approval. 

Step 2: Determine your Genius Hour Schedule. 

Will you set aside time each Friday for students to work on their projects? A whole class period every other week? An entire week dedicated to their projects? It’s fine to be flexible here and do whatever works best for you and your students. 

Middle School project

Step 3: Add structure to your project. 

It’s probably not the best idea to just let your students have complete independence whenever it’s Genius Hour time. Instead, it’s incredibly helpful to build in objectives for each work period. For example, The very first work period can be thought of as a planning period. Students can fill out a planning sheet with questions they must answer. Then for subsequent work periods, students can complete research sheets where they jot down notes and explain how this information will help them with their final project. After a few work periods, designate a check-in to make sure students are on track!

Middle School project

Step 4: Work time

Students work on their projects independently or in small groups, with guidance and support from the teacher as needed.

Step 5: Presentations

Students present their final projects to the class, providing an opportunity to showcase their learning and receive feedback from their peers.

Genius Hour is an excellent project for middle school students because it fosters student autonomy, encourages deeper learning, fosters a love of learning, and helps to prepare students for the real world. By providing students with the freedom to explore their passions and interests, teachers can help to create a classroom culture of creativity, critical thinking, and self-directed learning. Whether you use a pre-made curriculum or develop your own, introducing Genius Hour to your students is sure to engage and inspire them.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

I accept the Privacy Policy

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


Then, pick the date you’re going to teach it in your classroom, and sit back while you watch as your students show up to your classroom pumped about what the day holds…and gush about your class to their parents on the car ride home!

Search Our Site

You Might Also Enjoy