5th Grade Research Projects Ignites Personal Journeys of Learning
Posted On:
Saturday, January 20, 2018
News Image

“My overall goal was to have the students take responsibility for, and be excited about, their learning. This project really allowed their individual creative side to be utilized,” said 5th grade Veterans Park teacher, Amy Brown, when discussing the implementation of a Genius Hour Project to complement and support the ELA curriculum, addressing state standards.

What is Genius Hour? According to their website, Genius Hour allows students to explore their own passions and encourages creativity in the classroom.  It provides students a choice in what they learn during a set period of time during school.

The principles of the Genius Hour movement encourages self-directed projects, taking students on a journey to explore and research topics that are of interest to them. Brown explained that she achieved this by inviting her students to explore their interests and passions and ultimately having them choose one topic they wanted to research further. Students also had to develop a guiding question that would direct their research.

In addition to researching their topic, using a variety of resources, Brown explained that students also had to decide how they wanted to demonstrate their learning. “We brainstormed ideas and students chose what they wanted to make.  Students created everything including posters, brochures, videos, Google slideshows, a website and two model primitive homes.  It was amazing!”

Eva Lasky created a movie using Wevideo that highlighted her guiding question- How might I learn about how animals become endangered?  “People always say animals are endangered, but they never say how they become endangered,” shared Eva.  “I wanted to learn about how they get to be endangered and tell people how they can help animals so they don’t become endangered, or even worse, extinct.”

“My guiding question was, How to become a marine biologist, because that is what I want to be when I get older,” shared Alexis Urban-Sunter. “After I researched my topic using different websites I made a Google Slideshow with all of the information, like what colleges I can go to and how much money I would make.”

Giovanni Marrero’s guiding question was a family affair - How might I learn to create a website for my Dad’s business? With the confidence of a seasoned webmaster he shared, “My Dad owns a cafe in Indian Orchard called Bentley’s Cafe and he doesn’t have a website so I thought it would help his business if he had a place for people to check it out online.”

Giovanni’s  journey began with investigating four different free website platforms before choosing webnode.com.  “The best part was having my Dad spend time with me and helping me by giving me some information like his menu and when it is open,” said Giovanni.  “Creating the website was fun, finding the pictures and adding the words, but being with my Dad was the best part.”

“I have shown my Dad some of the website, but me and my mom wrote some things that he won’t know about until today.  I think he will be surprised and happy when he sees it,” continued a very excited and anxious Giovanni, as he waited for his father’s arrival.

“As a parent it makes me feel like I am doing something right,” shared Giovanni’s father, Keno White, after viewing the website. “I am blown away by the dedication, the work, the perseverance that it took for my son to create this for me.”

“We are always talking about how important family is- that family comes first - so I am very proud that he took the words to heart and applied them with his project,” continued an emotional White.  “I have no words to express my feelings right now- it is amazing.  Giovanni has motivated me to do better.”

The student reviews about participating in the Genius Hour Project were overwhelmingly positive.  Alexis spoke for many when she shared, “I really liked this project because I got to choose the topic and learn about what interested me.  Usually we have to research something that we might not care too much about.  It was a lot of fun to have a choice. I hope Mrs. Brown will let us do it again.”

LPS Superintendent, Dr. Todd Gazda, was very impressed with the depth and scope of the projects, stating, “This was a well structured engaging activity by Mrs. Brown which taught students important research and presentation skills. I enjoyed the opportunity to see students sharing a topic they were passionate about with their parents and peers.”

“The best thing about this project was that it played to the strengths of students by offering choices, and pushing them to take risks since they were responsible for their own learning,’ shared a very proud Brown.  “I saw many students blossom during this project in ways that I didn’t think possible.”



View all Highlights