Genius Hour Expo Inspires Fifth Grade Students

Jun 16, 2021

Each year, fifth graders are presented with the question: if you could learn about anything, what would it be? This question leads them into a year-long, inquiry-driven project known as “Genius Hour.” Based on “20% time,” this project “allows space for choice, inquiry, and experiential learning to help students grow into life-long learners who are curious and set out to seek and achieve deep understanding of the world in which they live.”

On their first day, students are tasked with open-ended questions and activities that lead them to brainstorm their own interests and passions. After creating a plan for their project, their ideas are presented to peers in a Shark Tank-inspired setting. Throughout the year, the students then learn more using the resources available, including each other and experts within the MFS community. 

At the end of the school year, their projects culminate with a celebratory presentation to the school community. While typically families have the opportunity to join in the celebration, this year the crowd was limited to fellow students and Middle School teachers. The students set up poster boards, computer presentations, and in some cases, giveaway items to share the information that they have learned throughout the year. 

Fifth Grade Teacher Monica Burrows noted, “Genius Hour inspires students to be creative, collaborative, and innovative. They were challenged to effectively give and receive feedback and to persevere in their project goals. The experience was a step towards preparing them for future workplaces which will consist of collaborative and communicative teams.” 

This year’s topics included:

  • Caesar Cipher
  • History of Hip Hop
  • Animal Translators
  • What Makes People Laugh?
  • Dogs vs. Cats
  • Leukemia
  • The Dangers of Fast Food
  • The Mystery of Trees
  • Sodas Around the World
  • History of the NFL
  • Top Players of the NFL
  • Common Mental Illnesses
  • Foods of France
  • Country of France
  • The Ear
  • Our Favorite Foods – things you don’t know
  • Help the Helpers – how to support cancer patients
  • Research Stations of Antarctica
  • Python Coding
  • The History of Movies
  • Farm Animals
  • Ancient Greece
  • Why you should live in Wyoming
  • The Stock Market and Roblox
  • Hunger in America
  • Football League Highlights
  • Avatar Combinations
  • Star Wars Ships
  • History of Video Games
  • Space

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